Juvenile arthritis is an umbrella term used for paediatric rheumatic disease, it is an autoimmune condition affecting 1 in 1000 children worldwide. The most common type is juvenile idiopathic arthritis, but the term also includes juvenile lupus, vasculitis, juvenile myositis and juvenile scleroderma.
Physiotherapists provide pain management, land and aquatic based exercise therapy, braces and orthotics, and advice on structured physical activity in order to improve range of motion, functional ability, fitness, and quality of life for children with juvenile arthritis. Clinicians, caregivers, and patients use a shared decision-making process that considers patients’ values and preferences when formulating a treatment plan.
There is a growing amount of high-quality clinical research to guide the physiotherapy management of juvenile arthritis. PEDro currently indexes over 50 clinical practice guidelines, systematic reviews and randomised controlled trials evaluating physiotherapy treatment of juvenile arthritis.
You may like to review the following practice guidelines, which provide useful summaries for physiotherapists working with children in this clinical area:
- Ringold S, et al. 2019 American College of Rheumatology/Arthritis Foundation Guideline for the treatment of juvenile idiopathic arthritis: therapeutic approaches for non-systemic polyarthritis, sacroiliitis, and enthesitis. Arthritis Care Res 2019;71(6):717-34
- Cavallo S, et al. Ottawa Panel evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for structured physical activity in the management of juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2017;98(5):1018-41
- Brosseau L, et al (2015). Ottawa Panel evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for foot care in the management of juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2016;97(7):1163-81
Useful systematic reviews regarding exercise therapy for juvenile arthritis include:
- Klepper S, et al. Effects of structured exercise training in children and adolescents with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Pediatr Phys Ther 2019;31(1):3-21
- Kuntze G, et al. Exercise therapy in juvenile idiopathic arthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2018;99(1):178-93
To keep up-to-date with the latest trials, reviews and guidelines evaluating physiotherapy interventions for children with juvenile arthritis, subscribe to the “paediatrics” feed of PEDro’s Evidence in your inbox. Subscription is free.