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Oligoarthritis - Clinical Features

Written by Dr. Varshini Jayaraman,  Ph.D. | Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sunil Shroff, MBBS, MS, FRCS (UK), D. Urol (Lond) on Feb 25, 2016
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Oligoarthritis - Clinical Features

  • It is the most common and mild form of juvenile arthritis.
  • It most commonly occurs between the age of 1 and 5 years.
  • It is more likely to occur in young girls rather than young boys.
  • Asymmetrical involvement of the joints is seen (Same joints are not involved).
  • Children with Oligoarthritis are at an increased risk of developing inflammation of the inner eye (uveitis). Frequent, regular eye check up by an eye doctor is very vital to prevent permanent eye damage. Children who are tested positive for a blood antibody marker, called Ďanti-nuclear antibodiesí face an increased risk of developing uveitis and have to be monitored very closely.
  • Limping may be seen in young children due to different rate of growth of bones of the two lower limbs.

Anemia may be seen in some cases.

The presence of infection or rash associated with arthritis should raise suspicion of polyarthritis that requires more aggressive treatment. As the disease progresses, it can lead to either of the conditions.

Persistent Oligoarthritis: If no additional joints are affected over a period of time, it is called as persistent Oligoarthritis. This condition is a milder version of the disease.


Extended Oligoarthritis: If more than 4 joints are additionally affected over time, the disease is now called extended oligoarthritis. This type of arthritis is more likely to occur in young girls rather than boys. Similar joints are affected ( on both sides) and there is an increased risk of developing eye problems (uveitis). Compared to children with Oligoarthritis, these children are more prone to developing chronic arthritis and hence need a more aggressive treatment.

Outlook of Children with Oligoarthritis

Children with Oligoarthritis have a good outlook compared to those who have other severe forms of arthritis. Most children with the disease cope fairly well. If proper care is instituted at an early age, the adverse effects of the disease process can be prevented. However, some children with Oligoarthritis have uneven length of legs due to varying rates of bone growth. The predisposition to inflammatory disease of the eye can cause blindness if left unattended. Pain is usually not seen, and this prevents the seeking of medical attention.

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Just found information on this subject on another site: - Via Lana, Patient Advocate at ArthritisConnect: "Arthritis literally means inflammation of one or more joints. Pauciarticular juvenile arthritis works somewhat in that manner. Pauciarticular means "few joints." This means that the pauciarticular type of juvenile arthritis involves only a few joints. About half of children with juvenile arthritis have the pauciarticular type. For half of the children with pauciarticular juvenile arthritis, only one joint will be involved, usually a knee or ankle. This is called monoarticular juvenile arthritis. These patients usually have a very mild arthritis and the symptoms may go away or become less noticeable [remit]. In adults acute monoarthritis overlaps with causes of oligoarthritis or polyarthritis since virtually any arthritic disorder can initially present as one swollen joint. Causes of Monoarticular arthritis can be as simple as an overuse injury or fracture to gout, lyme disease, or septic arthritis (bacterial, fungal, or parasitic). And gout does not always just affect the big toe. Moreover, in rheumatoid arthritis, some of the earliest signs of the disease are in the hands and fingers. With RA, the smallest joints, toes and fingers are affected first. So if three months have passed and the pain is there, then more tests are needed to find out what is going on."


When I was 6 or 7, Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis was mentioned once when I was taken to the emergency room with joint pain; but was never officially diagnosed. When I was younger, the problem was limited to my knees and ankles. As I got older the pain has increased to my hips, back, shoulders, basically all over. I've always treated it with heat and ibuprofen. I am glad to see that there is finally a diagnosis that fits: Oligoarthritis. Working out helps quite a bit [I have to work through the pain].


Most of the time that a child has arthritis it is either Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis or osteoarthritis caused by a trauma to a joint. An infection can also cause arthritis in a joint but it will usually disappear when the infection is treated. Also rarely other forms of autoimmune diseases can cause arthritis in children.


I was 13 years of age when I experienced severe joint pain: the worst was the joint I sat on in class or in a vehicle (one hour trip was excruciatingly painful). Next it was my knees, then shoulders and wrists. The joints were swollen, red and hot to touch. The pain lasted off & on for about 4 or 5 years, then subsided for about 25 years. It started again at about age 45. Now I am 73 and have osteoarthritis in my spine and knees. Is there any help for me, other than just pain killers such as Tylenol?


There is not much information here about Juvenile Arthritis.

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