Kids Get Arthritis Too!

Yep. You read that right.

There are many different types of arthritis, affecting both adults and children.

Osteoarthritis

The most common forms of arthritis in adults is osteoarthritis.

This is where there is a focal loss of the cartilage that lines the ends of the bones, and the space in the joint between the two bones gets narrower. This means that ultimately the two bones can rub together and cause pain.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

This is characterised by an immune response causing a swelling on the membrane surrounding certain joints, as well as other symptoms such as fever, weight loss and general feeling of fatigue. This swelling can stretch the ligament around the joint and cause some instability. It can also lead to osteoarthritis in some cases.

There are many more forms of arthritis, and while these forms of arthritis are more prevalent in the older patient, age is not a direct factor and cause in the onset of these conditions. They are more likely to be related to lifestyle and genetic predisposition.

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)

This affects 1 in 1000 children; a condition more common than Cystic Fibrosis. The word ‘idiopathic’ suggests that there is no known cause, but there are as many as 7 types of childhood arthritis. The types of JIA is categorised by the number of joints affected, and by other symptoms such as a persistent rash, fever or evidence of psoriasis (all of which are symptoms similar to that of some adult forms of arthritis).

The most common signs and symptoms of JIA are:

  • Pain: While your child might not complain of joint pain, you may notice that they limp, especially first thing in the morning or after a nap.

  • Swelling: Joint swelling is common but is often first noticed in larger joints such as knees.

  • Stiffness: Your child might be clumsier than usual, particularly in the morning or after naps.

  • Fever, swollen lymph nodes, and rash: In some cases, high fever, swollen lymph nodes or a rash on the torso may occur, and this can be worse in the evenings.

For those children with JIA the treatments vary depending on the type of arthritis they have. Most treatments would include exercise, medication and dietary factors. The main goals in any treatment would be to relieve pain by:

·         Reducing swelling

·         Increasing joint mobility and strength

·         Preventing joint damage and complications

What we are trying to highlight here is the fact that age is not a direct cause of arthritis as commonly believed.

Too many people expect arthritis to come with age. This is a negative belief as it can be detrimental to your mood and your health.

Paying attention to your diet is one way of keeping symptoms at bay whether young or old. Making sure you consume more alkaline foods rather than acids foods is a great place to start as it reduces inflammation in your body.

What to add in to your diet:

Look at getting more dark leafy greens, green tea, garlic and oily fish into your meals.

What to reduce or remove from your diet:

Try and reduce the amount of fried foods, dairy, sugary foods or eating too much wheat.

If you’d like to chat about this topic, do speak to us.

Chris Wood

Sports Therapist and student Physiotherapist

By Chris Wood.

Sports Therapist and student Physiotherapist