What Does It Feel Like?
When your body tells you something is wrong, those feelings are called symptoms. They can help doctors figure out if you have juvenile arthritis.
Juvenile arthritis usually involves joints. In most cases, joints swell and hurt. They might feel warm to the touch. Other symptoms can show up, too. Different types of juvenile arthritis have different symptoms.
- Oligoarthritis (AH-lih-go-arth-RIGH-tus) usually attacks just one or two large joints, like the knee or hip. It can cause swelling inside your eyes -- called uveitis (you-vee-EYE-tus). Most children with uveitis won’t feel anything wrong in their eyes, but the eye doctor can see if there is a problem or not. If there is, you may have to use eye drops.
- Polyarthritis (PAH-lee-arth-RIGH-tus) can attack large and small joints. It usually involves two of the same joints, like both knees. It can cause a low fever, bumps under the skin and anemia. Anemia is a blood condition that can make you feel very tired.
- Systemic (sis-TEM-ik) arthritis can cause problems all over the body, not just in joints. It can cause a fever that gets very high once or twice a day. A pinkish rash on the chest and thighs is another common symptom.
- Enthesitis (EN-the-SIGH-tus) related arthritis not only attack joints, it attacks entheses. Entheses are places where muscle and tendons are attached to bones. It causes pain and swelling in the heels, toes, fingers, elbows, hips, lower back, and chest.
- Psoriatic (SOAR-ee-at-tik) arthritis can cause a red, flaky rash behind the ears or on the eyelids, elbows, knees or scalp. It can also make your fingernails look rough instead of smooth.
Everyone has some of these symptoms sometimes. They don’t always mean a person has juvenile arthritis. For example, you might feel stiff after a soccer game. You might have trouble sleeping before a big test. You might run a fever before coming down with the flu.
When you have juvenile arthritis, however, the symptoms don’t always make sense. They seem to appear for no reason and they can suddenly get worse. This is called a flare.
Only a doctor can tell for sure if you have juvenile arthritis. Then, he or she can start treating it—and make you feel better.