We often associate the word ‘arthritis’ with the elderly or the aged sections of the society. However, as surprising and shocking as it may seem, arthritis does not do age discrimination and can affect people of all age groups including children and teenagers. Known as juvenile idiopathic arthritis, teenage arthritis is known to affect children aged between 2 to 16 or 18 years.
The condition could be chronic, lasting for months or sometimes even for several years, making it a life long condition to deal with. Symptoms of teenage arthritis are similar to adult arthritis and could range from mild stiffness and pain to more severe forms of inflammation and bone or cartilage damage, hindering the child’s ability to grow normally, leading to decreased bone growth. The symptoms of arthritis depend upon the area that has been affected and the severity of inflammation. Listed below are some of the common symptoms of teenage arthritis you need to be aware of:
Signs & Symptoms of Teenage Arthritis
This is the most common symptom observed in teenagers suffering from arthritis. Fatigue due to extreme pain and discomfort of the affected joint will limit the child’s ability to perform his/her daily activities with ease. This could be accompanied with mood swings and irritability.
Arthritis has a direct effect on the bones and/or joints. Any type of inflammation will hinder bone growth, leading to stiffness and stunted stature. Since adolescence is primarily characterized by fast growth spurts coupled with bone maturity, any type of inflammation or hindrance to bone growth and maintenance will automatically lead to decreased stature and stunted growth and development, making the teenager look shorter than his/her counterparts.
This is the most common type of side effect observed in the affected joint due to inflammation or infection. Generally, the teenager might complain about increased stiffness in the early hours as soon as he/she wakes up from a long night’s sleep.
Stiffness is often aggravated when the teenager does not use the affected joint for prolonged periods of time.
This type of arthritis is known to affect four or lesser than four joints in the body. Also known as oligoarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis, nearly 60 percent of teenage arthritis cases fall under this category. Being an extremely common form of arthritis, oligoarthritis is also known to be relatively mild in nature.
The affected child may complain about pain and inflammation in the knees, elbows or ankles and wrists. He/she will not be able to move the affected joint or bone normally, unlike healthy teenagers of his/her age. This will considerably limit his/her physical mobility and activity. In extreme cases, the teenager might complain about inflammation in the iris, leading to a condition called iritis. Pain and stiffness in the affected joints are commonly observed in the affected teenager.
As the name suggests, this type of arthritis is known to affect multiple joints in the body. Girls are more easily susceptible to develop this type of arthritis when compared to boys. The smaller joints found in the knees, hips, fingers, ankles and neck are primarily affected, leading to stiffness and pain.
Additionally, the teenager might also complain about developing low-grade fever. In some cases, inflammation could lead to the formation of nodules in the affected area. These nodules are clearly visible, leading to quicker diagnosis. Early recognition of symptoms and quick diagnosis will aid in better treatment and prognosis.