Arthritis is a collective term that represents more than 100 different conditions that share certain common features such as pain, inflammation (swelling), stiffness and loss of function of joints. About 1 in every 1000 children develop arthritis.
This form of arthritis that occurs in children is called juvenile arthritis. The age of diagnosis ranges from time of birth to 16 years of age.
The definite cause of arthritis is unknown and it has not been possible to pinpoint any lifestyle activities or microorganism for the disease. The inheritance of specific genes is believed to increase the risk of arthritis in children. More research is clearly indicated to identify the cause for arthritis in children. Previously, all children with the diagnosis of arthritis were classified into one single class called juvenile idiopathic (due to unidentified cause) arthritis. This categorization is no longer valid as there are different forms of arthritis in children. Eight different subtypes of arthritis exist.