Blood flow restriction therapy is used to help patients gain strength in injured or weak muscles while reducing the stress placed on the recovering limb.

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By applying external pressure to an arm or a leg using a specialized cuff, our physical therapists can help patients recover from surgery or injury, regaining strength more quickly and with less work.

As the only place in mid-Missouri to offer blood flow restriction therapy, University of Missouri Health Care’s Mizzou Therapy Services is on the forefront of using advanced technology to help patients get better faster.

What is blood flow restriction therapy?

Blood flow restriction therapy has been used by professional sports teams and the military for some time to help athletes and soldiers heal from injuries more quickly. Now it is available to MU Health Care patients.

When using this treatment, our physical therapists use a surgical grade tourniquet to apply a precise amount of pressure to the patient’s arm or leg while exercising the muscle. The goal is to maintain blood flow into the muscle while preventing outflow, thus maximizing strength gains while minimizing stress on muscles and joints.

At MU Health Care, our physical therapists use the Delfi Personalized Tourniquet System to deliver just the right amount of pressure to achieve the desired results.

When is blood flow restriction therapy used?

Blood flow restriction therapy is most often used to help patients recover from sports injuries, joint pain or surgery. However, it has other uses, too.

Blood flow restriction training can be used for general strengthening, especially in certain populations such as the elderly. This can deliver bigger gains than exercise alone.

It can also help prevent atrophy, and it helps maintain heart health when patients cannot exercise, such as when in a walking boot and prohibited from doing weight-bearing exercise.

Patients who undergo joint replacement or knee, foot, ankle or shoulder surgery often experience faster recovery with blood flow restriction therapy. Our physical therapists also use blood flow restriction therapy to, among other things, help treat knee pain, tendinopathies, fractures and osteoporosis.

Does blood flow restriction therapy cost more than other physical therapy?

No. A visit for blood flow restriction therapy costs the same as any other physical therapy visit. Most insurances companies cover blood flow restriction therapy as part of regular physical therapy benefits.

Is blood flow restriction therapy safe?

Yes. Blood flow restriction therapy can be a safe and effective way to increase muscle strength and size. As with any new exercise, check with your doctor to see if it is appropriate in your situation.

What ages can benefit from blood flow restriction therapy?

Blood flow restriction therapy is safe for all ages.