Juvenile arthritis is a chronic health condition that affects children and adolescents, causing joint inflammation, pain, and stiffness. It affects 1 in 1000 children.
Juvenile arthritis refers to a group of autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that manifest before the age of 16. In Juvenile arthritis, the Immune system attacks healthy joints by releasing inflammatory chemicals which attack the joint synovium (tissue lining around a joint).
The symptoms of juvenile arthritis vary from person to person but commonly include:
– joint pain,
– swelling and redness
– stiffness, and
– limited mobility.
Fatigue, fever, rash, and eye inflammation may also accompany the joint-related symptoms. The cause of Juvenile arthritis is unknown, however researchers suggest there may be a genetic predisposition
Diagnosing juvenile arthritis can be complex, as it involves ruling out other conditions and considering various factors such as medical history, physical examination, laboratory tests (such as blood tests), and imaging studies. Early detection is crucial to prevent further joint damage and ensure timely treatment. Sometimes a Podiatrist may be one of the first medical professionals to assist with a child with joint pain and stiffness, and so a thorough paediatric assessment and screening is conducted in the clinic to assist with diagnosis and referral to appropriate health professionals or the Children’s Hospital.
Treatment plans for juvenile arthritis aim to reduce pain, inflammation, and preserve joint function. They often involve a multidisciplinary approach, including medication, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and lifestyle modifications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), Cortisone injections, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), and biologic therapies are among the commonly prescribed medications.
Often Paediatric Rheumatologists are the main point of care for children with Juvenile arthritis, but other medical and allied health professionals such as Podiatrists, Physiotherapists, Occupational therapists and Paediatricians may be involved.
Podiatrists can be involved with the treatment plan for children with Juvenile arthritis by assisting with footwear advice and orthotic therapy to aid in preserving joint function and reducing pain. Sometimes the joint pain can affect the lower limb, foot and ankle. Therefore, by using orthoses (arch support devices) it can help to better align the feet and ankles and thus aid in reducing pain.
Orthotics often used for young children
Child with Juvenile Arthritis standing on their orthotic device
At Sole Podiatry we have an in-depth Paediatric assessment protocol that we follow to ensure all children attending our clinic are thoroughly assessed and screened and can organize appropriate referrals where necessary.
If you or your child require a Podiatry assessment, please don’t hesitate to contact us at the clinic.
Feature Image credit: https://www.fitforlifewellnessclinic.com/