What is the Alter G?
The Alter G Treadmill is a revolutionary piece of rehabilitation equipment. This concept of this state of the art technology began at NASA and has now been adapted into the rehab world. The machine itself consists of a traditional treadmill belt encapsulated by a pressurized compartment. Patients put on specialized neoprene shorts which allows them to be zipped into the pressure compartment. Once calibrated, the machine can be set in 1% increments to increase or decrease the pressure. This allows the patient to feel as if they weigh as little as 20% of their actual body weight, all the way up to 100% their body weight.
What Does Alter G Do?
The Alter G treadmill allows for typical forward treadmill motion at varying speeds. Also, with the push of a button, can be set in a backward motion allowing a patient to walk backwards. While inside the machine, patients can also be turned sideways to focus work on the lateral musculature of the lower body. The machine can also be used for stationary exercises. This provides support and help with balance. The “unweighting” phenomenon is like that of aquatic therapy, however the Alter G Treadmill allows for precise and measurable changes to weight bearing.
What Conditions is it Used For?
The Alter G Treadmill is useful for patients who have broken bones or had orthopedic surgeries that limit how much weight can be put through a joint. Injuries and surgeries to the knee, hip, leg, ankle and foot can restrict movement for weeks at a time. This movement can be accomplished in the Alter G Treadmill almost immediately. Alter G Treadmill patients can weight bear sooner, promoting a more normal walking pattern. Additionally, it facilitates muscle use that more closely mimics the natural physics of our normal functional movements (walking, squatting, standing). It is extremely beneficial for total joint replacement patients, as decreased weight bearing decreases pain through the operated joint.
Gait Training & the Alter G
The Alter G is also a safer environment to perform gait training and strengthening programs. Patients with neurological conditions, such as post-stroke, MS, and Parkinson’s Disease can walk and exercise without assistive devices, hands on guarding, or fear. Fall risk is reduced as the patient is supported by the pressure chamber.
Fitness & the Alter G
Not only is the Alter G Treadmill used for rehab, but it can also be used in weight loss, sport specific conditioning, and fitness improvement programs. The unweighting technology allows clients to get a cardio workout with less strain on the lower extremity joints. Clients with poor cardiac endurance can perform exercises longer as their body isn’t supporting as much weight through movement. In an unweighted state a client can run faster while training which can translate to a higher running speed on the ground.