The effectiveness and safety of blood flow restriction training for the post-operation treatment of distal radius fracture

Review written by Dr Nicholas Rolnick info

Key Points

  1. Atrophy following surgery is a major problem that can impact long-term recovery.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Use of low intensity exercise with blood flow restriction (BFR) has been growing in rehabilitation because it can not only provide a similar outcome compared to high-load resistance exercise on muscle mass and strength, but also reduce post-surgical pain and swelling (1). However, post-surgical evidence on the effectiveness of low-intensity BFR is largely concentrated in the lower extremities (1-4).

The purpose of this study was to investigate whether four weeks of low-load exercise with BFR could improve muscle strength, muscle mass, pain, function, bone healing, as well as being considered “safe” compared to traditional low-load rehabilitation in a cohort of post-surgical distal radius fracture patients who underwent open reduction and internal fixation.

Use of low intensity exercise with blood flow restriction has been growing in rehabilitation because it can reduce post-surgical pain and swelling.
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This study showed that blood flow restriction is well tolerated and provides noticeable benefits in pain reduction, wrist swelling, and function compared to traditional low-intensity exercise.

METHODS

This study investigated the effects of four weeks of low-load BFR added to usual care beginning at post op day 3-7 in 35 patients following open reduction and internal fixation of the radius with (n = 17) or without (n

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