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Children Get Arthritis Too!

Arthritis not only affects adults. Children get arthritis too!
Surprised? Approximately 1 in 1000 children have some form of arthritis, meaning more than 2 million children worldwide.
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) is the most common form, and while it is an inflammatory form, like Rheumatoid Arthritis which many adults suffer, it is different in many ways.
The cause of arthritis is not known and is likely a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
There are many different types of arthritis that can affect children and for many the diagnosis is often made late – after many weeks or months have lapsed following initial symptoms. During this time children are living with pain and their joints can be damaged.
Children with arthritis present with pain or limp. They may have a swollen joint or joints. The symptoms may present as difficulty walking or with writing tasks or taking part in sports. Children with JIA can also get inflammation in their eyes which if not detected and  treated, can result in problems with their vision.
The important message is that for many children, arthritis is treatable. It is important to seek medical attention early so that children can get access to the right care.
So on World Paediatric Bone and Joint Day, spare a moment to think of the many children with arthritis around the world. Do something today to raise awareness among your circle of friends and acquaintances that “Children get arthritis too!” And, that if you or they know of a child showing symptoms, their parents need to ask their healthcare provider about them, or seek to see a paediatric rheumatologist for a specialist assessment.
The Paediatric Global Musculoskeletal Task Force aims to raise awareness about musculoskeletal conditions in children including arthritis, orthopaedic conditions such as clubfoot, and to promote bone and joint health with healthy lifestyle practices and avoiding injuries.

Written by Professor Helen Foster - Chair Paediatric Global MSK Task Force - October 2019

Twitter @paedmskglobal

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