Height: Children with JIA may experience a reduction in growth rate due to inflammation from the disease and the use of corticosteroid medications to treat it. It is important to keep regular checkups with your child’s pediatrician to make sure she is growing as she should.

Eyes: Eye inflammation (uveitis) may occur without warning in children with JIA. Speak with your child’s doctor about the need for regular eye exams.

Mouth/jaw: More than half of children with JIA experience involvement of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), or jaw joint, often without symptoms.

To minimize the potential for future chewing difficulties or facial deformities ask your child’s doctor about screening for jaw involvement. If jaw problems make brushing and flossing difficult, alert your child’s dentist and inquire about devices or techniques for making dental care easier.

Neck: Arthritis that affects the cervical spine can cause neck pain and stiffness. Swollen lands in the neck could be a sign of systemic JIA, or they could signal an infection or other problem. If your child is taking a medication that suppresses the immune system and experiences swollen glands or other signs of infection, let her doctor know right away.

Ankles/feet: The small joints of the feet are most likely to be affected by polyarticular  arthritis. Enthesis-related arthritis often affects the heel. If your child has foot pain and difficulty walking, custom-made foot orthotics may help reduce pain and improve function.

Knees: The knees are commonly affected by oligoarticular arthritis and enthesis-related arthritis. If a knee is the only joint affected, doctors may give a corticosteroid injection to relieve inflammation without the side effects of oral anti-inflammatories.

Hands/wrists: The small joints of the hands, wrists and fingers are most likely to be affected in polyarticular arthritis. Sausage-like swelling of the fingers occurs with psoriatic arthritis. If hand involvement makes it difficult for your child to perform daily tasks, a physical or occupational therapist can recommend ways or devices to make these tasks easier. A therapist can also design splints to protect the joint and prevent contractures. 

Hips: Hip involvement is associated with oligoarticular arthritis and juvenile spondyloarthopathy. When hips are involved, proper medical treatment as well as exercise and/or physical therapy are important for keeping your child active.