Due to the pain caused by knee injuries, low-load resistance training with blood flow restriction (L-BFR) may be a potential adjuvant therapeutic tool in the rehabilitation of knee injuries. This review aimed to analyze the effectiveness of L-BFR training modality in knee rehabilitation.
A meta-analysis was conducted to determine the potential impact of blood flow restriction on patients with knee injuries. PubMed, EBSCO, and Web of Science databases were searched for eligible studies from January 2000 until January 2020. The mean differences of the data were analyzed using Revman 5.3 software with a 95% confidence interval.
Nine studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria. These studies involved 179 patients who received L-BFR, 96 patients who underwent high-load resistance training, and another 94 patients who underwent low-load resistance training. The analysis of pooled data showed that patients in both the L-BFR (standardized mean difference, 0.83 [0.53, 1.14], P < 0.01) and high-load resistance training (standardized mean difference, −0.09 [−0.43, 0.24], P = 0.58) groups experienced an increase in muscle strength after the training. In addition, pain score was significantly reduced in the L-BFR group compared with the other two groups (standardized mean difference, −0.61 [−1.19, −0.03], P = 0.04).
Muscle strength increased after L-BFR and high-load resistance training compared with low-load resistance training. Furthermore, pain score was significantly reduced after L-BFR. Hence, L-BFR is a potential intervention to be applied in rehabilitation of knee injuries.