Multiple Lower Extremity Fractures

One Patients Story to Treatment and Recovery

““After falling and fracturing my leg, I was only able to bear 50 pounds of weight through my leg. I was scared at first, but it was amazing; I felt like I was floating on air. I couldn’t believe I was walking and not in pain. The AlterG is definitely helping me reach my rehabilitation goals. Next week, I can start to bear more weight and the AlterG will really help me add weight slowly and safely as I continue to regain strength. I can see myself walking the way I used to.””

Sandra Jaquis, Patient, Southlake Village Rehabilitation and Care Center

One Patients Multiple Lower Extremity Fracture Rehabilitation Story

Judit Takacs, BSc, Jeff R. S. Leiter, PhD and Jason D. Peeler, PhD, CAT


Lower extremity fracture rehabilitation is important to reduce the risk of morbidity. Optimizing the rehabilitation of lower extremity fractures like an avulsion fracture can significantly improve patient quality of life. Partial weight bearing, along with active range of motion exercises are traditionally recommended for various surgically repaired lower extremity fractures. However, current methods of partial weight bearing such as crutches or cane may notadequately reduce lower extremity loads and require modification of gait patterns. Research has shown that patients with lower extremity fractures consistently bear loads much greater than recommended when ambulating under partial weight bearing conditions. The AlterG anti-gravity treadmill was developed to support rehabilitation through accurate and precise body weight unloading. The case report highlights the benefits of AlterG rehabilitation in a patient with multiple lower extremity fractures who had failed traditional rehabilitation methods. The

AlterG physical therapy exercise effectively allowed the patient to:

  • Reduce body weight to reduce pain during ambulation
  • Normalize gait mechanics during training
  • Improve walking and functional confidence for daily activities performed outside of the rehabilitation setting
  • Improve quality of life 

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History / Progression

The patient was a 42-year-old man with multiple lower extremity fractures. The patient had an avulsion fracture of the right medial malleolus, comminuted fracture of the left talus, and fractures of the left proximal and distal tibia and fibula due to a mountain climbing accident. He underwent a traditional six-month rehabilitation program, however, the patient experienced pain and little functional improvement with the AlterG physical therapy equipment than the traditional treadmill walking program. AlterG rehabilitation therapy then commenced. He took three 20-minute sessions per week for a total of 48sessions.

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The patient experienced a significant reduction in pain and an improvement in ankle range of motion (p = 0.002), walking speed (p > 0.05) and physical function (p =0.004), as assessed by the Foot and Ankle Module of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Lower Limb Outcomes Assessment Instrument. (Figure 1). Training did not appear to have any adverse effect on fracture healing, as was evident on radiograph.