Early blood flow restriction therapy may improve pain, strength after ACL reconstruction

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"Chang noted patients in the blood flow restriction group had significantly increased terminal knee extension strength at 8, 10 and 12 weeks postoperatively, as well as an overall change in strength from 3 to 12 weeks postoperatively. Although patients in the blood flow restriction group had a significantly lower VAS pain score at 6 weeks compared with the traditional rehabilitation group, Chang noted that pain scores normalized in the two groups by 3 months postoperatively. He added the two groups had no significant differences in IKDC score or thigh circumference.

Based on the results of this study, which received the O’Donoghue Sports Injury Research Award at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy Association of North America Combined Meeting, Chang said blood flow restriction may be most beneficial in the early postoperative period after ACL reconstruction, when patients are unable to safely perform high intensity exercises.

“Further research is necessary, but my feeling is that [blood flow restriction] might be a standard of care postop modality for the majority of lower knee reconstructive surgeries to help prevent muscle atrophy and promote muscle hypertrophy,” Chang said." 

Check out the rest of the write up at the Healio website.