Keeping Active

Benefits of physiotherapy

What is physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy maximises the range of movement in joints, muscles and bones.

How is physiotherapy used in haemophilia?

Physiotherapy and exercise play a large part in maintaining a strong and supple body, which is vital to anyone with haemophilia. Having access to a physiotherapist who specialises in haemophilia is essential for optimal and safe management of joint and muscle bleeds.  A physiotherapist will be able to provide information on how to improve joint mobility and muscle health, and give bleed preventative advice and treatment after an acute bleeding episode. After a joint or muscle bleed the affected area should be rested and physiotherapy treatment should begin after bleeding has been fully controlled.

If you do have a bleed follow the advice from your Centre regarding any treatment. PRICE can be a useful additional safeguard. It is widely used in the management of sports injuries as it can ultimately lead to a quicker return to normal activities. PRICE stands for protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation.

  • Protection – you should take care to protect your injury from undue stress perhaps by using a sling or crutches
  • Rest – this does not mean that you can not do anything, it simply means that the injured area must not be involved in the activity
  • Ice – you should use ice to limit the damage caused by the injury as this reduces the temperature of the tissue at the site of the injury.  Ice can be applied in a number of ways, but the most common method is to crush ice in a damp towel and place this over the injured area for between 10 and 15 minutes
  • Compression – this is applied to limit the amount of swelling in the injured area because controlling the amount of swelling reduces the amount of scar tissue formed and therefore may lead to a quicker recovery
  • Elevation – you should elevate the injured area to lower the pressure in the local blood vessels and help to limit the bleeding into the area.  Elevating the area will also help to increase drainage of fluids from the injury which limits swelling.

What are the advantages of physiotherapy?

Regular physiotherapy assessment can play a part in reducing the effects of bleeding into joints, which may lead to permanent damage and the need for surgery.  

Physiotherapy is also used after surgery, with the aim of speeding up recovery by getting a patient mobile as soon as possible. It also provides a useful baseline by which changes can be detected - often before the patient is aware of a degenerative problem.