Electromyographic and Safety Comparisons of Common Lower Limb Rehabilitation Exercises for People With Hemophilia.Phys Ther. 2020 01 23; 100(1):116-126.PT
Ankles and knees are commonly affected in people with hemophilia and thus are targets for prevention or rehabilitation. However, to our knowledge, no studies have evaluated muscle activity and safety during exercises targeting the lower limbs in people with hemophilia; this lack of information hinders clinical decision-making.
The aim of this study was to compare the tolerability of, safety of, and muscle activity levels obtained with external resistance (elastic or machine)-based and non-external resistance-based lower limb exercises in people with hemophilia.
This was a cross-sectional study.
Eleven people who had severe hemophilia and were undergoing prophylactic treatment participated. In a single experimental session, participants performed knee extension and ankle plantar flexion during 3 exercise conditions in random order: elastic band-based resistance (elastic resistance), machine-based resistance (machine resistance), and no external resistance. Exercise intensities for the 2 external resistance-based conditions were matched for perceived exertion. Muscle activity was determined using surface electromyography (EMG) for the rectus femoris, biceps femoris, gastrocnemius lateralis, and tibialis anterior muscles. Participants were asked to rate exercise tolerability according to a scale ranging from "very well tolerated" to "not tolerated" and to report possible adverse effects 24 and 48 hours after the session.
No adverse effects were reported, and exercise tolerability was generally high. In the knee extension exercise, the rectus femoris normalized EMG values during the elastic resistance and machine resistance conditions were similar; 29% to 30% higher activity was obtained during these conditions than during the non-external resistance condition. In the ankle plantar flexion exercise, the gastrocnemius lateralis normalized EMG value was 34% higher during the machine resistance condition than without external resistance, and the normalized EMG values during the elastic resistance and other conditions were similar.
The small sample size and single training session were the primary limitations of this study.
Exercises performed both with elastic bands and with machines at moderate intensity are safe, feasible, and efficient in people with severe hemophilia, providing comparable activity levels in the agonist muscles.