Other conditions with symptoms similar to juvenile rheumatoid arthritis

A number of conditions can cause painful, stiff joints in children. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) is a relatively uncommon cause of these symptoms. Most often, joint pain can be linked to an injury.

Other conditions that may be confused with JRA include:

  • Growing pains .
  • Injury or overuse (knee pain, bursitis, tendinitis).
  • Other inflammatory diseases, including lupus, rheumatic fever, or other types of arthritis.
  • Hypermobility syndrome ("double-jointed"), which can cause joint pain at night and after heavy or unusual activity. The child may show unusual ability to overextend or overstraighten the knees, fingers, hands, or elbows.
  • Lyme disease .
  • Inflammation in a joint caused by a foreign body, such as a splinter in the joint.
  • A condition in which the upper end of the thighbone slips off the rest of the bone (slipped capital femoral epiphysis).
  • A tumor.
  • Infection of a joint (bacterial or septic arthritis).
  • Infection of a bone (osteomyelitis).
  • Arthritis associated with inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Other diseases that affect cell growth, such as leukemia.

Last Updated: June 25, 2008

Author: Shannon Erstad, MBA/MPH

Medical Review: Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics & Stanford M. Shoor, MD - Rheumatology

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