Rheumatologists diagnose and treat inflammatory diseases that affect muscles, joints and connective tissues. These complex conditions, which include juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, are called rheumatic diseases. Many other conditions may begin with bone and joint pain, and rheumatologists can help diagnose these and make sure your child gets the right care.

Seattle Children's has the only rheumatology program in the Pacific Northwest dedicated to children and teens, 17 and under. At Seattle Children's, a team of experts – including doctors, physical and occupational therapists, nurses and social workers – will see your child.

Conditions We Treat

We diagnose and treat many conditions that affect children's muscles, joints and related tissues, including:

  • Behcet's disease

    Behcet's disease causes swelling (inflammation) in the blood vessels. Its symptoms vary, but most often the disease causes sores in the mouth and genital areas. The disease also can cause swelling in the eyes and joints. Doctors aren't sure what causes Behcet's disease, although for some children, it may be passed from their parents (genetic).

  • Benign hypermobility joint syndrome (BHJS)

    BHJS is pain in the limbs due to looseness in the joints (hypermobility). Looseness in the joints means that your child has a large range of motion or flexibility, which causes the joints to move beyond their normal position. Read more.

  • Chronic Recurrent Multifocal Osteomyelitis

    Chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis (CRMO) is an inflammatory bone condition that happens when a child’s immune system attacks their bones. It causes pain and bone damage. CRMO is also called chronic nonbacterial osteomyelitis (CNO). Experts in our Chronic Recurrent Multifocal Osteomyelitis Clinic are experienced in diagnosing and treating children with this rare disease.

  • Fever of unknown origin (FUO) or periodic fevers

    Many conditions can cause fever, including some connective tissue diseases. Fever of unknown origin is a fever that has no identifiable source and lasts longer than two weeks. Periodic fevers do not last as long, but come back at frequent, predictable times. Some children also have mouth sores or swollen joints along with fever.

  • Growing pains

    Some children have pain, usually in their legs, that is bad enough to wake them up at night. These "growing pains" don't bother your child during the day, and often come on after your child has been very active. The joints of children with growing pains look normal, and the pain can be helped by massage and medicine, such as Tylenol and ibuprofen. Growing pains can be frightening for parents, but the condition does not cause lasting harm.

  • Henoch–Schönlein purpura

    Henoch–Schönlein purpura is a form of vasculitis, which is swelling (inflammation) in the blood vessels. Henoch–Schönlein purpura affects the smallest blood vessels in your child's skin. This causes a skin rash, swelling in the joints, bloody diarrhea and sometimes pain in the belly. Many cases go away on their own. If not, doctors may prescribe medicines to help control the disease. Seattle Children’s offers an Autoimmune Kidney Disease Clinic to treat Henoch–Schönlein purpura. Learn more.

  • Inflammatory Brain Disorders

    Some children with severe problems related to their thinking, learning or mental health have inflammatory brain disorders. Most often they happen because a child’s immune system attacks their brain (autoimmune). Scientists do not know what triggers this. We also call these conditions neuroinflammatory brain disorders. Our Inflammatory Brain Disorders Clinic brings together experts in rheumatology and neurosciences to diagnose and treat your child.

  • Juvenile myositis

    Juvenile myositis is a very rare autoimmune condition that causes muscle weakness, pain and often skin rashes. This happens because your child’s immune system attacks their own blood vessels, causing muscle inflammation (myositis). Juvenile dermatomyositis is another name for this condition. Our Juvenile Myositis team has the expertise to diagnosis and treat your child

  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (also called juvenile idiopathic arthritis)

    Arthritis causes swelling (inflammation) and pain in the joints. The most common form of arthritis in children is juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA or JIA). Doctors don't know exactly what causes rheumatoid arthritis, but research suggests that it is an autoimmune disease. In these conditions, the immune system releases chemicals that can damage healthy tissues and cause pain, swelling and joint damage. Some forms affect other parts of the body, such as the eyes, heart and lungs.

  • Kawasaki disease

    Kawasaki disease is a group of signs and symptoms that usually affect children younger than 5 years old. Kawasaki disease attacks the lining of your child's mouth and breathing passages, their skin and their lymph nodes. The condition is a form of vasculitis, which is swelling (inflammation) in the blood vessels. If it is diagnosed and treated early, children with the disease can start feeling better  within a few days and fully recover over time. If it goes untreated, Kawasaki disease can lead to serious problems, sometimes involving the blood vessels in the heart. Read more.

  • Polyarteritis nodosa and microscopic polyangiitis

    These conditions are caused by swelling (inflammation) of blood vessels. This swelling makes it hard for your child's blood vessels to carry blood and oxygen to organs and tissues. Most commonly, the conditions affect blood vessels in the skin, kidneys, brain and belly.

  • Psoriatic arthritis

    Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that develops along with the skin condition psoriasis. Like other forms of arthritis, it causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. Most often, it affects the joints of the fingers, toes and spine. Some children have psoriasis that is easy to notice; some may have only changes in their nails. Doctors do not know what causes psoriatic arthritis, but they suspect it is more likely to happen if a close relative has psoriasis.

  • Rheumatic fever

    Rheumatic fever is a disease that can cause swelling (inflammation) in the heart, joints, skin and brain. It may develop after an infection with the Streptococcus bacteria, such as strep throat. If left untreated, rheumatic fever can cause serious damage, especially to the heart valves. Doctors treat the disease with anti-inflammatory medicine. To prevent further attacks, children who have had rheumatic fever may take antibiotic medicine for several years.

  • Scleroderma

    Scleroderma syndromes are a group of diseases that cause thickening in connective tissues, including skin and other organs. There are two main types of scleroderma. Localized scleroderma affects only your child's skin, and often appears in patches or bands. Systemic scleroderma may affect the skin, blood vessels and internal organs. The most common symptom of scleroderma is shiny, hard skin. Doctors don't know exactly what causes these conditions, but they can treat scleroderma with medicine, exercise programs and other therapies.

  • Spondyloarthropathies

    Spondyloarthropathies are a group of inflammatory diseases of the joints and places where tendons attach to bones. They usually affect the lower part of your child's body, including the hips, knees and ankles. They also can affect the spine and pelvis. Often, the first sign of the condition is pain, swelling and redness (inflammation) in the ankle and foot.

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus

    The body's immune system usually defends against illness. But in lupus, the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells and tissues, damaging joints, skin, blood vessels and organs. There are many types of lupus, but most often the term refers to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). SLE can be hard to diagnose. People with SLE don't have the exact same problems, and the symptoms may be like those of other conditions, including juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Wegener's granulomatosis

    Wegener's granulomatosis is a form of vasculitis, which is swelling (inflammation) in the blood vessels. While the disease can affect any organ, it most often affects the sinuses, nose, airway, lungs and kidneys.

Telemedicine at Seattle Children’s

You may be offered a telehealth (virtual) appointment. Learn more.

Contact Us

For more information, contact Rheumatology at 206-987-2057. If you would like an appointment, ask your child’s primary care provider for a referral.

Providers, see how to refer a patient.

Fax (for providers): 206-985-3396

Paying for Care

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