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If you notice these signs, have your child’s joint pain checked out by a doctor.

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Most pain in children’s joints is nothing to worry about. Joint pain can result from all the running, jumping and playing children do. Another common cause of pain is referred to as “growing pains.” This is estimated to affect nearly 2 in 5 children and occurs most often in the legs. Pain resulting from these causes often goes away with rest, ice or heat, gentle massage, stretching or over-the-counter pain medicine.

But if your child’s pain doesn’t go away after trying these remedies, or it goes away and comes back, it could be something more serious. Your child may have sustained an injury that needs medical attention. Or recurring pain may indicate juvenile arthritis.

While many people think of arthritis as something that affects older adults, kids can get it, too. In fact, nearly 300,000 children have been diagnosed with some form of the disease. An autoimmune disease, juvenile arthritis can be especially aggressive in children since their immune systems are not fully formed until around age 18.

“While most joint and muscle aches end up being related to normal growth, sports, or activity, it is always important to check with your pediatrician if symptoms persist, happen over and over, or don’t seem to correlate with the child’s activities.”

– D. Stephen Sanches, MD, FAAP

Here are signs you should have your child’s joint pain checked by a doctor:

  • The pain doesn’t go away.
  • The pain gets better but then comes back.
  • The joint is swollen or stiff.
  • Pain is accompanied by a fever or rash.
  • Your child’s movement is affected.
  • Your child is tired, weak or less active than usual.

In addition to causing joint pain, juvenile arthritis may result in complications that affect bone growth and cause permanent damage. So if you suspect your child may have arthritis, it’s best to see a doctor as soon as possible.

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Date Last Reviewed: May 10, 2019

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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