ORLANDO, Fla. (July 19, 2012) — Patients are walking on air to recover from muscle sprains, broken bones, balance problems and other orthopedic and neurological conditions. The Orlando Health Rehabilitation Institute offers the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill, as part of treatment plans for patients. The weight assisted treadmill training system reduces the impact of gravity as low as 20 percent of patients’ body weight, allowing patients to walk and run without pain – while feeling safe and supported.
“This system is cutting edge and is usually reserved for professional sports teams,” said Matthew Hixon, PT, CSCS, physical therapist, Outpatient Rehabilitation Services, Orlando Health Rehabilitation Institute. “Having the antigravity treadmill provides more treatment options for our patients.”
The way it works, a patient puts on a special pair of fitted neoprene shorts, steps inside the treadmill’s cockpit – similar to a bubble-like pouch, and is zipped sealed into the system. The antigravity treadmill’s technology system then weighs the patient and uses a formula to calculate how much air is needed to assist the patient. The sealed portion then fills with air based also on the therapist’s settings. From there, the workout to recover begins.
The virtually weightless workout protects healing tissue, prevents muscle loss, encourages range of motion and improves motor control.
Patients are often excited and nervous to try the antigravity treadmill for the first time.
“I tell them they can run or walk and it won’t hurt, but many times they are skeptical – almost like it’s too good to be true,” said Hixon. “After the first time, patients love it. They are so excited they want to stay on for five more minutes.”
Therapists say the antigravity treadmill has become the most used piece of equipment in the rehab gym.
In the course of a day, the antigravity treadmill may be used to help a soccer player recover from a leg sprain, an 80-year-old learn to gain stability after hip replacement surgery, or a car crash survivor learn to walk again.
“Without the antigravity treadmill, we would not be able help patients progress more quickly and without pain,” said Hixon. “There is no substitute for it.”
Other treatment options and techniques take longer because more time is need for pain to subside in order to progress with different physical activities.
The antigravity treadmill alone offers a unique experience with positive outcomes.
“The antigravity treadmill combines the science and art of medicine,” said Hixon. “The science component is the treadmill and related technology, while the art of the experience is how we are able to incorporate it into a person’s life. For example, an athlete or other patient who is very committed to running can feel discouraged after an injury prevents them from doing something that drives them in their daily living. This system allows patients to not only heal quicker, but provides the further psychological benefit of staying active without having pain. It helps patients see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
About Orlando Health
Orlando Health is a $1.9 billion not-for-profit health care organization and a community-based network of hospitals and care centers throughout Central Florida. The organization, which includes the area’s only Level One Trauma Centers for adults and pediatrics, is a statutory teaching hospital system that offers both specialty and community hospitals. They are: Orlando Regional Medical Center; Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children; Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies; Dr. P. Phillips Hospital; South Seminole Hospital; Health Central Hospital, South Lake Hospital (50 percent affiliation); St. Cloud Regional Medical Center (20 percent affiliation) and MD Anderson Cancer Center Orlando – the first affiliate of one of the nation’s premier cancer centers, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Orlando Health’s areas of clinical excellence are heart and vascular, cancer care, neurosciences, surgery, pediatric orthopedics and sports medicine, neonatology, and obstetrics and gynecology.
Orlando Health is one of Central Florida’s largest employers with nearly 16,000 employees and more than 2,500 affiliated physicians supporting our philosophy of providing high quality care and service that revolves around patients’ needs. We prove this everyday with over 110,000 inpatient admissions and nearly 690,000 outpatient visits each year. In all, Orlando Health serves 1.6 million Central Florida residents and nearly 3,000 international patients annually. Additionally, Orlando Health provides approximately $239 million in support of community health needs. More information can be found at www.orlandohealth.com.