Thursday, November 19, 2015

Underwater treadmills speed up patients’ recovery time

Mikala Lindhardt


Individuals who have been injured, are recovering from surgery or are suffering from pain can now see faster improvement due to the two new underwater treadmills at Logan Regional Hospital.

“Patients report that they are sensing a faster improvement in progressing off crutches, walking with a good walk and progressing with running because of the water workouts,” said Kevin Hall, a physical therapy assistant at Logan Regional Hospital.

Dave Callaway had back surgery and a hip replacement and used underwater therapy treatment for both recoveries.

“I am a firm believer in the underwater treadmill,” he said. “It really is a lot easier on your body. It unloads the weight from your body and you can do more activities.”

Patients are able to begin water therapy sooner after surgery than they could have started physical therapy without water.

“Those who use the underwater treadmill are about a month to six weeks ahead of those who walk on land because the water takes weight off the injury,” said Lori Olsen, a Logan Regional physical therapist.  

The wheelchair-accessible floor of the pool allows for all patients to participate.

“They are very fun,” Olsen said. “The amazing thing about the pools is they can accommodate for so many different levels for patients.”

The physical therapy staff has seen patients ranging from 5 years old and up.  

“The therapists actually get in the water with the pediatric patients,” Olsen said.

Pediatric patients with neurological damage find these pools helpful because they help the patients promote normal walking and movement.  Those who are young and athletic have been treated to speed up recovery time after an injury and the older patients can benefit from the pools to help relieve pain, Olsen said.

The treadmills not only have an adjustable floor, but they have underwater video camera capability.

“These cameras help patients watch themselves run and walk to see their form,” Olsen said.

The hospital has seen a 5 percent increase in physical therapy patients, through referrals from doctors and friends of patients, since the HyrdoWorx equipment arrived in July.

According to Olsen, Logan Regional is still learning about the treadmills and their capabilities with every new patient.

“The next step will be to advertise the benefits and some success stories,” Olsen said.

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