Blood Flow Restriction Training and Physical Therapy

January 21, 2015: Improving strength is a typical component of physical rehabilitation after injury. But often standing in the way of all the muscle building necessary to recover from an injury is the injury itself.

While working at Brooke Army Medical Center, physical therapist Johnny Owens, MPT, saw wounded warriors who needed to improve strength in injured limbs without further compromising vulnerable joints or soft tissue. So he and his colleagues began experimenting with a relatively new treatment method that’s gaining in popularity: blood flow restriction training, or BFR.

The technique, which involves applying a tourniquet to an injured limb to partially restrict blood flow, allows patients to make greater strength gains while lifting lighter loads, thereby reducing the overall stress placed on the limb.

In this episode of Move Forward Radio, Johnny Owens, MPT, describes how blood flow restriction training works, shares his vision for the potential of the technique within health care, and discusses where research is ongoing.

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