1 Johns Hopkins University

2 Rock Valley Physical Therapy

3 Midwest Orthopedics, Rush Medical Center

4 Orthopedics, Mercy Medical Center, Clinton, IA



ABSTRACT: An increasingly popular method for post-operative rehabilitation of an ACL reconstruction, as a substitute for traditional therapy, is blood flow restriction therapy (BFR). BFR therapy utilizes a pneumatic cuff to simulate strenuous exercise in an effort to stimulate muscle recruitment, mitigate atrophy, and promote hypertrophy in patients with load-bearing limitations. Because this is a relatively new form of therapy, there is a lack of established literature and protocol that is preventing widespread use of the therapy. This article will seek to confirm the value and validity of the utilization of BFR therapy. In order to validate the utilization of BFR, an evaluation of the science underlying BFR will be discussed as well as the technique and exercises performed during therapy. Furthermore, analysis of other BFR literature, such as case series, will be utilized to lend further credence to the obtained conclusions. Based on examination of the literature, BFR therapy mitigates atrophy through type II muscle recruitment while also stimulating hypertrophy in patients, supporting its validity in a post-operative rehabilitation setting. Moreover, positive results from prior BFR literature also lend credence to its value as a substitute for traditional therapy in patients who have weight-bearing limitations, specifically those who are recovering from anterior cruciate ligament reconstructions.