Blood Flow Restriction
Build Strength and Develop Muscle with the Same Cutting Edge Medicine that the Pros Use
Avant PT is proud to incorporate Personalized Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) into our practice with the only FDA-approved BFR device on the market, the Delfi Unit. BFR allows for muscle growth, which also supplements bone density, using low load exercise with application of a surgical grade tourniquet. This non-invasive technique accelerates muscle activation, endurance, and growth while working well below your maximal muscle capacity. This allows you to progress your strength without overloading your injured tissues.
The Science of BFR
With the placement of the tourniquet, BFR reduces the blood flow to and from your arm or leg. This tricks your brain into thinking you are working out very hard. In reality, with BFR on we will have you working out at about 30% of your capacity. Sneaky!! As a response, your body releases Growth Hormone and lactic acid, both supportive of muscle hypertrophy.
An example of BFR in use
You come to PT with a diagnosis of a hamstring strain. You haven’t been able to do your favorite bridging exercises due to pain and every stretch on your hamstring makes you wince. After determining this is an appropriate intervention for you including clearing you for any contraindications to this care (see below), we will place the surgical grade tourniquet on your affected leg and inflate it. This feels a lot like getting your blood pressure taken. Because we are using the Delfi unit, this pressure is then precisely tracked throughout this intervention. Your PT will give you a series of exercises to do with the tourniquet on, which will allow us to add a gradual load to your hamstring without overstressing this injured tissue. Most people who use BFR feel a burning sensation that would be similar to what you would feel weightlifting once you hit fatigue. The outcome of all of this is rapid muscle growth and enhanced speed of recovery.
Some other options for BFR use:
- Hamstring/Quad Strains
- Runner’s Knee (Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome)
- Knee Arthroscopy (including ACL reconstruction, meniscal procedures, etc)
- Arthritis of the Knee
- Ankle Sprains/Ankle Instability
- Achilles Tendinitis/Tendonosis
- Tennis/Golfer’s Elbow
- Wrist Instability
- Wrist Fracture
- Rotator cuff rehabilitation
- Shoulder impingement syndrome secondary to selective weakness
If you follow any of your favorite athletes on social media, you will have likely seen them working out with BFR. Why? This low load training allows for strengthening without the demands for recovery time that may be created by high load weight training. While the reality is that our body needs both options for optimizing performance, BFR is an excellent choice to supplement training.
Contraindications to BFR:
- Blood clots
- Impaired circulation or peripheral vascular compromise
- Previous revascularization of the extremity
- Extremities with dialysis access
- Extremity infection
- Medications and supplements known to increase clotting risk
- Open fracture
- Increased intracranial pressure
- Open soft tissue injuries
- Severe crushing injuries
- Severe hypertension
- Elbow surgery (where there is concomitant excess swelling)
- Vascular grafting
If you are experiencing any of the following, come see us at Avant PT to see how BFR can help you reach your goals!
To learn more about how Avant Physical can help you meet your goals, schedule an appointment now! Contact us at 206-686-4073 or request an appointment online today.