A new study suggests that whole body vibration training increases muscle strength, bone mineral density, and functional capacity in children with hemophilia.
The study, “Effect of whole body vibration training on quadriceps strength, bone mineral density, and functional capacity in children with hemophilia: a randomized clinical trial,” was published in the Journal of Musculoskeletal and Neuronal Interactions.
Hemophilia is an inherited blood disorder with a general prevalence of approximately 1 in 10,000 male births. Disease complications range from easy bruising to life-threatening internal bleeding. Bleeding into joint spaces has been associated with cartilage erosion and impairment in mobility, strength, and functional ability.
Physical therapy has been recognized as an effective management tool for children with hemophilia. Recently, whole body vibration (WBV) has emerged as a training method that exposes different parts of the body to low-frequency mechanical stimuli via a vibrating platform. Vibrations are believed to stimulate muscle growth by sending nerve impulses to initiate muscle contractions.
To evaluate whole body vibration training’s effect on the strength and bone mineral density of children’s quadriceps (thigh muscles), 30 children with hemophilia aged 9-13 received either vibration training with conventional physical therapy or physical therapy alone. Vibration training was conducted for approximately 15 minutes, three days a week, for 12 weeks.
Researchers found that children in the vibration training group showed significant improvement in all outcomes including quadriceps strength, bone mineral density, and functional capacity, which was evaluated using a six-minute walking test. Children in the vibration training group were able to walk an average of 325 meters in six minutes compared to only 290 meters in the control group.
According to the study’s authors, “We can conclude that the WBV training is an effective physical therapy modality for children with hemophilia.” However, further studies are needed to determine if WBV alone is effective in these patients, they added.