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Physiotherapy and Haemophilia

Many health professionals and patients are still unfamiliar with the important role of physiotherapy in the treatment of haemophilia. The musculoskeletal problems that cause the repetitive haemorrhages can be relieved. A correct rehabilitating treatment can restore the patient’s independence and functional capacity and, consequently, increasing life quality.

Physiotherapy and Haemophilia

Haemophilia is a haemorrhagic, hereditary, monogenic, recessive and sex-linked illness. It is caused by the deficiency of the blood clotting factors VII or IX. This deficiency causes haemorrhages that can be either cerebral – which are the worst – and/or musculoskeletal, which has more after effects. It’s in these cases of musculoskeletal injuries that a rehabilitation treatment can offer considerable solutions. In 1962, Biggs and Mcfarlane published a series of works in which they proposed a new treatment focus, highlighting the value of the orthopedic field. Haemophilia, as all illnesses, can be treated better when looked at from a multi-disciplinary point of view and physiotherapy forms an essential part of the team, whenever it’s combined with the convenient haematologic treatment.

The most common musculoskeletal injuries caused by haemophilia are haemarthrosis, synovitis and muscular haematomas. The patient ends up suffering haemophilic arthropathy and consequently, all the functional troubles and invalidity this brings along. Haemarthrosis (presence of intraarticular blood) is frequent in elbows, ankles and knees. Its etiology can be traumatologic or spontaneous (without an apparent cause) and its seriousness usually depends on the intensity of the trauma.

This accumulation of intraarticular blood causes a hypertrophy of the synovial lining which tends to lead to a new haemorrhage. In the large majority of the cases. this haemorrhagic episode causes a haemophilic synovitis. The repetitive haemorrhages deposit iron and haemosiderin in the articulations, which generates an inflammation of the sinovial causing physiological changes in the latter.

Consequence: an alteration of the nutrition of the cartilage and the possibility of new haemorrhages. Another common injury are muscular haematomas. The haemorrhages patients suffer continue until the intramuscular pressure equals the intravascular pressure of the injured vessels. If the amount of blood exceeds the absorbing capacity of the phagocytes, the blood encapsulates and forms a cyst. This cyst can evolve and become a haemophilic pseudotumour which can invade and damage nearby tissues or turn into an abscess.

The Summit Physiotherapy team can help you if you suffer from Haemophilia, we always work in conjunction with treating Doctors for best patient outcomes. Contact us on: or call: 02 9966 1347 to make a booking to discuss how physiotherapy can help you manage your condition.

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