Anterior knee pain? Let’s try BFR!

Blood Flow Restriction (BFR)

What is Blood Flow Restriction (BFR)?

It is a special kind of tourniquet that goes around your arm or thigh that partially restricts blood flow to the limb.  This is a safe and increasingly common exercise technique used in rehabilitation and in training of professional athletes.

Why would you do this?

By decreasing the normal amount of blood flow to muscles it creates the same muscle environment that regular strength training does — but while using less weight and working at a lower intensity.  The lower weight demands can protect the joint surfaces and the tendons and ligaments from too much pressure that they may not be able to handle.  Muscle building takes place because your body has been tricked into thinking it’s working harder than it is.

What about this study?

In the Journal, “Physical Therapy in Sport,” (Vasileios Korakakis a b, Rodney Whiteley a, Giannis Giakas) this current study looked at 40 patients with a diagnosis of “anterior knee pain” which could be for any reason.  They compared before and after treatment pain levels experienced during:

1.) a single leg squat (shallow)

2.) a single leg squat (deep)

3.) during a step down from a stair.

One group of patients performed an exercise routine without BFR while another group performed the same exercises with BFR.

What did they find?

Compared to the traditional exercise group, the group using BFR showed a significant and greater reduction in pain during all three of the tests.


BFR can be an effective way to reduce pain during functional and every day activities in the knee more than traditional exercise alone.  This technique is more than likely an effective treatment for other joints and conditions in the arms and legs.

Where can I try it?

Stride Physio has been using a top of the line BFR unit on hundreds of patients.