How can you get access to an AlterG treadmill when the physical therapy place says no? Well, that’s we’re talking about today on the Doc On The Run Podcast.
Today’s episode comes from a bunch of questions I’ve gotten recently about this thing called an AlterG treadmill. First of all, I do not own an AlterG treadmill. I do not own the company. I don’t own stock in the company. I do not get paid a referral fee or anything else if you use one. So I’m not pitching this because I get paid for it. But the AlterG treadmill is a tool that I not only use frequently with athletes who are returning to running, but it is a thing that I teach physicians at conferences to use with their patients as well.
The AlterG treadmill can be really helpful, but it’s a little trick to get into one sometimes because you can’t just buy one, they’re super expensive, but they’re very valuable. So sometimes physical therapy places will have them so that their patients who are just returning to weightbearing can do so at reduced forces of gravity. Now, this is going to be really helpful to reduce the stress and strain on the tissue, but sometimes when you call them, you get a couple of blanket answers. We can’t do that. We only use those with our patients. Sorry, you have to have a prescription. Sorry, we only use those with our patients who are doing physical therapy here.
I’ve had lots of patients get that kind of resistance when they go try to get into an AlterG treadmill, but I learned a trick that I didn’t come up with, but a really brilliant sales guy that I talked to who was a patient at the time. He actually did this, and then he called me back and he told me he got into this place that I knew was notoriously difficult to get into and to get on the AlterG treadmill. I said, “How’d you do that?” He said, “Really simple. I try to figure out their problem. I try to find a solution. I try to offer them a solution that’s going to work for them that does not create any problems. It’s basic sales.” “Okay, what’d you do?” He said, “Well, what I did was I called this physical therapy place.” They said, “Yeah, we have one.” I said, “Great, can I use it?” And they said, “No, we only let people use it who are doing physical therapy or whatever. And whenever people are doing physical therapy, it’s always occupied.”
I said, “Okay.” Hung up at the phone. I called back. I changed my voice. They wouldn’t recognize my voice and the same person that answered the phone, when she answered, I said, “Can I speak to your manager, please?” And she transferred me to the manager. At which point I said, “Hi there. My doctor told me to call your facility. He said you have an AlterG treadmill. Do you have an AlterG treadmill?” “Yes, we do.” “Okay, great.” “So I don’t need physical therapy right now, but I have a couple of real quick questions for you. Number one, are there any hours in your facility when the AlterG treadmill is never in use?” “Well, yeah, actually we have meetings in the morning, and they go from 7:30 to 9:00, and nobody ever uses it then because we’re not doing patient care then.” “Oh, okay. Great. Are there any times in the afternoon when it’s not in use either?” “Well, yeah, usually from 4:30 to 5:00 it’s not in use because we’re kind of wrapping up and we don’t have time to start people and monitor them in the treadmill.” “Okay, great.”
“So it sounds like there are times first thing in the morning and at the end of the day when the AlterG treadmill is never in use. Is that right?” “Yes.” “Okay. Is it possible that I might be able to come in and just pay you to use the AlterG during those hours where it’s never in use and not ever generating any revenue for your company?” “Oh, well, sure.” “Okay, great. Let’s get that set up.”
Again, this is not my idea, but it is a great one, and I often tell patients to use it, and maybe you’ll find it useful too. So try it out, post in the comments, and let me know how it goes.