Examination of the comfort and pain experienced with blood flow restriction training during post-surgery rehabilitation of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction patients: A UK National Health Service trial

Luke Hughes*, Stephen David Patterson, F. Haddad, Benjamin Rosenblatt, C. Gissane, Daniel McCarthy, Thomas Clarke, Graham Ferris, Joanna Dawes, B. Paton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Examine the comfort and pain experienced with blow flow restriction resistance training (BFR-RT) compared to standard care heavy load resistance training (HL-RT) during anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) patient rehabilitation. Design: Randomised controlled trial. Setting: United Kingdom National Health Service. Participants: Twenty eight patients undergoing unilateral ACLR surgery with hamstring autograft were recruited. Following surgery participants were block randomised to either HL-RT at 70% repetition maximum (1RM) (n = 14) or BFR-RT (n = 14) at 30% 1RM and completed 8 weeks of twice weekly unilateral leg press training on both limbs. Main outcome measures: Perceived knee pain, muscle pain and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were assessed using Borg's (1998) RPE and pain scales during training. Knee pain was also assessed 24 h post-training. Results: There were no adverse events. Knee pain was lower with BFR-RT during (p < 0.05) and at 24 h post-training (p < 0.05) with BFR-RT for all sessions. Muscle pain was higher (p < 0.05) with BFR-RT compared to HL-RT during all sessions. RPE remained unchanged (p > 0.05) for both BFR-RT and HL-RT. Conclusion: ACLR patients experienced less knee joint pain and reported similar ratings of perceived exertion during and following leg press exercise with BFR-RT compared to traditional HL-RT. BFR-RT may be more advantageous during the early phases of post-surgery ACLR rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-98
Number of pages9
JournalPhysical Therapy in Sport
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019
Externally publishedYes

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