The AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill sounds like some contraption out of a sci-fi movie, but it’s happening here and now at Vernon’s Concept Physiotherapy.
The treadmill represents the latest innovation in rehabilitation and therapy equipment.
Dawn Collins, physiotherapist and owner of Concept, said the AlterG will be useful for two groups of clients – those who want to keep training as they recover from surgery or injury, and those who are preparing to undergo surgery.
“Some athletes don’t want to stop training, whether it’s post-surgery, post-stress fracture or Achilles tendonitis,” said Collins.
“They can keep training but we can reduce the stress through the tissue or joint, whatever their injury happens to be.
“Pain is not a motivator. When people are in pain and they try to do something and it hurts, it’s hard to get them to exercise.”
The AlterG treadmill applies a uniform lifting force to a client’s body, offering precise body weight reduction while they workout.
And because it uses air pressure as the lifting force, it allows for normal running and walking, with full range of motion.
The AlterG is capable of reducing a client’s body weight in one per cent increments to as low as 20 per cent of the patient’s body weight.
Collins said the treadmill will also be beneficial for clients who want to keep their physical health up as they prepare for surgery.
As an example, she used someone who has to wait more than a year to receive a hip or knee replacement.
“They’re sitting around becoming more deconditioned because it’s too painful for them to walk and they’re getting less in shape and more overweight,” said Collins.
“They can use it (treadmill) almost as a pre-surgical protocol. It’ll get them into surgery more fit with less weight on so they are going to rehab better after.”
Collins has one client who, 10 weeks after an ACL reconstruction, was running at 30 per cent of his weight.
“He felt fantastic on it and felt motivated to start his conditioning,” she said.
Another of Collins’ clients is overweight and wants to get into shape, but couldn’t because he finds walking too painful on his knees and ankle. He is now working out with 30 per cent of his body weight unloaded on the AlterG.
“He’s walking and starting to work up a sweat and not having any pain,” said Collins, who uses the machine to take the stress off her own knees.
“I run at 65 per cent of my body weight, but my speed goes up so I’m getting my five kilometres in faster and getting a good cardio workout.”
There are currently 21 NBA teams, 13 NFL teams and six MLB teams that use the AlterG.