As children grow, the injuries and medical problems that present in the bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints (i.e. musculoskeletal conditions) often differ from conditions commonly seen in older patients.
Dr Damien McKay
MBBS BAppSc (Physiotherapy), Dip Paeds, M Sp Med, FRACP
Paediatric Rheumatologist/Sport & Exercise Physician
Paediatric Rheumatologists are Paediatricians who have completed an additional 3 years of specialised training in paediatric rheumatic conditions. They are specialised in the diagnosis and care of inflammatory conditions of the musculoskeletal system as well as autoimmune mediated multi-system inflammation. They also receive specialised training in the management of mechanical and non-inflammatory musculoskeletal conditions including sports related injuries.
Do you need a Paediatric Rheumatologist?
- Inflammatory musculoskeletal conditions including juvenile idiopathic arthritis and inflammatory bone disease
- Generalised inflammatory and autoimmune conditions such as systemic lupus erythematous, juvenile dermatomyositis, childhood vasculitis, scleroderma and periodic fever syndromes.
- Non-inflammatory musculoskeletal disorders including acute and overuse sport and exercise related conditions, growing pains, chronic musculoskeletal pain syndromes and hypermobility syndromes
A Paediatric Rheumatologist cares for children and adolescents with a range of problems, including inflammatory and non-inflammatory musculoskeletal disease and autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune diseases are where the immune system attacks the body’s own cells.
Pediatric rheumatologists treat numerous pediatric autoimmune disorders and diseases. These include juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), Juvenile Dermatomyositis (JDM), Juvenile Scleroderma (JSc), Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD), Uveitis, and Periodic Fever Syndromes such as Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF), Periodic Fever with Aphthous Stomatitis, Pharyngitis and Adenopathy (PFAPA), TNF-Receptor Associated Periodic Fever Syndrome (TRAPS), Hyper IgD Syndrome and Cryopyrin Associated Periodic Syndromes (CAPS), Chronic Relapsing Multifocal Osteomyelitis (CRMO), Chronic musculoskeletal pain syndromes, and more.
A rheumatologist has special training when it comes to diagnosing and treating complex rheumatic illnesses. At your child’s first visit with a pediatric rheumatologist, they will conduct a thorough history and exam, which includes checking all of your child’s joints, as well as a general examination. Patients may be referred for blood or urine tests or medical imaging, including x-rays, MRIs, or ultrasounds.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is estimated to occur in one in every 1000 children in Australia. This type of arthritis causes ongoing inflammation at the joints which lasts for more than six weeks. A Paediatric Rheumatologist can help diagnose and treat this condition.
Arthritis causes pain and swelling or stiffness at one or more joints. Swelling may also be present in the affected joints.
At your first visit at Sports Medicine Institute in Miranda, your rheumatologist discusses the issue with you, as well as performs a thorough examination. The discussion part of your visit involves questions regarding your child’s symptoms or condition. The examination part of your visit includes a thorough examination of your child’s joints, lungs, and heart. In some cases, blood samples, urine samples, or imaging may be required.
The most common pediatric rheumatic disease is juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA). The most common rheumatic diseases in adults include rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
Rheumatism pain usually manifests as pain or discomfort at one or more joints, pain during movement, and stiffness at the joints. Frequently, this pain feels as though something may be broken or sprained. Swelling may also be present in the affected joints.
A rheumatologist can diagnose an array of rheumatic conditions, including juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), Juvenile Dermatomyositis (JDM), Juvenile Scleroderma (JSc), Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD), Sjogren’s Syndrome, Uveitis, Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF), Periodic Fever with Aphthous Stomatitis, Pharyngitis and Adenopathy (PFAPA), TNF-Receptor Associated Periodic Fever Syndrome (TRAPS), Hyper IgD Syndrome and Cryopyrin Associated Periodic Syndromes (CAPS), Chronic Relapsing Multifocal Osteomyelitis (CRMO), Chronic musculoskeletal pain syndromes, and more.
A child would need to see a Paediatric Rheumatologist if they are experiencing stiffness, pain, and inflammation in the joints that lasts longer than six weeks and has no cause. Your child may also experience rashes, sleep disturbances, fevers, and fatigue. Frequently, these symptoms come and go. They may also last only a few days at a time or for many months.