Types of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) in children and teenagers

PDF download is not available for Arabic and Urdu languages at this time. Please use the browser print function instead.

This page describes the different types of arthritis that can arise in young people. Knowing the type of arthritis you have can help you understand your condition and how it will do over time.

Key points

  • To treat JIA, a doctor needs to diagnose the type of JIA your child has.
  • Sometimes the type of JIA your child has can change over time.
  • Not all types of JIA last into adulthood.
  • Types of JIA include oligoarticular, polyarticular, systemic, enthesitis-related, and psoriatic arthritis.

Oligoarticular (say: oh-lee-go-ar-tik-yoo-lur) arthritis occurs in 50% to 60% of young people who have JIA. It is the most common type of JIA in young people. It affects four or fewer joints in the first six months after diagnosis. There are two types of oligoarticular JIA: oligoarticular-persistent JIA and oligoarticular-extended JIA.

Different types of JIA

In order to treat JIA, your child's doctor needs to diagnose what type they have. The doctor will decide this based on:

  • the symptoms and how long your child as had them
  • how many joints are affected
  • other tests such as blood tests and imaging scans of the joints.

It may take the doctor some time to be absolutely sure what type of JIA a child or teenager has. You will learn more about how JIA is diagnosed in the Diagnosis section of this learning hub.

Sometimes the type of JIA a child or teenager has may change over time. Also, while all types of JIA can last into adulthood, some are more likely to do so than others.

There are seven different types of JIA that affect children and teenagers under 16 years of age, including:

Knowing the type of JIA a child or teenager has will help them and their parents to

  • learn more about that specific type of JIA
  • understand how that type of JIA will develop over time
  • develop goals to help manage that particular type of JIA
Last updated: January 31st 2017