Avera Medical Minute AQoP: Blood flow restriction therapy helps improve teenager’s quality of life

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17-year-old Cailey Scott looks like your typical teenager. She’s an athlete and enjoys spending time with family. But for years, she endured excruciating pain.

“Growing up, my leg was always rotated in. So my foot was pointed inwards. It was rotational bone deformity that they’ve had to fix with an osteotomy. So basically they took my femur, cut it, broke it and rotated it, and then put rods and pins through it and they did the same to my tibia,” said Scott.

Shortly after Scott had her pins and rods removed, she started blood flow restriction Therapy at Avera Therapy in Mitchell.

“When I first come in, they put this giant cuff on my leg, which is kind of like a blood pressure cuff, and then they set it, and it feels like a blood pressure cuff and they measure how much it takes to completely cut off blood supply to my leg. And then they take 80% of that pressure and I do exercises with it,” said Scott.

“Typically you need at least 65% of your one-rep max to see hypertrophy and strength gain where the muscle actually gets bigger and stronger,” said Ben Nebelsick, physical therapist at Avera Therapy in Mitchell.

As Nebelsick explains, the goal of blood flow restriction therapy is to enable patients to make greater strength gains whiling lifting lighter loads. This reduces overall stress on the limb.

“But with this system, we’re able to use 20 to 30% of a patient’s one-rep max and see very similar strength gains and gains in muscle mass. So it’s a lot safer for patients, especially those patients who aren’t able to tolerate heavy loads at that juncture of their therapy program,” said Nebelsick.

“There’s a lot of fatigue, which it’s tired, but then afterwards it’s not nearly as sore as without it,” said Scott.

“The blood pressure cuff stays inflated throughout the whole entire exercise and that’s to kind of trap in that lactic acid,” said Nebelsick.

“So then with blood restriction, I found that I was gaining back my strength a lot quicker than after my first surgery,” said Scott.

With just two months of blood flow restriction therapy, Scott has made leaps and bounds in her progress and quality of life.

“The change is insane. It’s crazy to see how much better I’ve been walking. Even walking upstairs and downstairs at school or just running around the house with my sister, it feels so much better,” said Scott.

Nebelsick says blood flow restriction therapy works on a variety of patients including those who’ve had total knee replacements, tendinitis and torn rotator cuffs.

For more information just call 877-AT-AVERA.