Effects of therapeutic exercise and hydrotherapy on pain severity and knee range of motion in patients with hemophilia: a randomized controlled trial

Int J Prev Med. 2014 Jan;5(1):83-8.


Background: Pain and limited range of motion (ROM) are the crucial subsequent results of joint hemorrhages in individuals with bleeding disorders and hemophilia. Exercise interventions are particularly recommended in treatment of such patients. The purpose of this study was to detect the influences of conventional exercise therapy and hydrotherapy on the knee joint complications in patients with hemophilia.

Methods: A total of 40 patients engaging hemophilia A were randomized into one of three groups: Therapeutic exercise (N = 13), hydrotherapy (N = 14) or control (N = 13). While the first two groups followed their specific programs for 4 weeks, routine life-style was maintained by subjects in the control group in this period. To evaluate the pain level and knee ROM the visual analog scale and standard goniometer were utilized, respectively. The outcome was measured at baseline and after completing the prescribed protocols. Data analysis was performed using one-way analysis of variance and Scheffe statistical tests (P < 0.05).

Results: Both experimental groups experienced more significant decreasing in pain level (P < 0.001) and knee flexion and extension ROM (P < 0.001) in comparison to the control group. Although the pain was significantly (P < 0.01) more alleviated in participants treated through hydrotherapy in comparison to exercise therapy, the difference in ROM improvement was not statistically significant (P > 0.05).

Conclusions: Using hydrotherapy in addition to usual rehabilitation training can result in beneficial effect in terms of pain and knee joint ROM. However, it appears that hydrotherapy is more effective in reducing pain.

Keywords: Aquatic therapy; hemophilia; knee range of motion.