Background: Inflammation and glucocorticoid therapy are major factors in the growth retardation seen in children with severe forms of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). It has been recently shown that tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α antagonist therapy can improve growth velocity in JIA patients; however, the recombinant human soluble TNF-α receptor fusion protein etanercept has had limited efficacy in systemic forms of JIA. For several years, growth hormone (GH) has been used to treat growth retardation in patients with JIA receiving glucocorticoids. GH treatment can normalize growth velocity and prevent the severe loss of height; however, catch-up growth markedly varies with the severity of the inflammatory state and the steroid doses used during GH treatment. Recently, early institution of GH treatment has been shown to maintain normal growth in children with JIA. Conclusions: These promising results show the need for careful monitoring of growth in children with JIA, the utility of GH therapy before the onset of severe growth delay and the potential for preservation of long-term growth during disease progression.