All children feel aches and pains at some point. Usually, with the right care and a little bit of time, there’s nothing to worry about. But what about when aches and pains occur every day and seemingly for no reason?
If your child shows persistent limping, signs of chronic inflammation, or has a prolonged illness, your primary care physician may suggest they see a rheumatologist.
Make An Appointment
You will need a referral from your child’s primary care provider to schedule an appointment at our Rheumatology Clinic.
Rheumatologists are physicians who specialize in treating inflammatory disorders of the musculoskeletal system — the joints, bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. They also treat arthritis and autoimmune disorders — conditions where the body’s immune system, which is supposed to fight off infection, mistakenly tries to fight healthy cells and tissues.
At Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, our rheumatologists work to improve quality of life for our young patients with rheumatic and autoimmune diseases.
What Sets Children’s Apart?
Children’s has the only pediatric rheumatology department in the state that is solely dedicated to pediatrics. Our specialists understand the unique medical needs and concerns of children and families with chronic autoimmune or inflammatory disorders. They are the go-to experts for treating patients at an age-appropriate level.
Conditions We Treat
Autoinflammatory Fever Syndromes (Periodic Fever Syndromes)This is a group of disorders that cause frequent fevers lasting over 24 hours. These fevers are not related to typical childhood infections or other obvious medical conditions. There are several types of periodic fevers, and they can all cause similar symptoms in addition to fever, such as rash, joint pain, and muscle aches. Treatment usually involves medication to relieve or suppress symptoms.
Chronic Recurrent Multifocal Osteomyelitis (CRMO)This is an inflammatory condition of the bones. It causes recurring pain and swelling of the joints, as well as bone pain, tenderness over affected areas, limping, and fever. Sometimes, CRMO occurs with other disorders, such as inflammatory bowel syndrome or psoriasis (a skin disease that causes sore, itchy skin). Treatment involves medication to relieve symptoms, and treating other conditions (e.g., inflammatory bowel syndrome) that are associated with CRMO.
Juvenile Idiopathic ArthritisArthritis causes swelling and stiffness in the joints. The most common type of arthritis seen in children is juvenile idiopathic arthritis. There are a few different types of juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and each can cause joint pain, swelling, stiffness, or loss of motion. Some types can also cause fever, rash, or swelling in other parts of the body, such as the heart or lungs.
There is no known cure for juvenile idiopathic arthritis, but certain medications, physical therapy, and exercises can control symptoms.
Juvenile DermatomyositisThis is an inflammatory disease of the muscles, skin that causes muscle weakness and rashes on the knuckles or eyelids. Some children may have a decreased ability to tolerate exercise, trouble with stairs, difficulty getting out of a seated position, or muscle pain.
Treatment is aimed at reducing weakness, resolving the rash, and improving overall function. This may involve medication, physical therapy, skin protection (e.g., sunscreen, hats), and diet changes.
Juvenile Systemic LupusLupus can impact many parts of the body, including the skin, joints, lungs, brain, kidneys, and heart. Fatigue and joint pain are two of the most common and life-affecting symptoms.
While lupus does not have a cure, certain medications, preventative measures, exercises, and appropriate diets can help manage symptoms and prevent complications, such as long-term organ damage.
Juvenile Systemic And Localized SclerodermaScleroderma is a group of diseases that cause unusual connective tissue growth. This can lead to thickening of the skin and underlying tissues. Children with systemic scleroderma may also have Raynaud syndrome (fingers become pale, blue, tingly, or numb in response to cold), heartburn, difficulty swallowing, or shortness of breath.
There are two general types of scleroderma. Localized scleroderma is the more common type found in children. Localized scleroderma is usually found in a specific area of the body and rarely affects internal organs. Systemic scleroderma affects connective tissue throughout the entire body and may cause organ damage.
Treatment for both types of scleroderma aims to relieve symptoms. Your child may be prescribed medication, physical therapy, and exercise changes.
Mixed Connective Tissue DiseaseMixed connective tissue disease is a disorder that causes symptoms seen in a number of autoimmune disorders Symptoms typically include Raynaud syndrome (fingers become pale, blue, tingly, or numb in response to cold), joint swelling, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, muscle weakness, heartburn, and occasionally exercise intolerance.
The symptoms tend to worsen with time, and may eventually affect major organs, such as the heart, joints, or lungs.
Treatment depends on which organs are affected, as well as the severity of the disease.
Pediatric SarcoidosisSarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease that can affect any organ, but most commonly affects the lungs, eyes, joints, and lymph nodes. Sarcoidosis can cause fatigue, fever, cough, or weight loss.
Your child may be prescribed medication to reduce symptoms, such as inflammation.
Primary VasculitisVasculitis is inflammation (swelling) of the blood vessels. When the vessels become inflamed they can cause swelling or changes to surrounding tissues such as nerves, lungs, or skin.
Symptoms vary, depending on the size of the blood vessels, the location of the vessels, and severity of damage to organs and tissues. Treatment usually involves medication to reduce swelling in the vessels.
Sjogren Syndrome (pronounced, “SHOW-grin”)Sjogren syndrome is a disease where the immune system mistakenly attacks the glands that make saliva and tears. This mainly causes dry mouth and dry eyes, In addition, this condition can cause pain, swelling, or loss of function in other body parts, including joints, lungs, blood vessels, digestive organs, kidneys, and nerves.
The type of treatment depends on your child’s symptoms.
What To Do Next
You will need a referral from your child’s primary care provider to schedule an appointment at our Rheumatology Clinic. Once your child’s provider has put in a request, the Rheumatology Scheduling Office will call you to set up an appointment.
For Referring Providers
To refer a patient, please fax all prior appropriate notes, specialist consults, labs, and imaging to 402-955-5669. Our rheumatology providers will review these records and work to schedule your patient. If you have any questions, please call our office at 402-955-4070.
The Physicians’ Priority Line is your 24-hour link to pediatric specialists at Children’s for referrals, emergency and urgent consults, physician-to-physician consults, admissions, and transport services. Call 855-850-KIDS (5437).
Learn more about referring patients.