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What are the symptoms of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)?
The most common symptoms of all forms of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) include:
Joint pain and swelling. They may come and go, but they are most often persistent.
Joint stiffness in the morning.
Crankiness, refusal to walk, or protecting or guarding a joint. You might notice your child limping or trying not to use a certain joint.
Often unpredictable changes in symptoms, from periods with no symptoms (remission) to flare-ups.
In some cases, these symptoms can be mild and hard for you to see. A young child may be more cranky than normal. Or a child may go back to crawling after he or she has started walking. Your child's joints may feel stiff in the morning. Or your child may have trouble walking.
Even though pain is a common symptom of JIA, your child may not be able to describe the pain. Or he or she may be used to the pain. To know if your child is in pain, look for changes such as stiff movements, rubbing a joint or muscle, or avoiding movement.
Children with this disease can also get inflammatory eye disease. This can lead to permanent vision problems or blindness if it's not treated. Eye disease often has no symptoms before vision loss occurs.
Systemic JIA can cause fever spikes and a rash.
The fever usually reaches 103 F (39.4 C) to 106 F (41.1 C) once or twice a day. It falls to normal between spikes.
The rash is spotty, flat, and sometimes faint red or pink. It may occur with the fever. It may be on the torso, face, palms, soles of the feet, and armpits. The rash often comes and goes. It may appear late in the day or in the early morning. It may also be brought on by warm baths or by rubbing or scratching the skin.
Other conditions with symptoms similar to JIA include growing pains, overuse, injury, bone infection, and certain inflammatory diseases. Many conditions can cause painful, stiff joints in children. Most often, when a child has joint pain now and then, it's related to an injury or aggravating factors, such as repetitive overuse in sports activities. JIA is a fairly uncommon cause of these symptoms.
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