AlterG - The Anti Gravity Treadmill
The AlterG uses Differential Air Pressure technology to gently unweight the body. It can be set so you exert 100% of your body weight onto the treadmill to as low as 20% of your bodyweight. Reducing the full force of gravity on the lower extremities opens the door to rehab and exercise that might not be possible otherwise. Removing gravity often reduces pain and allows for a normal walking pattern. Many people use the water to unweight their bodies to allow for pain free exercise which is a great option, but water creates drag. If your goal is to run again or even take walks, the AlterG allows your body to maintain real joint mechanics and similar range of motion that will transfer easily to full bodyweight walking or running.
There are many lower body surgeries that require a gradual return to full weight bearing on the affected leg. One example would be a meniscus repair in the knee. Depending on the particular surgery, a patient could be required to use crutches for up to 6 weeks, with a protocol the dictates how much weight can be applied though the surgical leg. Once the patient is set up on the AlterG treadmill, the settings can be adjusted so they can walk without an assistive device because gravity has been reduced to the protocol recommended percentage of weight bearing.
Achilles reconstruction is another great example of a post op rehab that can greatly benefit from the AlterG treadmill. As with a meniscus repair, bodyweight can be reduced to the protocol phase in which the patient is currently. The patient can then be educated on how to walk with normal gait mechanics without having to worry about breaking the “protocol rules.” They could also use this gravity reduced environment to perform static exercises like heel raises.
Stroke, traumatic brain injury, and neurological disease like Parkinson’s can be very complex to treat. The muscle weakness that presents with these conditions can often makes ones own body weight just too much to bear and they are unable to walk normally. The AlterG treadmill basically makes you weigh less while you are inside. Maybe 150 pounds is too much for a patient’s weak muscles to support, but perhaps 100 pounds is feasible? If able to walk in this gravity reduced environment, strength and neurological training can occur in a functional format. The ability to walk is often taken for granted until injuries or diseases like this take it away.
Hip and knee arthritis are extremely common ailments that prevent people from being able to walk as they desire. Pool exercise and biking can be good options, but to be able to walk upright, a functional movement, is quite valuable. The AlterG gravity reduction system unloads painful arthritic joints to allow those with arthritis to walk more and get their heart rate up. This movement can help to lubricate stiff joints, increase blood flow, and strengthen the muscles around the joints.
Cardiac patients can also benefit from the AlterG treadmill. Studies have shown that patients can walk in this gravity reduced environment to improve cardiovascular health while not raising their blood pressure. Exercise for this population is very important but safety comes first.
The are many potential benefits of the AlterG Anti Gravity Treadmill. We have this exciting machine available to all patients here at Performance Rehab Associates. If you are working through any of the conditions mentioned above, please contact us for more information so we can help you on the path to your best self!