Alter G Treadmill Defies Gravity to Help Patients Heal

By Katrina Dupins

Haley Franklin

Haley Franklin is a point guard, shooting guard for the E-Stem Lady Mets. (submitted image)

reconstruct a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her knee.

“It happened when we were going over plays in practice. I bumped into another person and twisted my knee,” Franklin said. “That was in March.”

Franklin is a point guard, shooting guard for the E-Stem Lady Mets. The two-time MVP averages about 12 points per game and helped lead the team to the Regional Tournament last season.


Lawrence O’Malley, M.D. is a UAMS orthopaedic surgeon.

“It’s bittersweet,” Franklin says about entering her final high school season. “I get to play one more time with the people I grew up with and I also get to help encourage the new squad coming in.”

UAMS recently received a special AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill for rehabilitating patients like Franklin who are not able to put their full body weight on their legs. The AlterG Treadmill helps patients gain strength and recover mobility after an injury by using NASA technology to reduce their body weight.

Lawrence O’Malley, M.D., an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist, repaired Franklin’s ACL.

“This tool is a great option for patients after surgery,” O’Malley said. “A lot of surgeries – particularly knee surgery – results in the patient not being able to put their full weight on their leg. That can be a problem when it comes to rehabilitation. This machine allows them to walk without putting their full weight on their knees. It gets the muscles firing so they don’t atrophy.”

Franklin’s physical therapist, Caitlin Mallinger, says they have used the treadmill often since it arrived at the UAMS Orthopaedic Clinic on Colonel Glenn Road.

Franklin on treadmill

Haley Franklin prepares for a physical therapy session on the anti-gravity treadmill.

“Not only is the treadmill helpful for athletes, we also use it for seniors who have arthritis in their knees,” Mallinger said.

Franklin saw Mallinger three times a week at the beginning of her therapy sessions. Now she is down to twice a week and runs a few miles on the AlterG Treadmill each visit.

“This is definitely getting her back to full capacity much faster,” Mallinger said.

Franklin says it feels a lot like floating when she’s on the treadmill, which can reduce a person’s body weight by up to 80 percent.

“I noticed the treadmill helps me trust my knee more,” Franklin said. “When you’re hurt, you don’t want to put a lot of weight on it. But this helps me overcome that hesitation.”