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How a NASA-Created Anti-Gravity Treadmill Improves Rehab


Friday, March 3rd, 2017

As part of its de-weighted training services, UPMC Centers for Rehab Services offers anti-gravity treadmills for patients to exercise nearly weightlessly and pain-free, which enhances the rehabilitation experience.

“The AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill® allows for early weight bearing on a patient with limited tolerance or restrictive weight bearing precautions,” explained Patrick Garvey, DPT, MS, OCS, FAAOMPT, of UPMC Centers for Rehab Services.

“This enables patients to begin earlier mobilization, range of motion and ambulation, in a precisely controlled way.”

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First developed by NASA to help astronauts maintain fitness during space flight, the AlterG® uses positive air pressure technology to lift the patient off the ground and decrease their body weight by up to 80 percent. Patients with incisions or wounds can use it safely without infection risks.

The AlterG® is an integral part of sports rehabilitation at the UPMC Rooney and Lemieux Sports Complexes, and is used as part of a patient’s overall therapy program. Because of the anti-gravity components, post-operative and non-operative patients are able to work on balance and proprioception for walking and then progress toward running to help maintain cardiovascular and fitness levels.

For more information on the AlterG® or to schedule an appointment, visit the UPMC Centers for Rehabilitation Services website or call 1-888-723-4CRS (4277).

“Patients can begin walking with as much as 80 percent of the load taken off their joints, and have that load gradually re-introduced over the course of their rehab,” Garvey said. “We can also work with athletes who want to increase mileage or speed without injury.”

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In addition, the AlterG® is indicated for patients who have undergone lower-body joint replacements (i.e. total hip and knee) or who are impaired by degenerative joint disease or low-back pain.

“The body’s weight is removed from impacting upon these joints, but the patient still experiences a full range-of-motion workout,” Garvey explained.

Additionally, patients with poor balance or seniors, for example, are ideal candidates for the AlterG®. The equipment is suitable for all ages.

“Some segments of the population often hesitate or won’t exercise because of a fear of falling,” Garvey said. “Anyone who wouldn’t take normal step lengths due to fear can improve their confidence and gait pattern after several weeks using the AlterG®.”

 

Center for Rehab Services

Centers for Rehab Services

Since 1986, UPMC Centers for Rehab Services (CRS) has provided one of the largest networks of community-based, comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation services in western Pennsylvania. With more than 70 locations, CRS is a leading provider of physical, occupational, and speech therapy services, offering some of the latest treatments and specialized programs to ensure that each patient receives the highest quality care possible. Read More