At Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center we treat podiatric problems in Los Angeles County patients of all ages. In July, we recognize Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month. Nearly 300,000 children and teenagers suffer from Juvenile Arthritis (JA). Some forms are similar to the types of arthritis that adults suffer from, and some are unique to young people.
Many types of JA are autoimmune or autoinflammatory in nature, meaning that the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue with inflammatory chemicals. These can cause joint pain and inflammation, and skin disorders, and internal organ issues. If your child is experiencing joint pain in their feet or ankles, the first step is to make an appointment at our Long Beach office at (562) 420-9800 office so that our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria M. Foley and Dr. Constance Ornelas, can examine your child and determine if the discomfort is strictly podiatric or if arthritis or another disease may be the source. Once a diagnosis is determined, the foot doctor will advise you on treatment or refer you to a specialist in the area of concern. Just as with adults, healthy lifestyle choices can play a key role in managing JA and preventing its progression. Below are three to focus on:
Exercise—Although some types of movement may be painful for children and teens with joint disorders, regular exercise and physical activity is also one of the best weapons in the fight against arthritis. Depending on your child’s age, they may need help finding the activity that best suits their particular type of arthritis. Some good choices include swimming and aquatic classes (the buoyancy of the water naturally reduces pressure on the joints), biking and yoga. Expose your child to several different activities and as they mature, they will gravitate to those that best suit them.
Nutrition—Lower weight means less pressure on joints, especially those in the knees, ankles, and feet. Some foods are also known to decrease inflammation while others spark an inflammatory response. Make healthy eating a family habit and involve your children in choosing nutritious foods and then preparing and eating them together.
Mental Health—Growing up is hard enough without having a chronic disease. Make sure your child has a good support network, spends time with friends, and participates in activities that build confidence. Model positive coping skills for your child and seek professional help if necessary.