SAN ANTONIO — When most people think of arthritis, adults come to mind. But children can suffer from it, too.
"One through 10, like a nine," said Nathan Ramos when describing the worst of his pain while dealing with juvenile arthritis. "It's hard to grip onto something or I can't hold onto it long enough or strong enough."
But he hasn't let it slow him down, fighting past it to play basketball and football.
"Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of every week," he said. "It's just fun to go and catch the ball."
His father, Jesse, remembers vividly the day his son's trouble began.
"It was the day before his second birthday," Jesse said, "and we were planning on having a party at Peter Piper and he woke up that day crying, saying he couldn't walk."
After four months of testing, Nathan was finally diagnosed.
"I asked his pediatrician if she could test him for arthritis," Jesse said. "And she said, 'It's a long shot, but yes, we will test him for it,' and sure enough his blood count came back to where he did have arthritis."
Some of the signs of juvenile arthritis include pain, which could be noticed as a limp; swelling, especially in larger joints like the knee; stiffness, particularly in the morning or after naps; and a fever with swollen lymph nodes or a rash on the trunk.
Now that he's in his teenage years, and with medication keeping the condition under control, his father says his bones are growing like they should be.
"I think as he's getting older he understands maybe some of it is growing pains or some are being sore from playing football," Jesse said.
Nathan added: "If you just keep going and going and not stopping you will get there and it will be like it's not there anymore."