New anti-gravity treadmill helping patients recover

New anti-gravity treadmill helping patients recover

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - New NASA technology is helping local patients recover quicker through anti-gravity treadmills.

Mercy Health leaders introduced the Alter G treadmills, and now patients are using them in three different locations.

George Lathrop is training for a marathon in October, he suffered a stress fracture in early June.

It could have halted his training, but he's kept running with the Alter G treadmill.

"It's allowed me to get more miles in, by reducing the body weight you can do more miles without stressing the injury again," said Lathrop.

NASA developed the technology as a way to train their astronauts in an unweighted environment.

"It calibrates your weight and then from there we can unweigh you to only 20 percent of your body weight or any increment therein," said Dayna Pirrwitz with Fort Meigs Physical Therapy.

There are only about 4,000 of these units worldwide, and Mercy Health has three of them for their patients recovering from injury.

"Patients that seem to do the best are patients who are really, really weak after surgery and we are trying to get them to feel what a normal gait is like," said Dr. Rick Mitchell, an Orthopedic Surgeon with Mercy Health.

Lois Spencer is another patient benefiting from the technology She had a hip replacement, and then ended up breaking two bones after the surgery.

"I have a fear of falling now, so this has taken away the fear," said Spencer.

On the treadmill screen Spencer can see how much weight she's putting on each leg, making sure she's not compensating.

"My right one doesn't have as much weight on it, so it's like a video game, it's challenging to get both feet at 50 percent," said Spencer.

Both patients believe the treadmill is to thank for their faster recovery, and, making them ready for their next challenge.

"I'll be ready, I'll definitely be ready," said Lathrop about his marathon in October.

"I won't have the fear anymore, I just know it," said Spencer.

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