View All Articles

Anti-gravity treadmill helps Orlando Health Rehab patients recover faster

July 23, 2012

“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 anti-gravity treadmill provides more treatment options for our patients.”

This is how it works: a patient steps inside the treadmill’s cockpit – similar to a bubble-like pouch, and is zipped sealed into the system. The anti-gravity treadmill’s technology system then weighs the patient and uses a formula to calculate how much air is needed to assist them. The sealed portion then fills with air based also on the therapist’s settings. From there, the workout to recovery 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 anti-gravity 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 at Orlando Health say the anti-gravity treadmill has become the most used piece of equipment in the rehab gym.

In the course of a day, the anti-gravity 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 anti-gravity 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 take longer because more time is need for pain and discomfort to subside in order to progress with different physical activities. The anti-gravity treadmill alone offers a unique experience with positive outcomes.