Alter-G and Seniors

Georgie Mai Clinic Director

Georgie Mai
Clinic Director & Lead Sports Therapist

A discovery session with the Rehab Hub team for use of the Alter-G for patients living with degenerative joint conditions

A week after taking delivery of the Alter-G at our clinic in Biggleswade, Beds we are continuing our learning to see how the new piece of kit can be of benefit to our senior patients and guests. Today we asked Papa Baglin (Georgie’s Dad) to come and join us!

Neil has started a programme of physiotherapy to improve the function and pain attributed to his osteoarthritic knees. So far this has included hands-on treatment and seated strengthening exercises which don’t in anyway represent ‘real life’ function. This is the problem with the rehabilitation of degenerative pain conditions, it takes so long and it is so difficult to strengthen and improve movement where a condition is painful.

One of the considerations we were looking at today was quite how somebody with balance, movement or strength issues would need guiding onto the treadmill. It wasn’t really an issue with Papa Baglin, he had it nailed after our instruction, but we’re going to pick this up again with one of Annie’s Vestibular patients.

We also wanted to see what ‘static’ exercises can be performed to help improve joint range motion and strengthen the supporting soft tissues. Quite how this would work in arthritic knees was a bit of a mystery to us, and more importantly – quite how it would feel for a real patient!

Papa Baglin was experiencing pain in both knees with the double leg squat until we ‘unweighted’ him to 65% of bodyweight. He soon got used to dropping down into a squat against the air pressure, and found that the assisted return to standing was very comforting. He started tentatively, but we encouraged to drop with control to a very good looking 1/4 squat – impressive! We let him have a ‘play’ to see how comfortable he was trying out his own moves, and found him five minutes later bouncing along like Neil Armstrong at 25% bodyweight!

For those who live with constant lower limb discomfort due to degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis, unweighting to a point of less or zero pain can facilitate nearer normal movement over time.

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