Three-year-old Martina Maurer of Hollidaysburg started to walk when she was only eight months old, according to her mother Tracey, but then at about 18 months, she would get up in the morning crying. Martina would refuse to walk, but then two hours later she would walk with a limp.
An X-ray ordered by her physician showed no fractures, but blood tests indicated a problem, so Martina was referred to a pediatric rheumatologist at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. Dr. Paul Rosen, a pediatric rheumatologist at Children's says he frequently sees one and two year olds come in with a limp or swollen knee. Both Martina's right knee and ankle were swollen and Dr. Rosen diagnosed her with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis or JRA.
Children with take the same strong medications doctors give adults with rheumatoid arthritis. Treatment has helped control Martina's condition to an extent, although the arthritis has spread to several joints. Still Dr. Rosen says treatment for both adult and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis has improved greatly during the past decade.