The treadmill is a commonly used means of testing and training patients with cardiopulmonary diseases. There is growing interest in the use of the treadmill also for rehabilitation of patients with orthopaedic and neurological diseases. Commercially available treadmills show wide differences in terms of structure and function that have a direct impact on the specific rehabilitation protocols. The aims of this paper are: a) to briefly review the physiology and biomechanics of treadmill exercise as compared to overground walking; b) to point out the technical specifications of treadmills suitable for rehabilitation settings; c) to provide guidelines for treadmill selection in the different categories of rehabilitation patients. First, the different physiological and biomechanical characteristics of walking on a treadmill and overground are discussed. Uphill and downhill walking as well as backward walking are also presented together with the spin-offs for rehabilitation practice. Then, the technical features of treadmills (treadbelt frame, bars, deck, rollers, shock absorption, elevation motor, drive motor, flywheel, display) are described and the specific requisites for the different patient categories undergoing rehabilitation are discussed in detail. Finally, guidelines and a flow-chart for identifying the main technical requisites for appropriate treadmill selection in the different disabilities are provided. A summary table of the technical specifications of the commercially available rehabilitation treadmills is also included.
|Translated title of the contribution||Treadmills in rehabilitation medicine: Technical characteristics and selection criteria|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Giornale Italiano di Medicina del Lavoro ed Ergonomia|
|Publication status||Published - Apr 2008|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health