KAATSU Specialist Series: Pre- And Post-ACL Surgery Protocols

KAATSU Specialist Series: Pre- And Post-ACL Surgery Protocols

For who? Baby Boomers, competitive athletes
For what? Strength, stamina, functional movement, rehabilitation, recovery, ACL surgery

Before and after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery, KAATSU the original BFR can be effectively and efficiently used by patients of all ages and abilities.

KAATSU enables prehab before the ACL surgery and rehab immediately afterwards the ACL surgery in order to help improve blood circulation, prevent blood clots from forming in your legs, and to prevent muscle atrophy.

KAATSU Specialists can use the following protocols to incorporate KAATSU into pre-ACL and post-ACL surgery rehabilitation.

With the approval of your physician and therapist, patients can begin KAATSU as soon as surgery is scheduled and return to KAATSU soon (72 hours) after the ACL surgery is completed if there are no complications. The patient can also do KAATSU Cycles on their other uninjured limbs (i.e., healthy leg and both arms) throughout the prehab and rehabilitation period.

The standard protocol includes the following:

KAATSU Equipment

  • Use either the KAATSU Master 2.0 or the KAATSU Cycle 2.0 (or the KAATSU B1 or KAATSU C3 or KAATSU AI) together with the KAATSU Air Bands.
  • The KAATSU Air Bands may look like a tourniquet or blood pressure cuff, but they are specifically designed and manufactured to allow arterial flow to continue and only moderate the venous flow.
  • Because KAATSU has systemic effects, it is recommended to do KAATSU both on the arms first and then the legs no matter when the injury or surgery is located.

Important Points

  • Be well-hydrated before and during KAATSU.
  • Always follow KAATSU protocols (i.e., always have Capillary Refill Time within 3 seconds with no occlusion).
  • You should experience no lightheadedness, or no numbness or whiteness in your limbs. If you do, immediately take off the KAATSU Air Bands.
  • Always do KAATSU Cycles on first on both your arms and then your legs.
  • Proceed with KAATSU 3-point Exercises (first on your arms and then on your legs) and do KAATSU Cycles while doing traditional physical rehabilitation exercises, if allowed by your physical therapist.
  • KAATSU Cycles can be done daily, even 2-3 sessions per day during prehab and rehabilitation or recovery from the ACL surgery.
  • Even if you do not “feel” anything, always begin with the low SKU pressures on the KAATSU Cycle 2.0 (i.e., Group LOW) or KAATSU Master 2.0 (i.e., Level 1). You do not have to feel anything if you can see the tone of your arms or legs becoming pinker or redder. You want the blood to start being engorged in your limbs. You do not have to generate significant amounts of lactate.
  • After doing a few low-pressure KAATSU Cycles, you can begin to increase the SKU pressure on the KAATSU Cycle 2.0 (i.e., from Group LOW to Group MEDIUM and GROUP HIGH) or KAATSU Master 2.0 (i.e., from Level 1 to Level 2, 3, 4 and 5).
  • Never experience pain in the joint, tendon, bone or injured areas while doing KAATSU Cycles. If so, remove or reposition the KAATSU Air Bands.
  • Always use the correct form in any movements.
  • Rest between sets and between exercises should be less than 30 seconds.
  • Always breathe normally throughout the KAATSU Cycle.
  • You can do KAATSU Cycle daily, but limit your KAATSU sessions to 15 minutes on your arms and 20 minutes on your legs during each session.
  • The KAATSU Cycle (i.e., 30 seconds of pressure on + 5 seconds of pressure off) will help prepare (“warm-up”) your muscles, veins and capillaries before you do anything more strenuous in your physical therapy session.
  • In order to avoid atrophy especially in your legs, you can regularly do the KAATSU 3-Point Exercises on your legs (see below). Nothing has to be performed quickly; slow and steady in the KAATSU Cycle mode is more effective.

KAATSU Cycle Movements

  • With the KAATSU Cycle 2.0 or KAATSU Master 2.0, select an appropriate SKU pressure level and do 3 sets each of the following depending on how the you feel and your range of mobility:
    • Toe Curls or Toe Raises
    • Heel Raises or Ankle Rotations
    • Repeated Sitting Quadricep Contractions (i.e., tighten and relax, tighten and relax)
    • Stretching (as you can)
    • Stationary Spinning (as you can)
    •  Standing and Walking (as you can)
  • You can do the same KAATSU 3-Point Exercises on your healthy leg and the following KAATSU 3-Point Exercises for your arms, performed slowly while contracting your muscles:
    • Hand Clenches
    • Biceps Curls
    • Triceps Extensions
    • Stretching
  • As you become more mobile, simple walking (especially in the sand at the beach or on a soft yoga mat) with the KAATSU Air Bands on is beneficial. You can even do this at your home or office as you walk back and forth in your room as you get stronger. If you regularly do these exercises, you should not see any muscle atrophy.
  • Your skin should turn pink or reddish as your limb should experience an engorgement of pool in the limbs.

This information on KAATSU, the Original BFR, is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or therapist.