Anti-gravity treadmills may help people reduce their fear of re-injury and boost their confidence to run again, a study claims.
When people run, the load on their knee joints can be up to five times greater than when walking.
Healthy cartilage that covers the bone surfaces in the knee joint transfers these high loads from the lower leg to the upper leg, researchers said.
The cartilage covering the bone surface is not able to heal itself when it is damaged and this is why surgical procedures are available to repair the damaged area.
Devices like the anti-gravity treadmills enable walking or running without the full weight of the body.
According to researchers from University of Kent in the UK, such devices may help reduce the load on the joints in the lower limbs and bridge the gap between rehabilitation and return to sport.
The air pressure in the treadmill can be adjusted to take the patient from 100 per cent of their body weight to only 20 per cent, the same feeling as walking on the Moon, reducing the impact and pressure on joints during the run, researchers said.
The treadmill could provide a great environment for healing and also help the person restore belief that they can make a successful return to the sport they love, said Karen Hambly, an international expert on knee rehabilitation at University of Kent.
The study was published in the journal Physical Therapy in Sport.
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