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What is juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)?

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is inflammation (swelling) of one or more of your joints. It first occurs before your 16th birthday.

JIA is slightly more common in girls. It most commonly occurs in pre-school age children or teenagers. 

There are different types of JIA and symptoms vary between the different types. Knowing which type you have helps assess the likelihood you'll grow out of JIA. Read more about the different types of JIA.

JIA may be difficult to control in some people, but most cases will be well controlled with treatment most of the time. If you have arthritis as part of another condition, it's often managed in a very similar way to JIA.

What should I look out for?

If you have any of these symptoms for more than a couple of weeks, you should see a doctor:

  • painful, swollen or stiff joint(s)
  • joint(s) that are warm to touch
  • increased tiredness
  • a fever that keeps returning
  • a limp but no injury.

If you think that you or someone you know may have JIA, book a GP appointment as soon as possible. Tell them your symptoms and concerns. They'll consider referring you to a paediatric rheumatology consultant.

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