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Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis Symptoms

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These are some of the most common early signs and symptoms of arthritis in children. A child may not have all of these symptoms.

  • Joints that are warm to the touch
  • Swelling and tenderness at joints
  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Favoring one limb over another or limping
  • Pain (often worse following sleep or inactivity)
  • Stiffness, especially upon waking in the morning
  • Inability to bend or straighten joints completely
  • Decreased physical activity
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep problems
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Reduced appetite and/or weight loss

Not all children with JIA will have the same symptoms, and some symptoms are specific to a subtype of JIA. Symptoms can change from day to day or throughout a single day.

It’s important to talk to a child’s doctor to ensure that these symptoms mean that a child has JIA instead of an injury or a different illness. Then parents and the doctor can begin the process of monitoring symptoms to establish a pattern. Arthritis affects every child differently, so it’s important to recognize the signs so that a timely and accurate diagnosis can be made to ensure the best possible outcome for a child’s health and well-being.

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