Psoriatic JIA affects children who also have psoriasis (a skin disorder where thick, red plaques grow on the skin) or a close relative with psoriasis. They may also have uveitis, swelling of fingers and toes, and changes in their nails.
Undifferentiated JIA is when someone's symptoms don’t fit into any of the above types or fall into more than one of those types.
What Causes Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis?
JIA is an autoimmune disease. This means that the body’s immune system, which normally attacks germs, mistakenly attacks the joints. This causes inflammation (swelling and irritation) in the joints and other problems.
Doctors don’t know exactly why kids and teens get JIA. “Idiopathic” means “from an unknown cause.” It can run in families but often does not. It’s likely due to a combination of:
genetic (inherited) causes
the way the immune system responds to infection and illness
a trigger such as an infection
How Is Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis Diagnosed?
To diagnose the different types of JIA, doctors:
ask about symptoms
do an exam
ask whether other family members have had similar problems
do X-rays or other imaging studies to look inside the joints
Kids with uveitis also get care from an ophthalmologist (eye doctor). Treatment goals are to ease pain and inflammation, improve strength and flexibility, and prevent joint damage. Treatment usually includes medicines to ease inflammation and physical therapy.
Sometimes surgery is needed for damaged joints.
How Can Parents Help?
JIA is a lifelong disease, but treatments can help ease pain, keep kids active, and prevent long-term joint damage. To help your child:
Make sure your child takes all medicines exactly as directed.
Work with your child’s physical therapist to develop a regular exercise program. This will help keep your child’s muscles strong and flexible.
Learn about JIA with your child. Your care team is a great resource. You can also find information and support online at: