Kids Get a Boost with Microgravity Treadmill Technology
Shriners Children’s Spokane Offers Patients Microgravity Technology for Rehabilitation
Returning patients safely back to play after an injury is the ultimate goal of a rehabilitation program. The recovery and rehabilitation process is different for everyone. At Shriners Children’s Spokane, the sports health and medicine team has a comprehensive offering of equipment to customize a patient’s recovery journey.
One of the latest additions to the sports medicine rehabilitation gym is the Boost Anti-Gravity Treadmill. The Boost Treadmill offers the ability to allow our patients to run or walk using a low as 20% of their bodyweight.
What is an anti-gravity treadmill?
An anti-gravity treadmill is designed like a regular treadmill, but uses advanced technology to reduce body weight by creating a higher pressure around the lower body.
Boost Treadmill states, “Because this pressure is greater than the pressure outside the enclosure, it creates a lifting force which counteracts gravity. The lifting force is dispersed across your entire lower body, which makes it incredibly comfortable. This gives you a sense of walking or running in a totally normal way, while at the same time feeling incredibly fast, strong and pain-free.”
Essentially, the Boost creates a sense of weightlessness from the waist down; the patient is running with less impact on the body, getting a higher range of motion with less effort.
How does it work?
The patient wears a pair of rubberized compression shorts with a zipper at the top, steps into a “bubble-like chamber” which is attached to the treadmill, then zips themselves into the bubble. The percentage of reduction in body weight is set, the “bubble” inflates and lifts the patient, creating an “anti-gravity” experience to run at a lower percentage of their body weight.
Uses of an Anti-Gravity Treadmill: Injury Rehabilitation
Microgravity technology is useful for a variety of injuries to the foot, ankle, knees and hips. The Boost can be particularly effective for post-surgical patients as they gain strength and increase their cardiovascular fitness and muscle mass. When the patient is restricted to non-weight bearing activities, the Boost gives the Shriners Children’s rehabilitation staff a safe solution for fitness without the risk of reinjury.
- Return to Sport Faster: Rehabilitation with body weight support allows for quicker return to sports.
- Restore Range of Movement: Increases blood flow and restores range of movement post injury.
- Natural Experience: Microgravity technology provides a smooth and natural transition back to running on the ground.
- Stay Motivated: Increases confidence and motivation during return from injury.
- Source: Boost website
Daniel is a two-sport high school athlete who injured his knee during a wrestling match. He has been receiving care from the sports medicine rehabilitation team as he recovers from his sports injury. Kelly Bartleson, MPT, OCS, CMPT, a sports medicine physical therapist at Shriners Children’s Spokane, included the Boost Treadmill in Daniel’s treatment plan in order to increase his strength and endurance, and to test out his tolerance to sprinting.
“It has definitely helped me to return to regular activity faster. I get the benefit of running, but it takes less effort, which has helped my recovery and gives me confidence that I won’t reinjure my knee when I get back to full activity,” Daniel said.
“Our goal is to get kids safely back to play. When running or walking is limited due to pain, weakness or confidence, recovery can be slower and other parts of the body may compensate, potentially creating other challenges,” Kelly explained. “We can get kids moving sooner, because the Boost Treadmill makes moving easier and is lower impact. It offers our patients a great way back to regular activity safely.”
Daniel is grateful for the access to the state-of-the-art equipment offered at the Spokane Shriners Hospital rehabilitation gym. “I am looking forward to heading off to college, pain-free and recovered from my injury!”
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