Pediatric Rheumatology

UCLA Health rheumatologists use a team approach to deliver outstanding care to children and adolescents. We have experience treating the full range of rheumatological disorders affecting the bones, joints, muscles and connective tissues.

Child's hand and small teddy bear on hospital bed
Mother hugging son

Why choose UCLA Health for pediatric rheumatology?

UCLA Health pediatric rheumatologists deliver comprehensive care for children and adolescents with conditions that affect the bones, joints, muscles and connective tissues. When you come to us, you’ll find:

Child-focused expertise: We treat kids with many different types of rheumatologic and musculoskeletal disorders. Our pediatric experts understand how these disorders affect a child’s growth and development. We aim to optimize their well-being by delivering therapies and treatments that make a difference in their lives now and as they become adults.

Team approach: Our rheumatologists coordinate your child’s care with specialists across UCLA Health. We work closely with pediatric experts in other departments, including nephrology, orthopedics and dermatology to ensure that your child gets the individualized support they deserve.

Convenient, accessible clinics: In addition to caring for patients in our Westwood and Santa Monica locations, our doctors travel to several outreach clinics across the region. We strongly believe in making it as easy as possible for you to access the outstanding care you expect from UCLA Health.

Specialty care: Our team offers highly specialized care for children with juvenile arthritis, lupus and other autoimmune disorders. Pediatric rheumatologists and other specialists work together to offer tailored therapies and support that help children feel better. Focused care allows us to deliver more effective treatments.

Our areas of care

At UCLA Health, we specialize in helping children who have conditions affecting the muscles, bones, joints and connective tissues. Our areas of care include:

Juvenile arthritis

At the Pediatric Arthritis Clinic at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital, rheumatologists work with pediatric specialists from dermatology, ophthalmology and immunology. We are dedicated to meeting the individual needs of each child. Using a team approach, we evaluate, diagnose, manage and treat all types of childhood arthritis, including juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA).

Our experts work closely with your family and other specialists to create a treatment plan specifically for your child. We focus on helping your child move with less pain and improve mobility now, while preventing joint damage as your child grows. Our whole-child approach takes into account each child’s lifestyle and nutrition, appropriate physical activity and emotional well-being.

Systemic lupus erythematous (SLE) in children

As experts in treating lupus in children, our multispecialty team is qualified to address the many health concerns that can result from this autoimmune disorder. Our team at the Pediatric Lupus Clinic at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital includes pediatric specialists in rheumatology and nephrology. Through this unique combination of specialties, we deliver compassionate care, groundbreaking treatments and support.

Our specialists work closely with you and your child to deliver effective clinical treatments and preventive care. We help you and your child avoid triggers that can lead to a lupus flare-up. And we create a realistic plan that lowers your child’s risk of future damage to organs, joints and tissues in the body.

Rheumatologic conditions we treat

At UCLA Health, our team has experience diagnosing and treating even the most complex rheumatologic and musculoskeletal conditions in children. We treat chronic pain disorders such as fibromyalgia, which causes fatigue, depression, sleep problems and headaches. Our team also specializes in:

Autoimmune disorders

Several autoimmune disorders can cause pain, inflammation and a wide range of health problems in kids. Autoimmune disorders happen when the body mistakenly attacks its own healthy tissues, including the bones, joints, skin and organs. These disorders can appear in children and adolescents. We treat:

Connective tissue disorders, which cause problems with the tissues that connect all parts of the body, such as ligaments, tendons, skin, cartilage, blood vessels and some parts of the eye

Dermatomyositis, which causes a skin rash with red bumps and leads to muscle weakness

Juvenile ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis that affects a child’s spine and the areas where soft tissues connect to bones

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), also known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), which causes swelling in the joints and can lead to joint damage

Mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD), a combination of scleroderma, lupus, dermatomyositis and arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis, which affects people who have psoriasis (a disorder that causes red, scaly patches of skin), causing joint pain and inflammation

Scleroderma, several diseases that cause the skin to become hard and tight, and can also cause problems in the organs and blood vessels

Sjogren's syndrome, which causes problems with tear and saliva production

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), an autoimmune disease that can affect the bones, skin, brain and other organs

Complications from autoimmune disease, including hearing loss, lung disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and eye problems

Inflammatory disorders

Inflammatory disorders can cause swelling in nearly every part of the body. We have experience treating children with:

Autoinflammatory diseases, such as chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis (CRMO), which causes bone inflammation and pain

Behcet’s disease (vasculitis), which causes swelling of the blood vessels and affects the walls of the blood vessels and organs

Familial Mediterranean fever, a disorder that causes recurring fevers and inflammation in the chest and joints

Henoch-Schönlein purpura, a condition that causes bleeding and inflammation in the small blood vessels in the skin, organs and joints

Kawasaki disease, inflammation of blood vessels that can lead to serious heart problems if untreated

Treatments we offer

The disorders we treat affect children in different ways, and we treat many children who have a combination of disorders or symptoms that overlap. That’s why each treatment plan we create is based on your child’s age, symptoms, health, lifestyle and goals.

Your child receives individualized, well-rounded care from an entire team of pediatric experts. Our specialists are passionate about working as a team to meet the unique needs of each child. Your care team may recommend:

Emotional health care: Our compassionate team considers your child’s physical health and mental well-being. We understand that physical challenges can sometimes lead to emotional distress. Using a whole-child approach, we offer counseling, therapy, support and psychological care. We are here to guide you and your child on the path to better health.

Exercise and activity plans: With rheumatological and musculoskeletal disorders, physical activity is an essential part of staying as healthy as possible. Our team creates tailored plans that incorporate appropriate exercises and activities to help your child maximize their potential.

Medications: Your child may benefit from medications that reduce inflammation and pain, suppress the immune system or manage depression and anxiety. We carefully recommend each medication and work with you to adjust the plan if your child’s needs change.

Nutritional guidance: Registered dietitians work with your child and your entire family to recommend dietary plans that fit your life. We may recommend vitamins, supplements or dietary changes that can help your child get the nutrients they need.

Physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT): UCLA Health pediatric PTs and OTs deliver customized therapies. We help your child move without pain, improve muscle strength and mobility or handle daily tasks more efficiently.

Meet our team

Our team includes pediatric rheumatologists with specialized expertise in a wide range of disorders affecting the bones, joints, muscles and connective tissues. We work closely with experts in nephrology, dermatology, ophthalmology and other specialties to address the needs of each child.

Contact us

Call 310-825-0867 to connect with a UCLA Health expert in pediatric rheumatology.

Find your care

Our pediatric rheumatologists help children and adolescents feel better using comprehensive therapies and supportive care. Call 310-825-0867 to connect with us.