By Mayo Clinic staff
The most common signs and symptoms of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis are:
- Pain. While your child might not complain of joint pain, you may notice that he or she limps â€” especially first thing in the morning or after a nap.
- Swelling. This sign is most often seen in the knees, but the small joints of the hands and feet also can be affected.
- Stiffness. You might notice that your child appears more clumsy than usual.
There are three main types of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis:
- Oligoarthritis. This variety affects fewer than five joints during the first six months of the disease. It also is the variety most likely to feature eye inflammation, which can cause blindness in rare cases.
- Polyarthritis. This variety affects five or more joints during the first six months of the disease. Signs and symptoms are usually confined to the joints.
- Systemic. Formerly known as Still's disease, this type can feature swollen lymph nodes, rashes and fever â€” which may come and go quickly. It can also cause inflammation of internal organs.
Like other forms of arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by times when symptoms flare up and times when symptoms disappear.
When to see a doctor
Take your child to the doctor if he or she has joint pain, swelling or stiffness for more than a few weeks â€” especially if your child also has a fever.