Back in the Spotlight with Help from Advanced PT

My Mom and I didn’t think I’d dance again. But coming here and using BFR, now I’m back and better than ever!

– Addie Latimer, 12-Year-Old Advanced Patient

12-year-old Addison Latimer, or Addie as she’s called, bounces into Advanced PT, fresh from school. She hops on an exercise bike and begins to pedal. You’d never know, just 2 months earlier, a major injury left her unable to walk without crutches. Richelle, Addie’s Mom, shares what happened during what she describes as a goof-off night at dance class: “She did a kick and hyper-extended her left knee. Her kneecap popped out and popped right back in.” But the action shaved off a piece of cartilage, leaving her unable to bend her knee. On December 30th, Addie had surgery. The surgeon had hoped to put the cartilage back in place, but it just wasn’t possible. She’d be placed on a waiting list for donor cartilage and another repair surgery down the road.

Reality began to set in. Addie could barely walk, and she certainly couldn’t do one of her most favorite things in the world: DANCE! The orthopedic surgeon recommended physical therapy to help strengthen Addie’s leg and get her walking again. The Latimers didn’t know what to expect, but they had hope after hearing a friend had gotten back to dance after PT. Addie took the challenge head-on, knowing a physical therapist had the expertise to help her reach her long-term goal: to dance again.

Richelle recalls the first visits were rough, saying “the muscle loss was shocking. She couldn’t lift her leg.” Addie started with traditional therapy techniques. Then, moved on to Blood Flow Restriction Training or BFR. BFR is a rehabilitation process of performing exercises while reducing the blood supply to certain muscles using a cuff, similar to a blood pressure cuff. It rebuilds muscle and restores strength quicker. It’s a technique perfect for post-surgical patients. Richelle read about BFR, checked with her doctor, and decided it would be a good thing for Addie to try.

The BFR cuff on Addie’s right leg helps to rebuild muscle and strength quicker.

Addie would put a BFR cuff around her leg for the first time on a Friday afternoon. She was a little hesitant, saying “it hurt a little bit and then I got used to it and it was fine.” After a tiring session, Addie and her mom went home. Saturday morning, Richelle caught some movement out of the corner of her eye. It was Addie. After one BFR session, Addie had ditched the crutches and was walking across the family room. Richelle couldn’t believe it!

After several more weeks of therapy, fast forward to February 8th. That day, a little over 5 weeks post-surgery, Addie danced in a competition! Addie continues to improve and dance every day, and with a smile says, “I was happy to do PT. They know what they’re doing. It’s not just for old people. It really does help you. It’s cool to come and get better so quickly.”

Advanced Physical Therapy Center | AdvancedPhysicalTherapy.com | (810)695-8700

Angels at Advanced PT

Andrew Moore’s Success Story at Advanced Physical Therapy Center – Clio

To me they’re like angels! Sue sees things differently. She wants me to do things the right way. She doesn’t skimp. Patty wants precision each time…she always encourages me. You get beat down so much, you want to give up. But Patty builds you up, keeps you going.

Andrew Moore, Clio Patient

Andrew Moore sings the praises of Sue Hall, PT and Patty Rumbold, PTA. Their support and the results he sees, keep him coming back to Advanced Physical Therapy Center – Clio.

Andrew first walked through the doors of Advanced PT – Clio after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. His muscles weren’t working properly, and his body was becoming stiff. An innovative program called LSVT-BIG, can work wonders for people facing this long-term battle.  And, it worked wonders for Andrew. The program helps to increase strength, motor learning, and changes in brain function in people with Parkinson’s and other neurological conditions. Each treatment focuses on the production of large amplitude, whole body functional movements. Sue took a video of Andrew on his first day of this therapy and one on his last. Andrew was shocked at the difference in his movements and stability, saying, “I looked like a completely different person.”  

Andrew still does his LSVT-BIG exercises to this day. But in the meantime, another health struggle brought Andrew back to Advanced PT for a second round of care. In the fall of 2019, Andrew had a mild heart attack. While still recovering from that, less than three weeks later, Andrew landed in the hospital again with a bleeding ulcer. September and October were tough on Andrew. He lost weight and strength. His doctor recommended physical therapy to build up his body and help him recover. Andrew knew right where to go.

“This is the place I wanted to come to,” said Andrew, about Advanced PT – Clio. He knew Sue and Patty would welcome him like family. Andrew had experienced therapy at another clinic, but says the warmth wasn’t there. He went on, “they treat me like a unique individual. They open up to me, and I open up to them.” It’s a close relationship that produces results. “My wife had to help me get into bed and roll me over. Now, I can roll over by myself. My wife doesn’t need to help me anymore. Now, I can lift and carry things again. I put my own clothes on. I still drive. I go grocery shopping.”

Andrew plans to keep up with the exercises he’s learned with Sue and Patty by joining Advanced PT’s StepDown program. It’s an option for patients to continue their regimen on their own, using Advanced PT’s equipment and gym space, for a low monthly fee.

When asked for a final thought, Andrew said, “I wish I would have found Advanced PT sooner.”

Advanced Physical Therapy Center – Clio | 303 S. Mill Street | (810)687-8700

Blood Flow Restriction Training with Justin Brown PT, DPT, ATC

Q and A with Justin: Understanding what BFR Can Do For You

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Justin, what is Blood Flow Restriction Training?

(JUSTIN) Blood Flow Restriction Training, what we generally refer to as BFR for short, is brief or intermittent occlusion or restriction of arterial and venous blood flow that is performed by applying a tourniquet to the upper or lower extremity. BFR has been found to augment the skeletal muscle adaption along with systemic whole-body changes and cardiovascular benefits while at rest, with low intensity endurance exercises or low load-resistance training. It’s been found to be safe when applied with cuffs of appropriate width along with personalized limb occlusion pressure obtained with a handheld doppler. 

OK, that’s a lot of words. Can you simplify it a bit for us? 

(JUSTIN) Basically, it’s performing exercises while reducing the blood supply to certain muscles. That causes your body to go into an oxygen depleted, anaerobic state. And, once in that state, your body responds in a specific way, resulting in a specific training adaptation. Certain hormones are released that cause your body to respond like your exercising with heavy weights, instead of the low intensity weights or the low load resistance exercises you are actually using and doing. (Low intensity weights or low load resistance exercises are required for people who have been injured or who have certain weaknesses.) That means rebuilding muscle mass and strength quicker, like you would with heavy weights. 

 How do you restrict the blood flow?

 (JUSTIN) We use blood flow cuffs. They are similar to a blood pressure cuff and some people actually use blood pressure cuffs for BFR. Our blood flow cuffs are considered medical tourniquets and are considered actual medical devices.

 Who will benefit from BFR?

 (JUSTIN) We can use BFR for any and all diagnoses of weakness or cardiovascular based endurance issues. So, BFR will improve your strength and muscular endurance. It can also improve cardiovascular endurance if we are doing specific endurance-based exercises.

 Would the average person come to you or would someone who had knee surgery get a prescription or is an elite athlete going to be your typical patient?

 (JUSTIN) All three! We use it with our higher-level athletes, especially post-surgery, because they can’t lift heavy weights like they typically would, and they need to get to a higher strength aspect quicker. So, BFR allows us to trick the body into believing it’s lifting heavy weights without actually lifting heavy weights.

 What kind of results would someone expect to see with BFR compared to traditional treatment or therapy?

 (JUSTIN) After surgery, muscles shrink. BFR will bring that muscle back to where it was pre-surgery much quicker than traditional therapy. You’ll gain a lot of strength much quicker with BFR than that traditional way. The best way to gain strength is to lift heavy. Most of our patients can’t lift heavy, so this is the next best thing compared to lifting heavy.

 Are there people who shouldn’t try BFR?

 (JUSTIN) As long as a person has clearance from their physician to exercise, then they can do BFR. (Ask your physician before seeing a BFR specialist to ensure this treatment is right for you and please consult a BFR specialist, before trying BFR training.)

 Why should someone only attempt BFR under the supervision of someone expertly trained in BFR?

 (JUSTIN) It’s important to use the right equipment (blood flow cuffs and handheld doppler) and to know your personal occlusion pressure. Once you are trained with the equipment and understand your individual pressure goals, it’s safe to do it yourself, but only with the right equipment.   

 What can a person do, if they hear about BFR and want to try it, but because it’s relatively new, their own doctor doesn’t know about it?

 (JUSTIN) They can have their BFR-trained therapist get in touch with their physician to discuss the option. (There are over 700 research articles supporting BFR.)  

 Do you have a story of someone who was successful with BFR?

 (JUSTIN) Yes! A patient had trouble with her quad muscle on the inside of her leg. We were going through traditional therapy but didn’t see huge changes. Once we began using the cuffs, we could see a significant improvement compared to what she had been doing. She had no pain and regained muscle mass on her quad. It was noticeable. Both sides were back to a similar size.  

Justin Brown PT, DPT, ATC | Advanced PT – Clio | (810)687-8700 | JBrown@advpt.com