Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)

What is Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis?

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) is an inflammatory condition of unknown origin, that affects children aged 16 years and younger. It is a type of arthritis, characterized by joint pain and stiffness due to inflammation in one or more joints. The joints become swollen, walking becomes difficult and the ankles, knees, hips, and fingers often are involved. JIA affects approximately 1 in 1,000 children in the United States.

Causes of JIA

The exact cause of JIA is not known. Researchers believe it is an autoimmune disorder in which the body's defense system mistakenly attacks its own tissues, leading to inflammation. It may also be related to infection or environmental factors.

Symptoms of JIA

Common symptoms of JIA include:

  • Inflammation of one or more joints, usually with pain, warmth, redness, swelling, and occasionally stiffness
  • Limited range of motion in affected joints
  • Eye inflammation
  • Limited growth
  • Fatigue
  • Fever

Diagnosis and Treatment of JIA

JIA is typically diagnosed with a physical exam. Blood tests and x-rays may be used to confirm the diagnosis. Treatment typically includes anti-inflammatory medicines, and physical and occupational therapy may be used to maintain joint function and to prevent joint damage. In some cases, surgery may be necessary.


JIA is a serious condition that can have a significant impact on the quality of life of a child. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to managing JIA. It is important for parents to stay informed about JIA and to find supports and resources to help their children manage and live with the disease.