Symptoms and Treatment of Joint and Muscle Bleeds

People with hemophilia may recognize the early signs of bleeding as tingling, or an aura — a sense they cannot describe that a bleed is happening — sometimes called a sixth sense.3,4

This can happen even before physical signs of a bleed can be seen. So, if you have hemophilia, listen to your body and trust this sense. Treatment at this stage will help stop bleeding early — and can result in less tissue and joint damage. Don't wait to assess and manage your bleed.4

Signs of Joint and Muscle Bleeds

If there is no aura that a bleed is happening, it may be possible to recognize a joint bleed by these common signs3,4:

  • A tingling sensation
  • Warmth or tightness in the joint
  • Pain or swelling
  • Joints that are a little hard to move
  • Difficulty moving or walking
  • A muscle that looks bigger than usual, when it is not being moved or flexed

Learn How to Stop a Bleed >>

Treating Joint and Muscle Bleeds

The goal when treating acute joint and muscle bleeds is to stop the bleeding as quickly as possible. Ideally, this should happen as soon as someone senses an aura.4

General steps in treating a joint and muscle bleed:

  1. If inhibitor levels are low, factor replacement therapy should be started as soon as possible, at dose levels high enough to stop the bleeding.4,5
  2. The best way to give immediate factor replacement therapy, or other treatment to stop bleeding, is to have a home treatment program designed by your doctor or hemophilia care team. Talk to your doctor or hemophilia care team to draw up a plan. Most treatment plans for patients with inhibitors will involve bypassing agents.4,20
  3. Joint bleeds that do not respond to treatment within 12 to 24 hours should be examined by a doctor immediately.21
  4. If joint damage causes severe pain and begins to become a problem with normal daily activities, surgery may be an option.16

Always talk to your doctor, nurse, or hemophilia care team if you feel pain in your joints.3

Read the general guidelines for Treating Bleeds >>