Anybody up for a jog around the moon?
Last week I had the opportunity to experience something very similar to a jog on the moon. The Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin Sports Medicine Center received on loan an Alter G G-trainer treadmill
to try in the clinic. It is quite the experience and a potentially useful technology in the rehab setting. The Alter G allows me as a therapist to unweight a patient to 20 percent of their body weight — very similar to the moon which has a gravitational force of 17 percent of the gravitational force on Earth. At 20 percent of body weight, a 150 pound individual would effectively weigh only 30 pounds.
The Alter G allows therapists and athletic trainers to work on gait training and return to running gradually at an amount of weight bearing that is well-tolerated and with hopefully less compensations. I can see applications for returning athletes to activities (ACL reconstructions, Achilles tendon repairs, stress fractures) as well as for other post-op orthopedic procedures like hip and knee replacements.
How does it work? The Alter G uses positive air pressure to lift the subject partially off the tread. The patient dons a pair of lycra bike-style shorts that create a seal in the balloon portion of the treadmill. This allows the Alter G to create a chamber that has greater air pressure than outside the chamber which provides a relative decrease in weight. The Alter G can provide from 20 percent to 100 precent weight-bearing in 1 percent increments and at speeds from 1 mph to 18 mph up to a 15 percent grade.
I had an individual use it this morning who is recovering from an ACL reconstruction and microfracture surgery. He really liked it and said it felt very natural while providing a good running workout at 60 percent body weight. I'll keep you posted on how else we use it and what kind of reviews it gets.