Blood Flow Restriction

Blood Flow Restriction therapy has been around since 1966 but has recently gained a lot of popularity in the physical therapy community. There has been a recent surge in research supporting BFR, which began with military personnel returning home with traumatic injuries, and now is now widely use by colleges and professional athletes.

What is Blood Flow Restriction?

Blood flow restriction (BFR) is FDA-approved to be a safe and effective system that trained medical professionals can use to help patients improve muscle strength.  It is done by using pneumatic tourniquet-like cuffs used to restrict blood to the limb. Doing so decreases the amount of blood that returns through the veins. This restriction of blood flow helps with muscle growth without placing excessive weight on the limb. BFR mimics the anaerobic environment of high-intensity exercise at 20-30% of a person’s 1 rep max.

How does it work?

BFR uses specialized cuffs that are applied to a patient’s injured arm or leg. The cuff is then inflated to a specific pressure, based upon the patients’ arterial flow. Once blood flow is restricted, personalized strengthening exercises are performed at high repetitions and low weight

What are the benefits of BFR

  • Gain muscle
  • Improve muscle endurance
  • Increase muscle power
  • Faster return to function after injury
  • Prevent injury
  • Reduce recovery time

Who can benefit from BFR?

The risks associated with BFR are similar to the risks associated with general exercise, thus making it useful for a wide population, included but not limited to those seeking treatment for the following conditions:

  • Sport-specific training
  • Arthritis
  • Deconditioning
  • Post-op ACL
  • Fractures
  • Muscle sprains/strains
  • RTC surgery
  • Elbow tendonitis
  • Post-op total knee and hip replacements

Call an Ivy Rehab Network location near you to see how one of our BFR-skilled physical therapists can help you!

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