New treadmill technology makes rehabilitation faster

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:53 am

Froedtert’s Sports Medicine Center in Wauwatosa is now the owner of a new “Alter-G” anti-gravity treadmill. According to Michael Ribar, head athletic trainer and performance enhancement coordinator at the Center, the new treadmill will be used primarily with physical therapy patients, transition athletes and athletes in the Performance Enhancement Program.
“The treadmill essentially completes our comprehensive therapy program,” Ribar said. “The treadmill has the capability to ‘remove’ a percentage of a person’s body weight during running exercises.”
Removing a percentage or even full body weight during running will allow a rehabilitation patient to begin those exercises earlier and potentially heal faster, Ribar said.
Performance enhancement or transitional athletes can also use the Alter-G to decrease some of the impact of their training while still building their endurance.
“We will use it for certain high level runners that will sometimes run 50 to 60 miles per week to reduce some of the stress on their joints and eliminate some of the pressure so they can continue to do that,” he said.
Treadmill users will put on a special pair of shorts that allows a runner to be ‘zipped in’ to the machine, Ribar said.
“The treadmill will weigh the runner, inflate with air and then calibrate the percentage of weight reduced based on what is selected on the machine,” Ribar said.
Prior to having this technology, the center utilized a suspension training system that forced a runner to wear a jacket that was suspended above their heads.
“Our previous methods were really uncomfortable, and most of the time the runner wasn’t able to get a realistic workout in without stopping to adjust the jacket. The anti-gravity treadmill provides a much more realistic approach to the exercise,” he said.
According to Ribar the Center plans to use the treadmill for physical therapy athletes and transitional athletes, but it can also be used for surgical recoveries like hip replacements, total knee replacements or obese patients.
The Sports Medicine Clinic has had the Alter-G treadmill for about a month and right now the goal is to have it used 24/7, Ribar said.
“It was a significant capital investment, but our patients love it and we can definitely see the possibility of purchasing more in the future,” he said.
To see a demonstration of  Froedtert’s Sports Medicine Clinic’s new Alter-G treadmill click on the video link below.


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