Gaucher disease is a genetic disease characterized by the toxic buildup of a fat molecule called glucocerebroside in various tissues and organs, including the bones.
Over time, this accumulation weakens bones, causing stiffness and risking fractures and making movement difficult. Bone damage can become chronic, and joint replacement surgery is often necessary to ease pain and discomfort.
How physiotherapy can help
There is no standard physiotherapy regimen for Gaucher disease patients, but a trained physiotherapist can help design a safe exercise routine. Its intensity and scope will vary depending on a given patient’s health status. But, generally, a mild-to-moderate workout plan is adapted to maintain mobility and range of movement, and to help prevent joint stiffness.
During the consultation, the therapist will review the patient’s medical history and consider their needs and abilities before planning an exercise regimen.
A combination of aerobics, strength training, and exercises that improve balance can help build muscle strength, maintain weight, and lessen the likelihood of falls. Leg exercises help to loosen frozen joints and improve movement. Stretching routines may be included to relieve muscle cramps and maintain fluidity.
Low-intensity activities that do not exert pressure on the joints and bones, such as swimming, are usually preferred to help build muscle strength.
Physical therapy must be performed under the supervision of a physiotherapist, and in consultation with their physician.
Patients who have swollen spleens, are severely anemic or have a tendency toward bleeding and fractures are strongly advised to avoid contact sports like football and basketball in favor of activities like swimming, bike riding and dance programs.
Gaucher patients who have had hip or knee replacement surgery should also avoid jogging and other high-impact exercises.
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