JIA (Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis)

JIA (Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis)

What is JIA? What’s in a name?

Your child has been given a diagnosis of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritisthis is a long name and is difficult to remember, so we shorten it to JIA.  This means there is inflammation in your child’s joints that isn’t caused by any other condition.  Each word literally means:


your child was aged 16 or under when the problem started,


there is no other explanation for the inflammation in their joints.


simply means there is inflammation inside the joint and we can see this by the swelling, warmth and reduced movement in your child’s joint(s).

The type of JIA your child has is determined by the number of joints that are affected in the first 6 months of their disease and any other problems they are having such as, pain in their feet or back.  

Our Vision and Mission

Our Vision:

Supporting all with RA or JIA to live life to the full.

Our Mission;

We will:

  • Support everyone living with the impact of RA and JIA at the start and at every stage of their journey 
  • Inform – be their first choice for reliable information 
  • Empower - all to have a voice and take control of their RA or JIA

What causes the arthritis?

  1. Your child’s immune system has become over active or poorly controlled and mistakenly sees the lining of their joints as ‘foreign’ to their body, like an infection.  As a result it starts to attack the lining (synovium) which then causes inflammation and swelling of the lining and fluid in the joint.
  2. Infection may be a trigger for the start of arthritis but no particular infection has been identified that makes this happen.  Quite often a viral infection causes a ‘reactive arthritis’ but in this case the immune system settles down after a week or two and the arthritis disappears.  We don’t know why the immune system doesn’t settle down in those children and young people who develop JIA.
  3. Is it inherited?  Many families have a family member with arthritis. However, arthritis, particularly ‘wear and tear’ arthritis (osteoarthritis), is common.  If there are members of the family with rheumatoid arthritis or other rheumatological conditions such as lupus, this does increase the chance of developing arthritis but does not mean it is directly inherited or passed down the family. 

Who to contact

Contact Name
Anne Gilbert - Youth and Family Services Manager
01628 823 524 01628 823 524
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Where to go

Head Office
The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, 4
Gardner Road


View SL6 7RJ on a map

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