HD Physical Therapy Marks July as Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month
Arthritis is a complex family of musculoskeletal disorders consisting of more than 100 different diseases that destroy joints, bones, muscles, cartilage and other connective tissues. Juvenile arthritis (JA) is a term used to describe the many conditions that can develop in children ages 16 and younger. It is an autoimmune disorder, which means that the body's immune system—which normally helps to fight off bacteria or viruses—mistakenly attacks some of its own healthy cells and tissues. The result is inflammation which causes joint damage. Doctors do not know why the immune system attacks healthy tissues in children. Scientists suspect that it is a two-step process. First, something in a child's genetic makeup gives him or her a tendency to develop JA; then an environmental factor, such as a virus, triggers the development of the disease.
The most common symptoms are persistent joint swelling, pain and stiffness that are typically worse in the morning or after a nap. The pain may limit movement of the affected joint, although many children will not complain of pain. JA commonly affects the knees and the joints in the hands and feet. One of the earliest signs of JA may be limping in the morning because of an affected knee.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for juvenile arthritis. The goal of treatment is to control pain levels, reduce inflammation, maintain mobility and improve your child's quality of life. Most treatment plans involve a combination of medication, physical therapy and healthy living; therefore an important member of your child's health care team is their physical therapist! A PT can work with your child to develop a plan of exercises that will improve joint function and strengthen muscles, without causing further harm to affected joints. Having arthritis can be part of your child's life – not the focus of their life.
*Please note: The health and safety of our patients and staff is always our top priority. We are currently fully open in Wakefield & Burlington, accepting new patients. We are offering one-on-one, in-clinic visits and telehealth services. We are continuing to follow all recommended precautions. Please visit our 'COVID-19 & TELEHEALTH FOR PT' webpage for more information, and never hesitate to call our offices with any questions.
For more information about HD Physical Therapy, please visit https://www.HDPTonline.com and follow us on all social media.
Lauren J. D'Addario