INTRODUCTION AND AIMS: juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) may cause permanent physical disabilities in children and adolescents. This study aimed to describe the several kinds of rehabilitation procedures, ranging from evaluation to prescription of exercises, as well as the elaboration of a practical rehabilitation guide for JIA patients. SOURCES OF DATA: the research was based on data from Medline and Lilacs. The opinion of experts working on the Pediatric Rheumatology service from Lar Escola São Francisco and Universidade Federal de São Paulo was considered on the debate of several topics. SUMMARY: JIA patients may present pain and limitation of joint movement thereby leading to decrease in physical capacity, affecting both aerobic and anaerobic activities. In addition to the joint compromise, cardiac and autonomic dysfunctions collaborate on this process, impairing sport and everyday activities. The American College of Rheumatology recommends 30-minute activity with moderate intensity, two to three times weekly. Hydrotherapy is associated to treatment adherence, besides helping in decreasing pain perception and adding to cope with daily activities. Other rehabilitation modalities, such as massage, education, joint protection, energy conservation, and splints are also considered in the present review. CONCLUSION: there are few studies in the literature focusing on rehabilitation in children with JIA. Particularly, there is a lack of studies concerning aspects of adequate prescription of exercises, weight-bearing, number of series and repetitions, as well as the best choice regarding ground or water activity. We believe that additional information is needed in order to improve the physical care to these patients.
rehabilitation; physical therapy; juvenile idiopathic arthritis