Treating Juvenile Arthritis

As a parent, hearing the word “arthritis” when referring to your child’s health can be confusing and scary. It may leave you feeling helpless and unprepared. We are here to help and want to answer any questions you may have.

What is it?

Juvenile arthritis (JA) is an umbrella term to describe a group of inflammatory and rheumatic diseases which affect children. Arthritis means inflammation of the joints. There are many different types of JA which your child could fall under. Most of these types are what is called an autoimmune disease. So what does this mean? An autoimmune disease is when the immune system, which is the body’s defense system, begins to attack healthy cells. When this happens joint inflammation, swelling, and pain can occur – but remember, the symptoms and the number of joints affected will be different based on the type of JA.

How can a physical therapist help?

  • Improve joint range of motion
  • Relieve pain
  • Facilitate gross motor skills
  • Assist with activity modification
  • Help transition to safe participation in sports

The take home message:

Your child is a strong individual and they will be able to get through this. However, it will take a team of experts to help your child on this journey. Remember, you and your child are not alone.

Where do I come in?

My name is Kara Wilmore, I’m a physical therapist at Hulst Jepsen Physical Therapy Byron Center location. I am very familiar with JA and have treated multiple cases. I have also personally been impacted by an autoimmune disease. Although I did not have JA, I understand firsthand the challenges and changes that can accompany living with an autoimmune condition.

This diagnosis does not mean your child can no longer enjoy and participate in activities they once did. Modifications may have to be made, but my goal is to provide your child with individualized care to help them achieve their personal goals so they can continue to do what they love.  If your child has JA and you have questions regarding your child’s care, or would like to set up a free consultation, please call (616) 249-2924 or email me at kwilmore@hjphysicaltherapy.com. I would love to help!

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the Author

Kara Wilmore, DPT