Therapeutic options in the management of articular contractures in haemophiliacs

Haemophilia. 1999 Mar:5 Suppl 1:5-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2516.1999.0050s1005.x.


Haemophilic contracture is seen most commonly as an equinus deformity of the ankle, or at the knee or elbow in the form of a flexion deformity. Treatment options are varied, and decision-making is based on the degree of the contracture, its chronicity, the presence of articular subluxation, the patient's ability to participate in treatment, and the available medical facilities. The treatments available fall into four categories: physiotherapy, orthotics, corrective devices, and surgical procedures. Treatment should be primarily by physiotherapy, splintage, and corrective devices. The late or severe case may require surgical correction in the form of soft-tissue procedures. Soft-tissue correction of muscle shorthening may be performed such as lengthening of the Achilles tendon for equinus deformity of the ankle, or hamstring release of the flexor muscles of the knee. Lower femoral osteotomy has been used for correction of flexion deformity at the knee joint. Mechanical distraction using external fixators for treatment of severe knee flexion contractures has been recently reported with satisfactory results. The main principle underlying the treatment of haemophilic contracture is the restoration of the patient's lifestyle and mobility, rather than anatomic or radiographic normality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Contracture / etiology
  • Contracture / therapy*
  • Hemophilia A / complications*
  • Humans
  • Orthopedics
  • Orthotic Devices
  • Physical Therapy Modalities