The most common question that I get asked after someone sustains an injury is usually, “When can I go back to do what I was doing before?”. Obviously, this question requires a qualified answer depending on the nature of the injury. However, for someone who has a lower limb injury, there is no better investment than time spent on an AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill during the recovery period. How does a treadmill defy gravity, I hear you ask. Sean Whalen, the inventor of the AlterG, was the son of a NASA engineer. His father was looking to design exercise equipment to simulate gravity for astronauts to maintain their fitness in space. Whelan simply reversed this idea and with that the AlterG was developed to allow us earthlings to 'defy gravity’ while recovering from an injury.
There are four main clinical applications of the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill. Recovery following surgery, injury rehabilitation, high performance conditioning and weight loss. The AlterG is beneficial following lower limb surgery such as an Anterior Cruciate Ligament reconstruction. Once clearance has been obtained from the treating surgeon, most patients can start using the AlterG at a lowered body weight at around the 10-12 week post-operative mark. Most orthopaedic surgeons will agree that this is when the graft has reached adequate strength to commence impact exercises such as brisk walking or light jogging. The beauty of the AlterG is that over the next 6 weeks, both body weight and speed can be slowly increased according to patient response until they can easily transition back to land-based training.
Following a stress fracture, a patient can start exercising on the AlterG almost immediately after diagnosis at a lowered body weight and speed where they are pain free. From there, body weight and speed can again be slowly increased until they are ready to return to running. This is in contrast to traditional treatment of a longer rest period before commencing any running. The AlterG allows you to continue pain-free training and to maintain your fitness.
From a high performance viewpoint, the AlterG will allow you to train at a lower body weight, to increase your mileage but at the same time, reduce your risk of injury. If you’re looking to lose weight but you have sore knees from osteoarthritis, then the AlterG can reduce your body weight to reduce your symptoms while obtaining the cardiovascular benefits of exercise. You will also experience what it’s like to feel lighter - an extra motivation for some people!
The AlterG is available for general use at Sydney Sports Medicine as part of a tailored post-operative, injury rehabilitation, high performance or weight loss program. To make an enquiry about using the AlterG for yourself, call 02 9764 3131 or use our online contact form.
(1) A Brief History of AlterG’s NASA Technology – The Early Years: https://www.alterg.com/treadmill-training-rehab/athletics/a-brief-history-of-altergs-nasa-technology-the-early-years/
(2) Kruse LM, Gray B, Wright RW. Rehabilitation After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: A Systematic Review. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery American volume. 2012;94(19):1737-1748. doi:10.2106/JBJS.K.01246.