Physical therapy is a type of medical therapy that uses exercise for treatment. It can help someone with hemophilia and inhibitors to stay fit, help weakened muscles recover, or help damaged joints.4,16
Physical therapy is very important when4:
- Recovering from joint and muscle bleeds
- Recovering from surgery
- Recovering from broken bones
Physical Therapy and Joint Bleeds4
Physical therapy should always be stressed when managing joint bleeds. A joint bleed that is treated quickly and then followed up with physical therapy to help strengthen the muscles is less likely to cause damage.
- When the pain and swelling begin to go down, a physical therapist should help you change the position you have the joint in (for comfort) to a new position for moving and using the joint
- This means straightening the joint out as much as possible
- Physical therapy for recovering from joint bleeds should include gentle stretches and active muscle use in order to gain extension
Returning the joint to movement position is very important. The sooner the joint returns to a position that allows for movement, the sooner muscle control will return — which prevents the muscles from getting weaker and smaller. This prevents a loss of joint motion.
Pre-surgical physical therapy is needed to physically be ready for surgery and have successful results.
Before the surgery, a physical therapist will teach you special exercises to help strengthen your body for the type of surgery you will have. For example, if you're having hip surgery, your physical therapist might give you exercises to strengthen the upper body, so you are strong enough to manage crutches for a while after surgery.
Following surgery, your physical therapist will show you exercises to help strengthen the area that was operated on. The physical therapist can also show you exercises to help with daily activities. For example, if needed, you might learn to get out of the bed, shower, dress, and move in ways that lessen pain and protect your joints.
Any exercises a physical therapist gives you are aimed at improving strength, improving joint movement, and protecting your joints. Following their advice and doing the exercises is a very important part of recovery.
Sometimes, it's easy to think that exercising more than suggested will be better for you. But, to recover safely, it's important to follow the plan your physical therapist lays out. If you overdo it, or do too much too soon, you could hurt yourself.
If you have any questions, or want to exercise more, check with your healthcare provider first.