Juvenile arthritis and conditions in young people (1)

People often associate arthritis with older people, but it can also affect children.

Most types of childhood arthritis are known as juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA).

Children and young people with painful joints (with or without swelling) lasting more than six weeks should be referred for a specialist opinion. Early diagnosis and treatment is vitally important.

About our service

We have a specialist team who will work with you and your child to help deal with their symptoms. The treatment plan could involve a combination of medication and physiotherapy, as well as pain management advice.

Children with suspected JIA will be referred by their GP to the paediatric team. From here, they will see a paediatrician (doctors who care for babies, children and young people) with an interest in rheumatology conditions.

Paediatric rheumatologist, Professor Ramanan and his team travel from Bristol to Exeter to support this clinic.

Dr Earl, from the adult rheumatology team also helps support this clinic and provides a smooth transition of care into our young adult and adolescent clinic.

Once they are adults, patients with JIA will be managed in a rheumatology service - although their condition is still referred to as 'juvenile' arthritis throughout life.

Paediatric clinics run in the paediatric department. Young adult clinics usually run in the Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Centre, RD&E Wonford, Barrack Rd, Exeter EX2 5DW

Treatments

Treatments are generally similar to those used to treat inflammatory arthritis in adults and include corticosteroids, either by tablet or injection, disease-modifying drugs including methotrexate and, if needed stronger 'biologic' drugs.

All these treatments are designed to dampen an overactive immune system.

Paediatric clinics are supported by specialist physiotherapists and occupational therapists.

Adult patients with JIA have access to our full multidisciplinary team.

Patient information leaflets

We produce a wide range of leaflets which provide information about our services and about the treatment you might receive in our clinics or during your stay in hospital. 

We also produce these in different formats including large print, please contact the department you are visiting for more information.

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Useful videos

We have a wide range of videos which provide information about our services and about the treatment you might receive in our clinics or during your stay in hospital. 

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Information for healthcare professionals

Last updated: September 20, 2022.

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