Pediatric Rheumatology

Bone and joint pain is not just limited to the older population. Children can experience arthritis, autoimmune disorders, or other conditions that can make it painful for them to participate fully in their daily lives.

Our MaineHealth pediatric rheumatologists will work with you and your child to create a personalized care treatment plan that works best for your family. All of our pediatric specialists are passionate about providing children with kind, compassionate, and effective care.

What is pediatric rheumatology?

Your child’s doctor may recommend that your child visit a pediatric rheumatologist for evaluation of aches and pain in the joints, muscles, bones or tendons. A pediatric rheumatologist also sees young patients with other symptoms of arthritis or an autoimmune disorder. Juvenile arthritis is a general term used to talk about autoimmune and inflammatory conditions affecting the joints that children under the age of 16 may develop.

There is no known cause for juvenile arthritis, though environmental triggers, genetics and certain infections may be related.

Conditions treated

MaineHealth pediatric rheumatologists are skilled and compassionate in treating children to lessen pain and improve symptoms. Pediatric rheumatologists will evaluate, diagnose, and develop care plans for joint, muscle, and bone issues, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Chronic musculoskeletal pain
  • Inflammation and inflammatory disease
  • Symptoms such as pain, weakness, loss of appetite, loss of function/skills, fatigue, weight loss, swelling joints, anemia, or rash.

There isn’t a cure for juvenile arthritis, but remission is possible. Our goal through treatment is to decrease inflammation and control pain so that the child has a better quality of life.

What are the symptoms of juvenile arthritis?

There are several different types of juvenile arthritis depending on the joints and parts of the body affected. Symptoms can include:

  • Joint stiffness

  • Pain, swelling in the joints

  • Limping

  • Fevers

  • Eye pain or eye redness

  • Seeming weak or tired

  • Blurred vision

  • Fussiness

Screening and diagnosis

The process of diagnosing a condition may be long and very thorough. It is important that the doctor knows exactly what is going on with your child.

There aren’t blood tests to tell which type of juvenile arthritis your child may have. In most cases, the doctor will perform a detailed physical exam and use your child’s medical history to determine the diagnosis.

Treatment options

Treatment options will depend on the individual patient and what types of arthritis, pain, or autoimmune disease the patient has. Most treatment plans will be a combination of medicine, physical therapy and exercise. Your child’s healthcare team will work together to design the best treatment plan for your child.