BFR For Adolescents!?

October 4, 2022 0 By fitcuffs

In a newly published pilot study, the authors explored the safety and tolerance of Blood Flow Restriction Training (BFR) post- Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction (ACLR) in teenagers.


The effectiveness and safety of BFR have been well studied in adult subjects, however, there is limited data concerning adolescents. It was hypothesized that adverse events and patient tolerance will be consistent with previously pub­lished literature. So, the present study explored if any side effects occurred and reported patient tolerance to BFR Training post ACLR.

Material & Methods

Study design: Prospective Cohort Study.

Participants: 29 Patients between 12 and 18 years of age who underwent ACLR.

Post-ACLR Rehab Protocol: All patients initiated formal physical therapy within one week of surgery and followed a standardized BFR protocol over the 12-week early rehabilitation phases starting as early as 8.72 (±3.32) days post-op.

30x15x15x15 reps with 30 s. inter-set rest, 3/weekly. Patients had 8 min. to complete the target of 75 repetitions for 3 different exercises.

Limb Occlusion Pressure (LOP) was measured for each limb individ­ually at the beginning of every train­ing session, using continuous BFR at 80% LOP. Thus, allowed to request a reduction of LOP during exercise based on their tolerance.

Progression & Tolerance: Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) of 1RM was estimated using the modified OMNI-RES scale and the initial load was 20-30% 1RM.

Upon completion of exercises, patients reported side effects and potential adverse events were logged for calculation of frequencies of those during the 12-week intervention


535 total BFR sessions were completed. There were 0 reports of subcutaneous hemorrhage, fainting, or deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Reporting of minor side effects included itchiness (7.85%), lower extremity paresthesia (2.81%), and dizziness (0.75%).


As expected, this preliminary data suggests that Occlusion Training is safe with only minor side effects in the adolescent population after ACLR and no major side effects were reported. Thus, further data is needed for a definitive deter­mination of the safety profile in this population.

Primary Source: Prue et al. (2022) Side Effects and Patient Tolerance with the Use of Blood Flow Restriction Training after ACL Reconstruction in Adolescents: A Pilot Study.
DOI: 10.26603/001c.32479