A physical therapist (PT) plays an integral part on the treatment team for anyone who has a bleeding disorder. While doctors and nurses help manage bleeds and make sure individuals get the factor and other medications they need, PTs address joint health, weight management and overall physical fitness.
PTs work to preserve joints and range of motion, to relieve pain and to improve quality of life. “We keep people of all ages functional for social activities, for school and for work,” says Cindy Bailey, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, a physical therapist with the Orthopaedic Hemophilia Treatment Center at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children in Los Angeles.
PTs typically see people with bleeding disorders once a year for a checkup. View your annual appointment with your physical therapist as a time to discuss the coming year. Here are some sample questions to help you have the best year possible:
How can I prepare for my leisure activities or vacations?
A trip to the beach or to the mountains for hiking, for example, requires the right shoes. Your PT can help you pick the proper pair. Discuss precautions or special equipment associated with your bleeding disorder that you may need to consider.
What sports can I play with my friends or co-workers?
Before you join your company’s softball team or your neighborhood’s kickball league, consult your physical therapist. Ask how to strengthen the muscles and connective tissue you’ll use in your new sport so you can minimize your risk of a bleed. The same goes for parents of children with bleeding disorders: If your child wants to try a new sport, call your PT and ask for advice.
How can I prevent or reduce pain at work?
Often, you can rearrange your workspace to make it more comfortable. Your PT can help determine the best setup for you.
“Before you come in, think about what you want from us so that we can prepare you for what it is you are planning to do,” says Bailey. Think of your PT as a partner who can help you boost your quality of life and keep you doing the things you want to do, no matter your age.