Options For Treating Arthritis In Children

Arthritis is a condition that affects many older people, and is largely believed to be a malady that only the elderly deal with. However, according to a recent article published, arthritis in children is actually quite common. This condition causes pain in the joints, and can lead to severe joint damage and decreased mobility if left undiagnosed and untreated. 

Signs and Symptoms of Juvenile Arthritis

One of the most common symptoms of juvenile arthritis is joint pain; this pain is generally worse after a nap or a full night's sleep. The pain will lessen during the day as the child moves around and stretches muscles and joints. The joints may also be stiff, causing the child to limp or hold a limb in an awkward position to avoid painful movements. In addition, the child may experience swelling around the joints that are affected, or even have a rash on the skin at the affected area. One symptom that may be overlooked is frequent fevers in the child, accompanied by fatigue and lack of motivation. These fevers generally come at the same time of day, and are short-lived. 

Diagnosis and Treatment of Juvenile Arthritis

Juvenile arthritis is a treatable condition, and may possibly go away as the child progresses to adulthood. A pediatrician can make an initial diagnosis, but is important to make an appointment with an orthopedic specialist and a pediatric rheumatologist for further diagnosis and treatment. A comprehensive treatment plan will be created, to include a focus on controlling pain and other symptoms, protect the joints from further damage, and give the child greater mobility. Most children will be prescribed Ibuprofen to be taken with meals, as this drug can reduce pain and swelling in the joints. If this drug does not produce significant results, the next step is to prescribe a disease modifying drug.

Examples of these medications are Methotrexate and Leflunamide. If just a single joint is affected, the child's doctor may opt for a steroid injection in the area of the joint. Steroids have serious side effects in some patients, such as mood swings and weight gain. As a result, doctors will monitor the patient carefully and give injections as infrequently as possible, and at the lowest effective dosage available to control the child's joint pain and swelling. The child should also be seen by the supervising physician on a regular basis, to control the symptoms of arthritis and keep them from worsening.

For more information, talk to a professional like Omaha Orthopedic Clinic & Sports Medicine PC.