What is Hemarthrosis?

Hemarthrosis is a condition in which bleeding occurs in the joint spaces. This condition occurs when blood vessels in the joint are damaged and bleed due to injury. This causes swelling and pain in the joints1.

Hemarthrosis (knee)


Shoulder, knee and ankle hemarthrosis are common types of hemarthrosis. They are grouped according to the parts of your body the condition affects. Other types of hemarthrosis are chronic and traumatic hemarthrosis.


Hemarthrosis can be caused by several factors such as:

Bleeding disorders

Bleeding disorders are conditions that affect the usual blood clotting process in your body. This process is also known as coagulation and it changes the state of your blood to solid from liquid.

These disorders may cause unusual bleeding from inside and outside your body. Some of these disorders may elevate the quantity of blood coming out of your body. While others causes bleeding below your skin and in organs like brain.

Bleeding disorders occur when platelets and blood proteins are not functioning properly or are in low quantity. Blood proteins and platelets enable blood to clot during injury and prevent bleeding.

When blood proteins and platelets are not working as they should, you will experience too much bleeding in your joints, muscles and other parts of your body.

Bleeding disorders occur due to some medical conditions such as liver diseases. The disorder can also by caused by deficiency of vitamin k in the body and low concentration of red blood cells in your body. Another cause of this disorder is genetic factors. Most of bleeding disorders are hereditary; infected parents pass a copy of mutated genes to the child.

Forms of Bleeding Disorders

Bleeding disorders can be classified into the following:

  • Von Willebrand’s disease
  • Hemophilia A and B
  • Factor II, V, VII, X, or XII deficiencies


Neoplasm is a condition in which tissues in your body grow abnormally due to defective cells dividing rapidly.

Normally, a human being body is made up of many cells that grow, divide and die in a systematic manner. The cell’s DNA regulates this process by ensuring that cells divide to support growth, replaces worn out tissues or repairs the damaged cells.

When a problem occurs in your cells, cells grow in unusual way and divide rapidly than they should and cells do not die as expected. The abnormal growth of cells leads to formation of tumors in your body. These tumors may be noncancerous or cancerous.

Cancerous cells are capable of spreading to the surrounding tissues through bloodstream and may cause death when left untreated.


Osteoarthritis is a disease affecting your joints. It is also referred to as degenerative joint disease or degenerative arthritis. This condition can affect any joint in your body but it mostly affects neck, lower back, knees, hips, and joints of the finger, thumb and toes.

For normal joints, a cartilage envelops the end of each bone. Cartilage offers the joints a smooth surface to move and slide along and protects the bones from damage.

In osteoarthritis, this cartilage fails to function and eventually get broken due to injuries and infections.

Knee joint anthroplasty

Anthroplasty is a surgical procedure performed to replace your knee joint with an artificial one. A knee joint is replaced because it is damaged from other medical conditions like osteoarthritis or from infections and injury.

In anthroplasty, the damaged parts of your knee joint are removed and replaced by prosthesis, a manufactured material. The prosthesis can be plastic, ceramic or metal.

Knee joint anthroplasty is not a stable replacement of the knee joint parts. This procedure may cause several problems such as pain and swelling near the area of the replaced knee joint. This may occur through injury which breaks the bone below the new knee joint. Also the new joint slowly undergoes wear and tear that disrupts the normal functioning of your knee.

Other factors that may cause hemarthrosis include1:

  • Medicines such as blood thinner used to prevent blood clotting
  • Damage to your cartilage in your bones due to any form of injury
  • People with sickle cell disease have low red blood cells count in their body. This limits blood and oxygen to cells hence they may not function properly.
  • People who have damaged their nerves due to injury may not be able to coordinate movements.


The main symptom of hemarthrosis is bleeding into the joints of your shoulders, knee and ankle. You may also experience warm and pain in your joints. In most people, the affected joint becomes swollen and the skin around the joint changes to red. Another symptom is the joint becomes stiff which affects your ability to move the joint.


Hemarthrosis can be diagnosed through physical assessment of your joints. In physical examination, you will discuss your symptoms with your doctor; tell your doctor the exact date you started experiencing pain and swelling in your joints. Inform your doctor any medical condition you have had in the past such as hemophilia and any injury to your joint.

Other tests include aspiration and imaging. In aspiration, your doctor uses a needle to remove fluids in your joint. Imaging tests such as ultrasound and MRI scan are used to show detailed pictures of your joints and detect any abnormalities.


Treatment of hemarthrosis depends on the underlying cause. The treatment aims at managing and stopping the cause of hemarthrosis. Your doctor can treat people with hemarthrosis using any of the following methods:


Your doctor may recommend medicines such as blood thinners to enhance blood clotting for those with hemophilia. In some cases, your doctor may change the dose or type of blood thinners if the drug is causing hemarthrosis.


Your doctor can also use surgery intervention to remove the damaged joint to reduce pain, swelling and enhance joint movement. Your doctor can use any of the following surgery methods:


It is used to remove part or whole of the damaged meniscus.


This surgery procedure is used to remove a swollen tissue in your joint or synovial membrane.


  • Seek the help of a physical therapist to help you improve joint movement
  • Do regular exercises as directed by your doctor such as walking
  • Put an ice pack on your joints to relieve pain and swelling.

When to seek Medical Attention?

You must seek medical attention if you experience the following:

  • You are not able to move your joints.
  • The pain in your joint is worsening and also spreading to the nearby muscles.

Reference List

  1. Hemarthrosis. https://www.drugs.com/cg/hemarthrosis.html
  2. http://www.primehealthchannel.com/hemarthrosis-definition-symptoms-causes-and-treatment.html
  3. Hemarthrosis. http://www.orthopaedicsone.com/display/Main/Hemarthrosis
  4. Neoplasm. http://www.news-medical.net
  5. Osteoarthritis. http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/osteoarthritis/what-is-osteoarthritis.php
  6. Knee Joint Replacement. http://www.emedicinehealth.com/knee_joint_replacement/page2_em.htm
  7. Blood disorders. http://www.emedicinehealth.com/knee_joint_replacement/page2_em.htm

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