The Effect of Blood Flow Restriction Therapy on Recovery after Experimentally Induced Muscle Weakness and Pain

Vickie Wong, Scott J. Dankel, Robert W. Spitz, Zachary W. Bell, Ricardo B. Viana, Raksha N. Chatakondi, Takashi Abe, Jeremy P. Loenneke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The purpose was to determine if blood flow restriction with no external load could be used as a means of active therapy after experimentally induced fatigue and soreness. Twelve women and 7 men (aged 18-35 years) participated in a randomized controlled trial using a within-subject design. The study intervention was 3 consecutive visits. Visit 1 included the fatiguing/soreness-inducing protocol for the elbow flexors, which was performed only once during the study. Torque was measured before/after to confirm individuals began in a weakened state. Subjects then completed blood flow restriction therapy on one arm and the sham therapy on the other. Subjects performed elbow flexion/contraction with no external load on both arms. Torque was measured once more 10 minutes after the fatiguing/soreness-inducing protocol. Twenty-four hours later, soreness and torque were assessed in each arm, followed by another bout of therapy. Forty-eight hours after the initial visit, soreness and torque were measured again. There were no differences (median difference [95% credible interval]) in the recovery of torque between the blood flow restriction and sham therapy conditions at 10 minutes (0.5 [-2.7, 3.8] N·m), 24 hours (-2.34 [-6, 1.14] N·m), or 48 hours (-1.94 [-5.45, 1.33] N·m). There were also no differences in ratings of soreness at 24 hours (-2.48 [-10.05, 5.05]) or 48 hours (2.58 [-4.96, 10.09]). Our results indicate that this specific model of blood flow restriction therapy did not enhance the recovery of the muscle compared with a sham condition without the application of pressure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1147-1152
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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