Stretching and strengthening exercises can help a child who has juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) control pain and stiffness and maintain mobility. A physiotherapist can help figure out how much exercise is appropriate for each child.
Stretching exercises are those in which the joints are moved through bent and straight positions without working the muscles against any resistance or weights, and the muscles are gently stretched. This type of exercise is designed to maintain the normal range of motion of a joint and can be done by a physiotherapist or parent for infants or toddlers. Older children can do these exercises themselves. This type of exercise should be done even when a child has acute inflammation and pain, as it is essential to help prevent joint contractures.
Strengthening exercises are designed to keep or improve strength. Strength is important for preventing osteoporosis (loss of bone mass and strength) and for promoting good joint health. Muscle strength is an important part of your child's ability to exercise effectively. Children must do these exercises themselves. There are two types of strengthening exercises:
When children with JIA have less active disease, they should be encouraged to maintain aerobic conditioning through swimming, bicycling, low-impact aerobics, walking, or dancing. Conditioning or aerobic exercises involve a level of intensity and duration to increase endurance and provide cardiovascular fitness.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerSusan C. Kim, MD - PediatricsBrian O'Brien, MD, FRCPC - Internal MedicineMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics
Current as ofOctober 10, 2017
Current as of: October 10, 2017
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
& Brian O'Brien, MD, FRCPC - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & John Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics
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