Rheumatology

Joint, Muscle, Bone—We Treat the Systems that Keep Your Child Moving

The pediatric rheumatologists of Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health evaluate and treat childhood arthritis and related diseases. Rheumatic disease takes many forms and may affect children during infancy, childhood or adolescence.

Rheumatic diseases are autoimmune disorders in which the body's immune system malfunctions and reacts against the child's own organs and tissues. Symptoms can include fevers, rashes, joint swelling and muscle fatigue.

As soon as symptoms appear, it’s important to receive prompt evaluation and treatment by physicians who specialize in arthritis and rheumatic disease in children. Because rheumatic diseases affect the joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles when children are growing and developing, they can lead to serious deformities.

Meeting Children's Unique Needs

Children with rheumatic disease require treatments and therapies that are different from those that might be appropriate for adults. Our pediatric rheumatologists are skilled in managing all types of childhood arthritis and are the only such specialists in Indiana. Our pediatric team also includes physical and occupational therapists, social workers and nurses.

Training Other Healthcare Professionals

In the course of childhood, approximately 1 percent of children suffer from arthritis or inflammatory joint pain. Of those, one in 10 actually have a chronic condition. Because of this frequency, healthcare professionals who treat children are likely to encounter a patient with a rheumatic disorder. 

Rheumatic disease symptoms are often mistaken for infectious diseases. The team at Riley works closely with community and school system services throughout Indiana to provide education on how to accurately recognize a rheumatic illness.

Our pediatric rheumatologists assist and train primary care physicians and health professionals throughout the state to identify these symptoms so that children who are affected can receive appropriate care promptly. In addition to the services we provide in Indianapolis, we also provide services at outreach clinics in Fort Wayne, South Bend and Evansville, Ind.

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