The World Health Organization defines rehabilitation as “a set of measures that assist individuals who experience, or are likely to experience, disability to achieve and maintain optimal functioning in interaction with their environments.” Mobility is, therefore, an essential element of health and wellness and central to being healthy.
Bleeding in joints and muscles is a predominant clinical feature of hemophilia and can trigger a degenerative process characterized by alterations in joint cartilage and other joint structures. Between 35% and 50% of patients, in fact, report living with chronic musculoskeletal pain. Prophylactic therapy with coagulation factor concentrates has been shown to prevent or minimize arthropathy and is standard care for people with this condition. Prevention of arthropathy, however, remains a primary goal of hemophilia treatment.
Physical therapy in the individual with hemophilia is aimed at the needs and movement potential of patients, and offers rehabilitation and services to develop, maintain, and restore maximum movement and functional capacity.
In fact, recently published guidelines on the management of hemarthrosis recommend early physical therapy in order to control symptoms, prevent recurrence of bleeding, prevent joint damage, and restore full joint function and activity.
Stephensen D, Bladen M, McLaughlin P. Recent advances in musculoskeletal physiotherapy for haemophilia. Ther Adv Hematol. 2018 Jul 2;9(8):227-237. doi: 10.1177/2040620718784834.