SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Runners of all kinds know how it goes—painful nagging injuries that just won’t go away sometimes taking them out of commission completely.
But one local company says its new technology can stop running injuries before they even start. And it goes beyond runners—amateur athletes and even the elderly could benefit from the system.
Pounding the pavement is a popular pastime for many in the Sacramento region like Heidi Wohle, but like with most sports, running can take a toll on the body.
“I’ve had my fair share, plantar fasciitis,” she said. “Trained for an ironman last year, I had a fractured foot.”
But 96 LED lights could prevent injuries before they even happen.
Positioned at the edge of a treadmill at Burger Physical Therapy in Folsom lies brand-new technology that could be the answer to solving runners injuries. It’s called Optogait.
Alison Maxson is an elite runner who is in training for the Olympic trials in Los Angeles next year. We had her hop on and see what happens.
Every time her foot hits the treadmill, the LED lights are interrupted. Those interruptions are translated into exactly what the runner is doing when she runs.
Optogait breaks the gate cycle up into all the phases, load response, toe off, single support, and because it breaks it up we can identify where the asymmetry is coming from,” said Larry Gray with the rehabilitation center.
Then, as Alison continues to run, she can see in real time on the computer in front of her exactly where her gait is lacking efficiency and can fix it.
“Kind of tricky, but it’s really nice having visual feedback because you can feel a little bit with my body but seeing on screen makes it more real and easier to correct,” she said.
So what did she learn?
“The deviations we found might indicate my shoes aren’t the best because when I was barefoot I didn’t have as many deviations as I did with the shoes I’m weaRing so it’s good insight for me,” she said.
But officials with Burger say the system isn’t just for elite runners. It can also help those struggling with balance, weakness or a neurological issue. They say some elderly patients may also benefit from the system, fixing that gait and helping to prevent falls.
According to the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, one in three adults over the age of 65 each year, and falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults.
In 2013, 2.5 million nonfatal falls in older adults were treated in the emergency room, and two-thirds of those in the emergency room were hospitalized with direct medical costs of $34 billion.
With the system, patients would walk on the treadmill and get the same visual feedback athletes do, hopefully getting them to the point of walking without the fear of falling.
Other athletes can also benefit. If your favorite sport involves being on your feet and running around, the Optogait system may help improve your performance on the field or the court.
The system costs $150 for a running evaluation, and insurance may cover it.