Does anyone around you or known to you suffer from Hemophilia? If yes, then advise him/her to do exercises. Hemophilia is a genetic blood disorder that affects the ability of the body to make blood clots to prevent excessive bleeding. Due to the lack of clotting, hemophilia patients may experience spontaneous bleeding episodes in different parts of the body. Earlier these patients were advised to refrain from exercising due to a perceived risk of bleeding. But due to inactivity obesity, and bone density loss became prominent in such patients which gave rise to cardiovascular disease, chronic joint inflammation, and increased the risk of diabetes, further causing bleeding in the joints and risk of fractures. To prevent these complications of hemophilia, physical activity is found to be essential for health maintenance and general fitness. Exercises can be encouraged for coordination, muscle strengthening, and maintaining body weight which in turn promotes neuromuscular health, and self-esteem. Patients should consult a well-trained and qualified physiotherapist before engaging in physical activities. In this blog, we have discussed a few exercises and their benefits for patients with significant muscle and bone weakness or problems due to hemophilia.

 

Physiotherapy Exercises:

After the incidence of bleeding, it is best to return to any physical activity in a gradual manner. The physiotherapist decides whether a particular planned exercise or activity is appropriate, whether the patient requires a protective gear that might need to be used, etc. Weight-bearing exercises which are comfortable for the patient are recommended such as non-contact sports like swimming. It promotes the development and maintenance of bone density. Whereas, high-contact and collision sports, like rugby or football, are to be avoided.

 

Benefits of Exercises:

It is essential to remain active to strengthen joints and muscles, maintain a healthy weight, and provide an outlet for stress or tension. Other benefits of exercises include:

  • Improves joint stability and function.
  • Reduces the risk of injury.
  • Strong muscles which support the joints, and help prevent bleeding and joint damage.
  • Improves flexibility of muscles.
  • Improves coordination.
  • Feeling of being fit and energetic.
  • Helps reduce fatigue.
  • Decreases the stress on the joints.
  • Improve balance.
  • And finally, help to prevent bleeding and joint damage.

 

Exercises:

Regular exercises help boost self-esteem, and confidence relieves stress, relax the mind, and promotes social interaction and acceptance. A few simple exercises have been discussed below which can be performed by the hemophilia patients.

Knee range of motion Exercise:

  • The patient lies on the back, with legs straight.
  • Then bends the hip and knee and slides the heel towards the body.
  • Again straighten the knee by sliding the heel away from the body.
  • This exercise is repeated several times.

Knee strengthening Exercise:

  • The patient lies on the back, with legs straight and a towel rolled under the knee.
  • Then try to tighten the muscles (front) of the thigh.
  • Hold this contraction for a few seconds.
  • Repeat this exercise several times.

Knee Proprioception exercise:

  • The patient is kept in a standing position.
  • Stands on the affected leg.
  • Try to maintain balance.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds.

Ankle range of motion exercise:

  • The patient lies on the back.
  • Keep the affected leg straight, and move the foot up and down, in and out.
  • Draw the shapes or letters of the alphabet with the foot.

Ankle strengthening exercise:

  • The patient sits on a chair.
  • The knee is bent and the foot flat is kept on the floor.
  • Lift the toes off the floor by pushing the heels onto the floor.
  • Hold for several seconds and relax.

Ankle Proprioception exercises:

  • Patient in a standing position.
  • Stand on the affected leg.
  • Try to maintain balance.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds.

Elbow range of motion exercise:

  • The patient is in a sitting position
  • Slowly bend the elbow and then straighten it, repeat several times.

Forearm exercise:

  • The patient is in a sitting position
  • Slowly bend and straighten the elbow.
  • Turn the palm of the hand up and down
  • Repeat a few times.

Elbow Extension exercises:

  • Place the unaffected hand under the affected arm.
  • Press the affected arm down into the unaffected hand.
  • Hold for a few seconds,
  • Repeat several times.

Elbow proprioception:

  • Place the hands on the floor.
  • Raise one leg behind while maintaining balance on both arms.
  • Maintain balance for a few seconds then lower the leg.
  • Repeat the same exercise with the opposite leg.

Moderate muscle exercises can be performed with the help of elastic bands or elastic resistance and conventional training machines. Even hydrotherapy exercises are safe and effective for patients with severe hemophilia, receiving preventive treatment.

 

Sports Activities: Sports that can be played safely under the proper guidance are walking, cycling, swimming, table tennis, dancing, badminton, bowling, golf, etc. But care should be taken to avoid contact sports like boxing, soccer/football, basketball, wrestling, motorcycling, hockey, skateboarding, etc.

 

Physical activity is not only beneficial physically i.e. a strong body not only helps to protect the body and prevent bleeding but also improves emotional and spiritual well-being.