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Plantar Fasciitis and Blood Flow Restriction Therapy

Plantar Fasciitis and Blood Flow Restriction Therapy

Plantar fasciitis is a condition characterized by inflammation in the heel area, causing pain on both the inside and bottom parts of the foot. This condition can occur gradually due to prolonged stress on the foot or suddenly through excessive use.

Blood flow restriction therapy (BFRT) is gaining recognition as a highly effective method for alleviating symptoms and expediting recovery from injuries and medical conditions. Additionally, BFRT has shown promising outcomes post-surgery. By strategically limiting blood flow during exercise or rehabilitation sessions, BFRT can optimize healing and enhance the body’s natural recovery process. This groundbreaking therapy holds immense potential for improving patient outcomes across various medical domains.

What Is BFRT?

At our clinic, we often encounter plantar fasciitis, a common cause of heel pain. This condition affects individuals of all ages, but it is more commonly seen in people over the age of 60.

Most of our patients develop this condition due to tight calf muscles that pull harder on the heel bone at Achilles tendon, or due to increased body weight due to sedentary lifestyles or attempts at weight loss.

BFRT is a safe, effective training technique designed to reduce plantar fasciitis pain by encouraging muscle development without risking further injury.

Inflation therapy utilizes an inflatable pneumatic cuff inflated to a specific pressure in order to limit venous blood flow from returning back from limbs back towards the heart while patients do low intensity exercises.

BFRT Techniques

BFRT is an effective way of hastening recovery and strengthening in various circumstances, such as following surgery or after an injury has taken place. It can safely accelerate muscle growth for those recovering from either of these situations.

Physical therapists use pressure tourniquets in this therapy to partially restrict venous blood flow to targeted muscles, producing an effect comparable to heavy weight training. This results in systemic responses similar to when lifting heavy loads.

Studies have demonstrated the efficacy of BFRT in relieving postoperative pain and increasing strength levels among patients, as well as in preventing muscle atrophy post surgical repair.

BFRT can be used on most areas of the body and thus benefit patients of all ages and abilities. However, for maximum effectiveness it should only be performed under supervision by a licensed physical therapist in accordance with their treatment plan.

BFRT Benefits

Blood Flow Restriction Therapy (BFRT) is an efficient and safe method to restore muscle strength after surgery or injury, from pediatric patients all the way through geriatric care. BFRT may help patients at various ages and stages of recovery recover more effectively and is appropriate for use across age ranges – from pediatricians to geriatricians.

BFRT employs a pressure tourniquet that restricts only venous blood flow but not arterial inflow to an extremity, simulating high intensity exercise by producing physiological changes similar to those caused by high intensity workouts. This technique enables physical therapists to deliver heavy weight training without risk of damaging fragile tissues.

Training has been shown to release growth hormone and insulin growth factor, leading to muscle hypertrophy. Furthermore, this approach is proven to aid recovery after shoulder, hip or knee injuries or surgeries.

BFRT Side Effects

BFRT is a safe and effective physical therapy intervention used by rehabilitation professionals, personal trainers and strength coaches worldwide to accelerate healing faster than with traditional exercise programs and to help their clients regain muscle size more quickly. Its application in outpatient therapy settings enables patients to regain muscle size more rapidly.

BFRT uses a pneumatic tourniquet placed around the most proximal region of the upper or lower extremity to restrict arterial blood flow while impeding venous return, creating an anaerobic state within muscle cells which leads to increased muscular hypertrophy and an increase in metabolites.

Though LL-BFRT has demonstrated positive adaptations in healthy tendons, evidence supporting its positive benefits in tendinopathy remains limited at present. Further studies are necessary to substantiate these favorable adaptations and enhance clinical outcomes associated with tendinopathy.


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