An Anti-Gravity Treadmill is designed to help both people who are injured and elite athletes who would like to be able to overtrain their running without placing too much stress on their ankle, hip and knee joints.
The Anti-Gravity Treadmill will help people who have conditions that require them to have a period of decreased weight going through their legs or back, which may be due to traumatic injury, pain, surgery or neurological issue.
If you have any of the following injuries, an Anti-Gravity Treadmill may help you:
- Achilles Tendinopathy
- Patellar Tendinopathy (Jumper’s Knee)
- Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome
- Shin Splints
- Metatarsal Stress Fracture (stress fracture in your foot)
- Hip Osteoarthritis
- Knee Osteoarthritis
An Anti-Gravity Treadmill may also help you if you have had any of the following surgical procedures:
- ACL Reconstruction
- Total Knee Replacement
- Total Hip Replacement
- Total Knee Replacement
- Ankle Surgery
- Knee Meniscectomy (Knee Cleanout Procedure)
- Hip Arthroscopy (Hip Cleanout Procedure)
Improving Sports and Performance with our Anti-Gravity Treadmill
For injured athletes, it isn’t enough to just get back pain free. The goal is to get back to your best – stronger, faster and at your peak condition. Incorporating our Anti-Gravity Treadmill into an existing sports injury rehabilitation program will help you:
Many of the world’s top clubs and athletes incorporate anti-gravity treadmill sessions into their normal training and recovery routines. The purpose being to ‘de-load’ their legs in order to decrease the likelihood of injury.
What is an Anti-Gravity Treadmill?
An Anti-Gravity Treadmill is an innovative piece of technology, originally designed by NASA to help maintain the bone density and strength of Astronauts in zero gravity. It was then adapted by Nike to help elite runners and athletes overtrain to increase their performance, whilst limiting the stress on their joints. From this, the physiotherapy industry has seen a huge opportunity to improve how we can rehabilitate patients with a wide range of conditions, as listed above, in a safer and more natural lifelike environment, to get the best possible outcomes in a shorter time.
The Anti-Gravity Treadmill uses differential air pressure to reduce the percentage of body weight going through the treadmill, enabling walking, jogging or running at anywhere from 20% to 100% of your bodyweight. This can be used for a number of conditions to help ensure safe, yet quick return from injury or surgery whilst maintaining fitness.
At Physio Fit Adelaide, we use a Boost Anti-Gravity Treadmill, which is a new competitor to the traditional Alter G Anti-Gravity Treadmills that many have often heard about. Although newer to the market, many elite clubs (especially in the AFL) are already transitioning to the Boost Anti-Gravity Treadmills. As the first of its kind in Adelaide, we are excited to bring this technology to our local athletes and community.
How does it work?
By wearing a specially designed pair of shorts you are able to zip yourself into the bag that surrounds the treadmill to create a seal. Air is then pumped into this bag creating a differential air pressure that allows your weight to be reduced.
The technology within the treadmill is then able to calibrate how much air is required to reduce your weight by increments of 1% and is accurate to within 3%.
What do you use it for?
Although this technology was originally designed by NASA to reacclimatise astronauts back to earth’s gravity it is now used in performance, rehab and weight loss.
As Physiotherapists, we use this to help people return to running or walking quicker using this machine as it allows you to work on loading the body and increasing muscle strength in the areas needed, whilst reducing the impact going through joints that may be injured or painful. For example, common uses in the clinic in a sporting setting is helping athletes keep strength in their legs by walking or jogging during a time they would otherwise be inactive for, such as recovering from a foot injury.
For overweight people that are focusing on exercise to improve their overall health, a barrier may be that they struggle to walk for long periods due to the stress it places on the body. Using the anti-gravity treadmill can help to reduce this impact on the body and promote healthy lifestyles that can lead to their desired weight loss.
In regard to performance it can be used for either overtraining or as an adjunct to normal training. It is possible to run at higher speeds on this treadmill with slightly reduced body weight again due to the reduction in stress through the musculature and skeletal system.
For long distance runners it can be beneficial to use this as a training tool to get an extra run in during the week. This means that runners can work on additional training loads for muscle strength and running efficiency without sacrificing bone health or risking load related stress fractures
Will I get the same benefit running here as a normal treadmill or over ground?
You will get less of a muscular or skeletal adaptation while using this treadmill compared to a normal treadmill or overground running. However, you are still able to gain a similar cardiovascular effect. This advanced technology is best used when over ground training is not yet possible (like returning from an injury or surgery) or in conjunction with regular training without wanting the extra load going through the joints.
If you were to reduce your body weight by 10% on this machine you would have to run 1km/hr faster than you would overground to elicit the same cardiovascular effect. With 20% body weight reduced it’s 2km/hr faster and so on and so forth.
So when using this as a training modality it is important to be aware of this. However, the added benefit is the reduced load through the joints meaning you will be able to train more frequently
Injury Rehabilitation on our Anti-Gravity Treadmill
Anti-Gravity Treadmills are a game changer for the rehabilitation of lower limb injuries and it is perfect for people of all levels due to its unique ability to safely reduce forces going through the body. An Anti-Gravity Treadmill replaces the need for hydrotherapy in the rehabilitation of injuries and in post-surgical rehabilitation by providing a more authentic walking and running pattern.
Our Anti-Gravity Treadmill reduces the loading during walking, jogging and running, allowing our clients to move at a lower percentage of their own body weight. This minimises the pressure and stress through the joints and muscles during rehab, allowing someone with pain and injury to continue training and recover faster while maintaining fitness along the way.
One of the most appealing aspects of the Anti-Gravity Treadmill is the ability to maintain your fitness whilst recovering from an injury or surgery.
How does the Anti-Gravity Treadmill help me recover from surgery?
The Anti-Gravity Treadmill is used for recovery from ACL reconstructions, knee cleanout surgery, hip and knee replacements, ankle or foot surgery and spinal surgery
If severe enough, hip, knee, ankle and back injuries may get to the point that they require surgery. Regardless of the type of surgery, one of the best indicators for a quick recovery is how fast someone can return to walking again.
With the use of an Anti-Gravity Treadmill, we can help those recovering from surgery quicker than traditional physio or hydrotherapy. We commonly see compensation patterns occur in the early stages of walking and running following surgery, and this can overload other body parts trying to help out. Using an Anti-Gravity Treadmill we can decrease the overall weight going through the injured knee and allow for much more normal movement patterns.
How does the Anti-Gravity Treadmill help Stress Fractures?
Stress fractures commonly occur in the foot or shin due to sudden increases in load or training volume (too much too quickly for the body to handle). At first what presents as muscle soreness and stiffness, quickly progresses to become pinpoint pain in the bone.
As the development of Stress Fractures are load related, the Anti-Gravity Treadmill is the perfect piece of technology to allow you to continue running and training during injury. We can set up an appropriate amount of weight/ load to be running at and slowly progress this back to full body weight running as the bone heals. Most would have to rest from running or stick to other forms of non weight bearing exercise, whereas with the anti-gravity treadmill you can simply adjust how much weight we put through the body to stay active during injury.
Whether your goal is to add 10kgs to your squat or to simply be able to play with your children, our physiotherapists can assist in developing an exercise program that is appropriate for your current level of health and fitness.
Your Physiotherapy appointment will consist of:
Listening – We listen to understand you, what activities you enjoy, how your problem has presented and how it affects your life.
Accurate diagnosis – We may need to refer you for diagnostic imaging such as MRI, X-Ray or ultrasound.
Assessing & addressing the causative factors to your injury – We settle your pain & address the reason why it presented.
This will allow us to create a personalised management plan, in which we will encompass your goals, a clear diagnosis and a time frame to achieve these within.
We are passionate about what we do and we are here to guide you every step of the way!
Appropriate Clothing – We may be getting you to do some exercise as part of your assessment. Please, dress appropriately for this if possible.
Previous Medical Imaging Results – If you have had any imaging done for your current injury, please bring these along to your appointment. If you don’t have access to them, that’s completely fine - we will be able to access them if we need to.
Referral – A referral isn’t required to see a physiotherapist privately. However, if you are part of the Medicare EPC, DVA, Work Cover or Third Party Insurance programs, you will need to bring your referral on the day.
Private Health Insurance Card – We require you to have your Private Health Insurance card with you to claim your rebate on the spot through HICAPS.
If you are a private physiotherapy client then no referral is required and you can book in as soon as it fits into your schedule. If you have an injury which is covered by either DVA, Medicare EPC, Work Cover or Third Party Insurance programs, then you will need to bring this along; otherwise you can pay the full appointment fee and claim back later from the relevant program above.
We have HICAPS terminals at both of our clinics which allows us to process your private health insurance claim on the spot, meaning that you only have to pay the ‘gap’ remaining.