Joint pain can be normal for a child who is growing or active in sports. But continuous pain is not normal. Your child may be referred to a pediatric rheumatologist for a variety of complaints, including swollen joints, muscle pain, fatigue, an unusual rash, or fever. Our pediatric rheumatologists diagnose and treat conditions that cause pain, swelling and limited movement, so your child can get back to being active.
Rheumatic diseases often affect supporting body structures, such as muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons. However, rheumatic diseases can affect other areas of the body, including internal organs, connective tissues, and the body's immune system.
Conditions We Treat
- juvenile idiopathic arthritis (formerly called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis)
- systemic lupus erythematosus (or SLE, a chronic inflammation of joints, tendons, and some internal organs)
- Lyme disease (an infection caused by the deer tick)
- vasculitic disorders (inflammation of the blood vessels)
- scleroderma (a disease that affects joints, skin, and internal organs)
- benign hypermobility syndrome (very loose joints that cause joint pain)
- dermatomyositis (a disease that leads to progressive muscle damage and chronic skin changes)
- rheumatic fever (a disease that may develop after a strep infection)
- sarcoidosis (an inflammatory disease where small, rounded growths invade different parts of the body)
Clinic Location: 4th Floor
Phone: (407) 650-7715
- photo ID
- medical and pharmacy insurance cards
- preferred pharmacy name and phone number
- names and dosage of all medications, including over-the-counter medication, your child is currently taking
- guardianship and custody papers, if a legal guardian rather than a parent accompanies your child
No one, especially a child, should have to live with pain or disability on a daily basis. At Nemours Children’s Hospital our pediatric rheumatologists provide comprehensive care for children with rheumatologic disorders such as juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM), scleroderma, and a wide range of other inflammatory disorders.
- juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA, now called juvenile idiopathic arthritis or JIA)
- reactive arthritis
- acute rheumatic fever
- ankylosing spondylitis
- psoriatic arthritis
- juvenile dermatomyositis
- systemic sclerosis
- mixed connective tissue disease
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- Wegeners granulomatosis
- Kawasaki disease
- periodic fever syndromes
- autoinflammatory syndromes
- noninflammatory musculoskeletal pain
- amplified musculoskeletal pain syndrome
We'll Discover What's Causing Your Child's Symptoms
Many children experience symptoms or abnormal laboratory results that go undiagnosed — and untreated or improperly treated — over long periods of time.
These symptoms or laboratory results might include:
- unexplained pains in muscles, joints or limbs
- unexplained joint swelling
- unexplained difficulty in moving joints
- fevers of unknown origin
- incapacitating pain or fatigue
- unexplained weight loss
- unexplained skin rash
- unexplained multiple organ problems
- positive antinuclear antibodies (ANA) test (a blood test to see if there might be an autoimmune system reaction)
Whatever might be causing these issues, our pediatric rheumatologists take a holistic approach to diagnosing the real cause(s) and providing appropriate treatment. We’ll focus on improving your child’s quality of life — not just treating the symptoms.
If your child was previously evaluated by a physician and had any diagnostic tests done such as blood tests, urine tests, X-ray, CT scan, or MRI, please request all of the information from your child’s physician and send it to us before the visit or bring them with you to the appointment.
Your child’s initial visit with us will include a complete medical and family history and a comprehensive physical exam. All of the previous diagnostic tests will be carefully reviewed. Based on our findings, we will likely order specific tests to help us make a diagnosis.
Tests may include blood work, X-rays, nuclear imaging tests, CAT scans, or MRIs. An arthroscopy (a procedure that allows doctors to evaluate a joint by inserting a small scope into it) may be considered as well.
Once we’ve established a diagnosis, we’ll take a comprehensive, holistic, and family-centered approach to treatment and symptom management. Throughout the process, we’ll be focused on giving your child as much freedom as possible to be a kid and grow up happy. Please note that the first visit typically takes at least 1 hour.
Our highly trained and experienced pediatric rheumatologists, nurse practitioners, and other specialized staff members work closely with experts from other specialty areas to provide the best long-term management plan for your child.
Depending on your child’s specific issues, we may coordinate care with Nemours specialists in such fields as:
- infectious diseases
- physical medicine and rehabilitation
- pain management
- ophthalmology (eye care)
- gastroenterology (digestive health) and nutrition
- hematology and oncology (cancer and blood diseases)
- pulmonary medicine
- nephrology (kidney health)
- adolescent medicine
- behavioral health
To keep everyone on the same page, we coordinate care through the use of a secure electronic medical record which allows all consulting doctors to have access to the latest information about your child’s medical care, test results, and plans for management.
Our pediatric rheumatologists' commitment to collaboration also extends to you, your child, and your primary care doctor. We provide extensive patient education and family counseling, as well as thorough communication with your child’s pediatrician, to ensure that your child receives the best possible continuity of care.
Our pediatric rheumatologists are on the leading edge of diagnosing and treating juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), one of the most under-treated conditions in the country. Most people don’t know that JIA is the nation’s number one crippling disease — and one of the most common chronic diseases — of childhood. JIA affects about 300,000 children in the U.S. and is more common than sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy combined.
Led by internationally recognized experts in the diagnosis and treatment of JIA and other rheumatic diseases, our entire team of professionals in the pediatric rheumatology department is committed to treating children with JIA and all rheumatic disorders.
Important Facts About JIA
- The precise cause of JIA is unknown, but research suggests that it occurs when a child with specific genetic markers is exposed to an environmental factor (like a virus or bacteria) that triggers the immune system.
- JIA is not contagious or hereditary.
- JIA is distinctly different from adult forms of arthritis, most notably rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
- A confirmed JIA diagnosis requires ruling out many other possible conditions, including infection, endocrine disorders, cancers, and other rheumatic disorders. It can take six weeks or more to confirm.
- There is no cure for JIA yet, but the inflammation that causes the pain can be controlled with medication. It’s important to continue taking the medication even if your child doesn’t complain about pain.
A Hospital Designed by Families, for Families
At Nemours Children’s Hospital, family-centered care is at the heart of everything we do. In fact, families helped shape the unique amenities and convenient services that make our hospital like no other in the region.
You’ll feel right at home in one of our private patient rooms designed with input from families who know what it’s like to have a child in the hospital.
Our large, comfortable, single-patient rooms have sleeping accommodations for two parents, a private bathroom, wireless internet access, connections for DVD players and game systems, and two flat-screen TVs.
Other in-room features include:
- full floor-to-ceiling windows for natural light
- refrigerator for family meals and snacks
- wardrobe storage for personal items and a hotel-style safe
- GetWellNetwork interactive television is uniquely based on your child’s age, medical condition and more, and allows your child to watch TV, surf the web, check e-mail, play music and games, and learn about your Nemours health care team
Our “hospital within a garden” setting features many places for you and your family to go for fresh air and relaxation, including a one-acre interactive sensory discovery garden or one of our rooftop gardens on the second and fourth floors.
We have many more comforts and amenities, like:
- complimentary valet and parking
- kid-friendly commons areas for siblings
- café coffee shop
- non-denominational chapel
- concierge services
If your child needs medical imaging, we offer some of the area’s most advanced pediatric radiology services here on campus at Nemours
Our unique services include:
- interventional radiology: Our team of experts uses image-guidance to diagnose and treat diseases and tumors throughout the body. Certain conditions that previously required open surgery can now be treated by Nemours pediatric interventional radiologists. We are very fortunate to have the only dual-trained pediatric diagnostic and interventional radiologist in the state. Learn More »
- neuroradiological, cardiovascular, and fetal MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) imaging: Our subspecialty-trained pediatric radiologists see children with complex conditions who require this highly specialized imaging.
- Central Florida’s only 256-slice Brilliance iCT Scanner: We are one of only a handful of children’s hospitals in the country to have this latest generation CAT (or CT) scanner that scans faster than most machines and produces excellent images in a much shorter time with much less radiation exposure for the child.
Our team of board-certified pediatric radiologists and pediatric radiologic technologists are experts in the safe medical imaging of children of every age, even newborns.
We have also pledged our commitment to the “Image Gently” campaign of the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging, which is increasing awareness of the opportunities to promote radiation protection in the imaging of children.
If your child has a complex or chronic condition we encourage you to take advantage of KidsTRACK, a unique service of Nemours Children’s Hospital. Located on the 1st floor of our hospital, KidsTRACK is designed to help families cope by providing expert assistance and information on all aspects of your child’s care even before you leave our hospital or clinic.
A KidsTRACK care coordinator is available during every step of diagnosis, treatment, and healing — helping your family make a smooth transition from Nemours Children's Hospital to home. Your coordinator works alongside the nursing/case managers in our subspecialty areas and acts as a single point of contact connecting you to medical and community resources.
Simply ask your physician for a referral to KidsTRACK
or call (407) 650-7715.