Symptoms of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

Material provided by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. You may visit their website at

The most common symptom of all types of JIA is persistent joint swelling, pain, and stiffness that typically is worse in the morning or after a nap. The pain may limit movement of the affected joint, although many children, especially younger ones, will not complain of pain.

JIA commonly affects the knees and joints in the hands and feet. One of the earliest signs of JIA may be limping in the morning because of an affected knee.

Doctor Taking Childs TemperatureBesides joint symptoms, children with systemic JIA have a high fever and light pink rash. The rash and fever may appear and disappear very quickly. Systemic JIA also may cause the lymph nodes located in the neck and other parts of the body to swell.

In some cases (less than half), internal organs, including the heart and the lungs (very rarely), may be involved.

Eye inflammation is a potentially severe complication that sometimes occurs in children with pauciarticular JIA. Eye disease such as iritis and uveitis often are not present until some time after a child first develops JIA.

Typically, there are periods when the symptoms of JIA are better or disappear (remissions) and times when symptoms are worse (flares). JIA is different in each child—some may have just one or two flares and never have symptoms again, which others experience many flares of even have symptoms that never go away.

Note: Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) was previously known as Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA).

Updated on: 10/08/15
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Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis Symptoms May Include Painful, Swollen, Stiff Joints
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Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis Symptoms May Include Painful, Swollen, Stiff Joints

The hallmark symptoms of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) are painful, swollen, stiff joints. In the spine, this type of inflammatory arthritis may affect the cervical spine; the neck.
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