Written By: Tyler Laib PT, DPT, Clinical Director, SportsCare Randolph
Blood Flow Restriction Therapy (BFRT) is an exciting technique that can augment your physical therapy experience at SportsCare.
This intervention uses specifically designed and precisely calibrated inflatable bands to provide occlusion pressure to a limb. The straps slow blood flow from reaching the muscle groups you and your physical therapist want to target and strengthen. The reduced blood flow creates an environment in your muscle making it work with decreased access to oxygen.
But “Don’t muscles need oxygen to work?”
While it is true that muscles need oxygen to work, BFRT elicits a physiological response within the muscle creating an opportunity to gain strength with lighter loads, increase the efficiency of muscle contractions, limit disuse atrophy, and create hypertrophy. All beneficial outcomes when recovering from injury or rehabilitating after surgery.
Patients suffering from knee arthritis could benefit from this technique. Those recovering from ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) reconstruction or knee arthroscopy should also explore this approach with their SportsCare therapist.
A rehabilitation program after a surgical or non-surgical upper extremity or lower extremity fracture could potentially incorporate BFRT. While the use of Blood Flow Restricted Therapy can be used in many situations for a variety of patients, it needs to be utilized safely and appropriately.