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Role of rehabilitation in comprehensive management of juvenile idiopathic arthritis: When and how?

1 Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, Kerala, India
2 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Suma Balan,
Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Ponekkara, Kochi - 682 041, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/injr.injr_55_22

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), the most common chronic rheumatological disorder in children, can result in significant disability and poorer health-related quality of life. Rehabilitation aimed at pain management, optimizing musculoskeletal function, improving endurance and achieving independence in activities of daily living, and participation in age-appropriate activities, is a vital component in the comprehensive management of children with this condition. Rehabilitation strategies depend on the phase of the disease and focus on pain alleviation in the active phase and improving mobility and function in the inactive phase. Rehabilitation in JIA is multidisciplinary and includes exercise therapy, physical modalities, orthotic and assistive devices, and gait training. Exercise therapy has demonstrated improvement in muscle strength, bone mineral density, exercise capacity, and quality of life, without negative consequences of pain or exacerbation of arthritis. Common exercise interventions for children with JIA include mobilization, strengthening, aerobic exercises, Pilates-based exercises, aquatic therapy, and recreation. Physical modalities such as thermotherapy, cryotherapy, electrotherapy, ultrasound, and low-power laser therapy are commonly employed. Orthotic devices play an important role in joint protection, prevention and reduction of joint deformities, and assistance with function and gait. Assistive devices are prescribed to improve functional ability and independence in activities of daily living in children with disabilities. There have been recent advances in the field of rehabilitation with the advent of robotics, virtual reality, and telerehabilitation.

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