Health Matters: Blood flow restriction therapy

03 December 2021

A new treatment is helping an Arkansas man who broke his leg in a freak accident on the snowy mountains of Colorado.

He’s been getting blood flow restriction therapy at the UAMS Orthopedics Clinic and it’s helping him recover faster.

“I feel like I can notice progress every week, and the muscles aren’t too sore, I’m a little fatigued,” says Jake Skinner.

When he first came to the clinic, Jake could move only his right ankle. Four months later, he’s able to do squats on his own.

“It’s like when you get your blood pressure taken at the tightest point and then it just stays that way for about eight minutes,” he explains.

It works like this: Physical Therapist Nicholas Hargitt puts a cuff around Jake’s leg to restrict the blood flow. Hargitt says this helps fire up certain muscles as a way to build strength faster and easier without causing joint pain or tissue damage.

“With this, I don’t think he’d be walking today like you are without it to be totally honest,” Hargitt adds.

He says they’ve been using this kind of technology for two years and it’s personalized to each patient’s needs.

“The one we use has a doppler in it and so the doppler gives us a reading of how much pressure it takes to occlude the limb completely,” continues Hargitt.

It can change with each visit but Jake has noticed a huge difference since he first started therapy.

“You can tell I’ve worked out a little bit I guess, the next day or two, but other than that, no pain from it or anything like that,” he says.

Blood flood restriction therapy is motivating Jake forward to a full recovery this fall.