Clinical Trials in Sports Medicine - Blood Flow Restriction Training after Meniscus Repair Surgery

Our clinical research

The UCSF Sports Medicine team is conducting a clinical trial on blood flow restriction training.

What is a meniscus tear?

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What is the difference between a meniscectomy and meniscus repair?

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What changes in my thigh muscles can I expect after injury or surgery?

If you have an injury or surgery that limits your ability to put weight on your leg or limits your motion, you can develop atrophy of the muscles in your leg from less use.

What is blood flow restriction training?

Blood flow restriction (BFR) training is a relatively new therapeutic strategy that involves wearing a tourniquet/blood pressure cuff while performing exercises. The cuff is inflated to a pressure that partially occludes blood flow into the extremity. It is thought that the diminished blood flow increases local factors and stimulates growth hormones throughout the body to help stimulate muscle growth or hypertrophy.

Prior studies show that BFR may demonstrate similar muscular hypertrophy gains with lower loads/intensity as higher intensity training.

Why are we studying blood flow restriction training in patients undergoing meniscus repair?

Those undergoing meniscus repair surgery often see significant atrophy in their muscles as they are typically restricted in both range of motion and weightbearing. If we can limit the amount of atrophy in the early post-operative period by using BFR training, we may be able to help our patients return to their prior functional status and their sporting activities sooner.

Study summary

The purpose of this randomized controlled clinical trial is to evaluate whether blood flow restriction training applied to your surgical leg during your post-operative rehabilitation protocols may improve your outcomes. We want to know how this rehabilitation will change your strength, muscle size, function, and perceived outcomes. In this study, you will be randomized to a group with either standard physical therapy with a blood pressure cuff that does not occlude any significant amount of blood flow or physical therapy with the restriction device doing the same exercises.

After surgery, you will have regular physical therapy sessions at UCSF to help you recover strength and motion. We will take frequent measurements of your thigh muscles and perform various strength and functional tests, in addition to surveys, to assess study results.

The UCSF Sports Medicine team of physicians, surgeons, and physical therapists are all working on this study. The study is under the direction of Sachin Allahabadi, MD, Ivan Arriaga-Martinez, DPT, Brian Feeley, MD, and Drew Lansdown, MD.

How do I find out more about the study?

If you are interested in participating in this study, learning more about it, or have questions about this study, please contact the study coordinator at the UCSF Orthopaedic Institute at 415-514-6120. Participating in research is voluntary. It won’t affect your treatment at UCSF if you decide not to call about the study or decide not to participate.

The study has been registered as a clinical trial at


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