What is an Alter G treadmill?
The Alter G treadmill was originally developed by NASA, as a way to increase their astronaut’s strength and bone density while in zero-gravity environments. The Alter G treadmill creates a pressurised air chamber stimulating gravitational load and therefore reducing the percentage of body weight that is required when using it.
How does it work?
The treadmill uses air pressure to help unweight the individual. Specific neoprene shorts that have a zip around them are worn, over the top of shorts or tight leggings to keep the air inside the chamber. The person then steps inside the treadmill which is pressurised and calibrates to the individual that is inside. The Alter G then operates like a normal treadmill, you can adjust the percentage of body weight from 20% to 100%, speed, incline and even the direction of the belt to walk forwards or backwards. There are cameras set up on each side of the Alter G that allows you to watch your walking or running gait and make corrections as you train.
Who benefits from using it?
The reduced body weight percentage allows the user to mobilise with less demand on the respiratory and musculoskeletal systems. The use of the treadmill is indicated for the rehabilitation of a range of different lower limb and spine injuries. The treadmill aims to provide normal pain free gait with less force going though the injured joint.
The Alter G is great for early weight bearing on a lower limb injury where the person is able to perform a correct gait pattern with a reduced body weight percentage. Some examples of conditions are:
- ACL and Medial Meniscus Tear
- Hip, Knee or Ankle Arthroscopy
- Total Hip or Knee Replacement
- Hip Labral Repair
- Lower Extremity Fractures
- Lumbar Spine Disc
- MTSS (Shin Splints)
- Achilles tendon injury
What do I need to bring to my first session on the Alter G?
You will be provided with a pair of special neoprene shorts that zip you into the treadmill, to create an airtight environment around the lower body. To make sure you are as comfortable as possible, we recommend that you wear fitted clothing under the Alter G shorts. Next you will need a pair of good walking or running shoes. Once you are zipped into the treadmill, you will not want to have to get in and out. So, here are a few tips –
- Go to the bathroom before your session so you do not have to get in and out
- Bring headphones and your phone
- Bring a water bottle and a sweat towel and keep them within arm’s reach during your session