Last summer my eleven-year-old cousin would frequently complain about the pain in his hands and wrist. The pain became so severe at times where he couldn’t move one or even both of his hands. I talked with my eleven-year-old cousin to further find out what the pain was like. He stated, “I would be using my hands to do something such as opening a lid to a jar and my hands would all of a sudden hurt and become stiff. I would have to keep my hands still till the pain subsided. Sometimes it would take as long as an hour before the pain disappeared. In some cases my hands would swell and look puffy.” His parents decided to take him to the doctor and find out what was wrong with his hands. After a few tests the doctor discovered that he had arthritis. We were all surprised by the results. Everyone in the family though only adults get arthritis. In turns out that arthritis does occur in children. I became interested in my cousins situation and decided to do further research on arthritis in children. Through research I made some interesting discoveries.
According to author and Dr. Balu Athreya arthritis is “An inflammation of a joint (or joints). Inflammation of a joint results in accumulation of inflammatory fluid inside the joint or in thickening of the lining of the joint (called the synovium), which in turn leads to swelling of the joint. If there is no swelling, at least two of the following three symptoms have to be present: pain or tenderness on movement of a joint, limitation of range of movement, and heat.” Now just because someone feels pain in an area of their body such as their hands does not necessarily mean they have arthritis. Like my cousins situation the doctor was able to determine what was wrong with him through a series of tests. Dr. Balu Athreya states some of the common symptoms of someone having arthritis are “pain in joints, limping, swelling of joints, stiffness of joints and heat over the joints.” My cousin felt many of these symptoms of arthritis.
The causes of arthritis in children are often different from adults. According to Dr. Balu Athreya children can get arthritis from injury, infection such as from Lyme disease or a problem with the immune system. We are not hundred percent sure how my cousin got arthritis but we have an idea. A few weeks before he started having the symptoms of arthritis his hands were badly injured from a biking accident. His doctor stated that most likely from the tests done that his arthritis is a result of the biking injury.
What type of treatment children with arthritis get depends on the type of arthritis they have. Treatments can range from surgery, antibiotics and physical therapy. My cousin’s arthritis is not considered chronic. He had to take an anti-flammatory drug, which with time has helped his arthritis. Today his symptoms are not as frequent as they use to be. He only seems to get arthritis if he does something that puts a great deal of pressure on his hands.
Dr. Balu Athreya, “Arthritis In Children”. Sacramento Bee. URL: (http://sacbee.healthology.com/childrens-health/childrens-diseases/article91.htm)