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Keywords:

  • haemophilia;
  • joint;
  • physical examination

Summary.   Persons with haemophilia often experience their first joint haemorrhage in early childhood. Recurrent bleeding into a joint may lead to significant morbidity, specifically haemophilic arthropathy. Early identification of the onset and progression of joint damage is critical to preserving joint structure and function. Physical examination is the most feasible approach to monitor joint health. Our group developed the Colorado Haemophilia Paediatric Joint Physical Examination Scale to identify earlier signs of joint degeneration and incorporate developmentally appropriate tasks for assessing joint function in young children. This study's objectives were to establish normal ranges for this scale and assess interrater reliability. The ankles, knees and elbows of 72 healthy boys aged 1 through 7 years were evaluated by a physical therapist to establish normal ranges. Exactly 10 boys in each age category from 2 to 7 years were evaluated by a second physical therapist to determine interrater reliability. The original scale was modified to account for the finding that mild angulation in the weight-bearing joints is developmentally normal. The interrater reliability of the scale ranged from fair to good, underscoring the need for physical therapists to have specific training in the orthopaedic assessment of very young children and the measurement error inherent in the goniometer. Modifications to axial alignment scoring will allow the scale to distinguish healthy joints from those suffering frequent haemarthroses.