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Bleeding in the Joints

Bleeding in the joints is the most common symptom experienced by people with severe hemophilia. Such bleeding often occurs without an injury and can continue for days if it is not treated. However, people with hemophilia can learn to recognize early symptoms of bleeding in the joints and get treatment quickly. Early hemophilia treatment can help limit damage to the joints.

(Click Hemophilia Treatment for more information about the treatment of hemophilia.)
While bleeding can occur in any joint, it most often occurs in the:
  • Knees
  • Elbows
  • Ankles.
The symptoms of bleeding in the joints may include:
  • Tightness in the joint
  • Pain (which may occur before there are any visible signs of bleeding)
  • Swelling of the joint
  • A feeling of warmth in the affected area (The joint may be hot to the touch.)
  • Pain when bending or extending the joint
  • Loss of movement in the joint.
The bleeding will typically slow after several days when the joint is full of blood; however, if the bleeding in the joint is not treated, it can lead to disabling arthritis.

Hemophilia Symptoms Involving Bleeding in the Brain

Bleeding in the brain is a serious potential complication of hemophilia that requires emergency treatment. This can be the result of a simple bump on the head or a more serious head injury. The signs and symptoms of bleeding in the brain may include:
  • Long-lasting painful headaches
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Extreme sleepiness
  • Changes in behavior
  • Sudden weakness or clumsiness of the arm or leg
  • Neck pain or stiffness
  • Double vision
  • Difficulty walking
  • Convulsions or seizures.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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