Rheumatology tests & treatments

Our goal is to work with you and your family to create an individual plan of treatment that is just right for your child. The plan will help relieve swelling, control discomfort, prevent joint damage and improve your child’s quality of life. Most treatment plans involve a combination of medication, physical or occupational therapy, eye care and healthy eating.

Each treatment plan is unique and our comprehensive team of specialists work together to produce the best plan. The plan is an ongoing process and requires monitoring and adjustments.

Musculoskeletal ultrasound

About musculoskeletal ultrasound

Musculoskeletal ultrasound is an imaging technology that is safe, does not involve radiation, and can be easily and quickly utilized in a clinic setting. Ultrasound imaging can help pediatric rheumatologists to “see” within the joints and surrounding tissues, which in combination with performing a physical examination; can sometimes lead to a more specific and accurate identification of an abnormal joint or tendon. For example, the location and degree of inflammation within a tendon or joint, the amount of joint fluid present, and changes to the bones from chronic inflammation may all be visualized.

Musculoskeletal ultrasound at Children’s

Children’s is the only pediatric rheumatology center in Wisconsin and one of only a few in the nation with a pediatric rheumatologist who has specifically been trained in the use of ultrasound and with a dedicated pediatric musculoskeletal ultrasound clinic. Children with arthritis and related conditions may have ultrasound imaging performed as part of the management of their illness. This may provide additional information to help evaluate the status of their condition, and potentially to help monitor the response to treatment.

Medication

About medication

Medication is often a part of treating your child’s rheumatic condition. Some medications are designed to relieve your child’s discomfort and swelling and others aim to change the course of the disease and prevent damage.

Treatment at Children’s

The types of medication prescribed and the dosage required is determined by our team and completely individualized for your child. Children’s views this as an ongoing partnership between your family and our team, to determine correct drugs and doses and to improve your child’s symptoms.

Physical or occupational therapy

About physical therapy or occupational therapy

Physical Therapy (PT) or Occupational Therapy (OT) are frequently part of your child’s treatment plan. The goal of therapy is to keep your child fit and active and to reduce joint pain during the treatment process.

Physical or occupational therapy at Children’s

At Children’s, we make referrals to physical therapy or occupational therapy providers both inside and outside our hospital. Our goal at Children’s is to promote normal functioning.

Eye care for rheumatology

About eye care

Some rheumatic conditions such as JIA may lead to uveitis/iritis which requires treatment to protect vision.

Eye care at Children’s

Your rheumatologist and ophthalmologist can discuss ways to prevent permanent eye damage in cases of rheumatic conditions. Children’s may partner with the Medical College of Wisconsin Eye Institute and community ophthalmologists to determine a course of treatment for your child. Learn more about the eye care specialists at Children's Hospital.

Physical activity

About physical activity for rheumatology

A diagnosis of rheumatic disease does not mean your child must avoid activity. In fact, certain kinds of physical activity can be helpful. Activity helps reduce pain and swelling around your child’s joints, strengthens muscles, keeps bones strong and contributes to your child’s overall well being.

Physical activity at Children’s

At Children’s, our multidisciplinary team will help assess the right exercise plan for your child, aimed at increasing strength, improving range of motion and/or increasing overall fitness.

Nutrition

About nutrition

A healthy child requires a healthy diet. Ensuring your child gets proper nutrition, lots of variety and can maintain a healthy weight is key to his or her treatment for rheumatic diseases.

Nutrition at Children’s

Children’s has nutritionists on staff who work with parents and our rheumatology team to educate and advise – ultimately ensuring that your child’s diet is helping keep them as healthy as possible.