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Ian Robertson, Marina Lazarides, and Cody R. Butler

Clinical Scenario: Blood flow restriction (BFR) therapy has emerged as a viable treatment option to enhance clinical recovery in patients with primarily muscular injuries. However, BFR therapy has been rarely investigated in patients with osseous injuries to include extremity fracture. Focused Clinical Question: Does BFR-enhanced therapy improve clinical outcomes in patients during the acute to subacute rehabilitation period after extremity fracture? Summary of Key Findings: (1) In cases of 2 high-performing athletes with talus and osteochondral fracture of the knee, BFR was well tolerated and an effective rehabilitation regimen. (2) In 2 randomized controlled trials evaluating BFR use in patients after operative and nonoperative management of distal radius fractures, pain with activity and self-perceived function were improved in BFR-enhanced therapy as compared with a standard rehabilitation regimen. (3) Objective clinical outcomes including radiographic healing, extremity range of motion, and grip strength evaluated by the randomized controlled trials did not differ significantly between the BFR-enhanced and standard rehabilitation groups. Clinical Bottom Line: BFR-enhanced therapy may improve pain and self-perceived function of the injured extremity during the acute to subacute rehabilitation period after fracture. However, there is not yet a demonstrated benefit of BFR on hastening objective measures of clinical recovery. Large-scale clinical trials comparing BFR-enhanced rehabilitation with standard rehabilitation regimens are needed to better characterize BFR use in patients with osseous injuries. Strength of Recommendation: Two case reports and 2 randomized controlled trials provide level IIB evidence suggesting that BFR may improve pain in the acute rehabilitative stage and improve the patient’s perceived function of the injured extremity, without greater improvement in objectively measured clinical parameters as compared with a standard rehabilitation regimen.

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Cody R. Butler, Kirsten Allen, Lindsay J. DiStefano, and Lindsey K. Lepley

Clinical Scenario: Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear is a devastating knee injury with negative long-term consequences, such as early-onset knee osteoarthritis, biomechanical compensations, and reduced physical activity. Significant reduction in physical activity is a powerful indicator of cardiovascular (CV) disease; therefore, those with a history of ACL injury may be at increased risk for CV disease compared with noninjured individuals. Focused Clinical Question: Do individuals with a history of ACL injury demonstrate negative CV changes compared with those without a history of ACL injury? Summary of Key Findings: Three articles met the inclusion criteria and investigated CV changes after ACL injury. Both cross-sectional studies compared participants with ACL injury with matched controls. Bell et al compared time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity and step count, whereas Almeida et al compared maximum rate of oxygen consumption, ventilatory thresholds, isokinetic quadriceps strength, and body composition. Collectively, both quantitative studies found that individuals with a history of ACL injury had less efficient CV systems compared with matched controls and/or preoperative data. Finally, a qualitative study of 3506 retired National Football League athletes showed an increased rate of arthritis and knee replacement surgery after an ACL injury when compared with other retired National Football League members, in addition to a >50% increased rate of myocardial infarction. Clinical Bottom Line: A history of ACL injury is a source of impaired physical activity. Preliminary data indicate that these physical activity limitations negatively impair the CV system, and individuals with a history of ACL injury demonstrate lower maximum oxygen consumption, self-reported disability, and daily step count compared with noninjured peers. These complications support the need for greater emphasis on CV wellness. Strength of Recommendation: Consistent findings from 2 cross-sectional studies and 1 survey study suggest level IIB evidence to support that ACL injury is associated with negative CV health.