July Is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month

What should I know about juvenile arthritis?

Arthritis is a condition that can cause pain in your joints, the places in your body where two bones meet, like elbows, shoulders, and knees. Juvenile arthritis describes a group of conditions in children that involves joint pain, swelling, tenderness, warmth, and stiffness. Most forms of juvenile arthritis are autoimmune disorders, which means that the body’s immune system—which normally helps to fight off bacteria or viruses—mistakenly attacks some of its own healthy cells and tissues.

How can I manage my child’s juvenile arthritis?

  • Ensure that your child receives appropriate medical care. If possible, have a pediatric rheumatologist manage your child’s care. If such a specialist is not close by, consider having your child see one yearly or twice a year.
  • Learn as much as you can about your child’s condition. Many treatment options are available. A child with juvenile arthritis can be more active when symptoms are controlled.
  • Consider joining a support group. Try to find other parents and kids who face similar experiences. It can help you—and your child—to know you’re not alone.
  • Encourage exercise and physical therapy. For many young people, exercise and physical therapy can help keep the joints strong and flexible. Exercise can also provide play time with other children and encourage social development.
  • Talk to your child and treat him or her as normally as possible. Explain that getting juvenile arthritis is nobody’s fault, and let your child know you are always available to listen and help.

Where can I find out more?

For more information on lupus and related conditions, click or download these easy-to-read publications from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS):

You can also order these and other topics for free by visiting the NIAMS Publication Ordering System or calling toll free at 877–226–4267 (TTY: 301–565–2966). Many of these publications are also available in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

Last Updated: January 2021