Out-of-this-world treadmill - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Out-of-this-world treadmill

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Outside the airport isn't the only place you can find NASA technology. The Alter-G is an anti-gravity treadmill that's helping patients recover, like astronauts.

Chris Kovatch likes to ride ATVs, but he hasn't gotten on one in months.

"I came up short on a jump, landed on the wrong spot and ruptured my Achilles," he said.

And Terri Rosenwald is a big 10 softball ump, but she was on the bench for awhile.

"Came up out of my stance and pivoted and shredded what little bit of cartilage I had left," she said.

Both are recovering quicker and with less pain, thanks to the NASA-developed Alter-G at Precision Orthopedic Specialties. It alters weight bearing down to 20 percent. It gives patients another option besides water treadmill or harness treadmill. It's not as restrictive as those. Patients zip themselves into the portal, the machine calibrates their weight, fills with air, and liftoff!

"The treadmill just really increases your confidence. Every day you can go up a little higher, add a little extra weight, go faster, run a little harder," Kovatch said.

And you don't have to have an astronautical engineering degree to work this thing. Patients can control weightlessness, speed and incline themselves, like a regular treadmill.

High school runner Halle Markel had been biking and swimming, while nursing a stress fracture until she found the Alter-G.

"Cross-training helps to an extent, but it's not the same as getting going and running. Getting back on my feet was awesome," Markel said.

Patients say taking the impact off their joints has sped up recovery time. Rosenwald was umping games again three months after a knee replacement.

"Three weeks before the season started, got on the machine at 50 percent of my body weight. Got me walking, within 10 days I was jogging," Rosenwald said.

Most insurance plans will cover sessions on the Alter-G if your doctor has prescribed physical therapy.

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