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Gravity Free Treadmill Takes the Weight Off: August 4, 2014

Rick Adams has been around the block when it comes to his health - nowadays walking is a challenge. His journey started with a bad hip and ended with an infection that severely damaged his bone.

“So bad that it just did nothing but deteriorate,” says Adams.

Dependent on a walker for years now, a new, high-tech treatment is helping Rick get back on his feet.

“Yesterday he was able to walk for 20 minutes without stopping. When he’s on full body weight on the ground, he’s only able to walk about 100 feet before pain and fatigue sets in,” says Brandie Redman, who is a physical therapist for Lee Memorial Health System.

The game-changer: this AlterG treadmill. Patients are zipped in to create an airlock- then air pressure is used to reduce body weight.

“It helps you do the things that you’ve wanted to do for so long,” says Adams.

Developed by NASA to help astronauts deal with weightlessness, the anti gravity treadmill has down to earth benefits. From helping people in therapy, rehab even sports training.

“This allows us to limit the affects of gravity and limit the ground reaction forces through their legs,” says Tad Cranfield, who is a physical therapist for Lee Memorial Health System.

A first of it’s kind for Lee Memorial Health System. It’s available at the Outpatient Center at HealthPark Commons.

“Anyone really who has a difficult time standing or walking might benefit from being in the AlterG. People with neurologic problems, people who may be obese and people that have had surgeries,” says Cranfield.

Rick’s recovery is moving at a fast pace.

“We do Rick’s whole therapy session in there because he’s able to stand up in there the whole 45 minutes. Prior to the machine i was able to do about five minutes,” says Redman.

“The greatest thing that’s ever been invented. It gives me hope,” says Adams.

One step at a time.