If you're an athlete who has recently undergone ACL surgery, you're likely eager to get back to your favorite activities as soon as possible. ACL injuries can be painful, debilitating, and frustrating, and the recovery process can be slow and tedious. However, there's a newer therapy that's been gaining popularity among athletes that can help speed up the recovery process - Blood Flow Restriction Therapy (BFRT).
Supercharge Your ACL Recovery with BFRT
BFRT is a type of physical therapy that involves using a personalized tourniquet or cuff to temporarily restrict blood flow to a muscle or limb during exercise.
Sounds like fun, right?
The goal of BFRT is to create a hypoxic environment that triggers the release of growth factors and other hormones that promote muscle growth and repair. BFRT has been shown to be effective in accelerating muscle recovery and building muscle strength, making it a promising therapy for athletes recovering from ACL surgery.
Here are just a few of the benefits of BFRT for ACL injury recovery:
1. Accelerated recovery time
One of the most significant benefits of BFRT is its ability to accelerate the recovery time for ACL injuries. Studies have shown that BFRT can increase muscle protein synthesis and muscle fiber growth, leading to faster muscle recovery and improved functional outcomes. This means that athletes can return to their favorite activities sooner and with greater ease.
2. Muscle strength and size gains
BFRT has been shown to increase muscle strength and size, even in individuals who are recovering from an injury. This is because BFRT triggers the release of hormones like human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), which are critical for muscle growth and repair. By using BFRT during exercise, athletes can build muscle strength and size faster, leading to a more robust and resilient musculature.
3. Reduced muscle atrophy
One of the most significant challenges in ACL injury recovery is preventing muscle atrophy, or muscle loss. Studies have shown that BFRT can help reduce muscle atrophy during periods of immobilization or reduced activity, making it a valuable tool for athletes recovering from ACL surgery.
4. Improved range of motion
Another critical benefit of BFRT is its ability to improve range of motion. By increasing blood flow to the injured area, BFRT can help reduce joint stiffness and improve flexibility, making it easier for athletes to perform exercises and get back to their favorite activities.
Finally, BFRT is a cost-effective therapy for ACL injury recovery. Because it can be done in conjunction with traditional physical therapy, it can help reduce the overall cost of recovery.
“What surprised me most about the BFR was that even after having my ACL, LCL, meniscus torn and repaired, that I was able to get back to wrestling at the collegiate level in MUCH shorter time than me and my surgeon were expecting. Even my quad size got back to pretty much normal. Along with the great PT care I got from the physical therapists at Next Level Physio, I think the BFR helped alot, too.”
Additionally, because BFRT can accelerate the recovery process, it can help athletes get back to their activities sooner, reducing the cost of missed opportunities and activities.
Overall, BFRT has been shown to be a safe and effective therapy for accelerating ACL injury recovery. With its ability to improve muscle strength, reduce muscle atrophy, improve range of motion, and accelerate overall recovery time, BFRT is an ideal therapy for athletes looking to get back to their favorite activities as soon as possible.
- Teixeira, A., Silva-Junior, N., Da Silva-Grigoletto, M., Bentes, C., Miranda, H., Novaes, J., & Marocolo, M. (2020). Blood flow restriction training: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Medicine, 50(11), 2177-2205.
- Cook, S. B., Murphy, B. G., & Labounty, K. L. (2019). Blood flow restriction training as a prehabilitation training modality for anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 33(10), 2681-2691.
- Kim, D., Loenneke, J. P., Thiebaud, R. S., Fahs, C. A., Rossow, L. M., Ye, X., & Bemben, D. A. (2017). Low-load resistance training with low relative pressure produces muscular changes similar to high-load resistance training. Muscle & Nerve, 56(4), E126-E133.
- Jubeau, M., Sartorio, A., Marinone, P. G., Agosti, F., Van Hoecke, J., & Maffiuletti, N. A. (2008). Effect of vascular occlusion training on muscular endurance in the elderly. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 104(4), 655-662.
- Brandner, C. R., Warmington, S. A., & Kidgell, D. J. (2015). Unilateral blood flow restriction resistance exercise: a promising rehabilitation intervention for a range of clinical populations. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 29(11), 3141-3155.