Lightspeed Lift Helps People Walk Better Again
Local Invention Helps Northlander's Get Back On Their Feet Again
DULUTH, Minn. — In this week’s Knowing Your Neighbors a local physical therapist is helping give the gift of motion back through his personal invention that helps Northlander’s get back on their feet again.
It’s called “Lightspeed Lift” and this creation all started with an idea that was sparked back in the early 90’s. Duluth physical therapist Malcolm Macaulay has been in the industry for 32 years now and his unique invention is to help the old and injured gain confidence to stand up and walk again.
“To get back into and walk fast enough that they can get across the street before a car mows them over is important.” explained Macaulay.
There is a real concern for people who struggle with hip and knee replacements, or side effects after a stroke, living with cerebral palsy or involved in car accidents and other injuries.
“To bridge the gap between when people are first getting on their feet and when they have a little hitch in their giddy up, I wanted to come up with a way that they can support them. By taking some of the weight off, to make them more stable and make them more confident.” said Macaulay.
It’s a steel frame that goes around a treadmill, with adjusting it up or down, you can take the weight off of someone and help stabilize them better.
“The reason I developed it was to help people move better.” said Macaulay.
It’s made of stable structural steel and an overhead catch so that there’s total safety and total control over a person using it.
“The light speed probably has greater overall effect than any single piece of equipment that I’ve used over the years.” explained Macaulay.
It’s said to be beneficial for shedding the extra weight gain too.
“Running or walking with extra weight on you is very difficult and discouraging to people. So by taking 20 –30 pounds off of you is like removing a huge weight. Which lets them get back on and experience success as they start off a program.” said Macaulay.
Helping them walk longer, faster and more confident benefits them in many ways Macaulay says, “Not only while they are using the light speed system but they’ll find that they can do it going across a dance floor again with their partner.”
Even healthy athletes have taken advantage of it too!
“The first person I used body weight support on happened to be a marathon runner! And so he not only was happy to be back on as a marathon runner and being able to run again. But he said this could make anybody run better!” said Macaulay.
This is done by improving stride, mechanics, speed and endurance without getting hurt
“It’s been a lot of fun. It’s actually kept the journey fun over the years. Because I am a runner myself and so I understand the frustration and the psychosis that develops if a runner can’t run.” says Macaulay.
But what matters most to Macaulay is giving the gift of motion back. “To give them some sense that with just a little more work I can actually do this! I may not run a marathon but if I can get to where I can dance in my daughter’s wedding. So if I can help someone walk better, ultimately that makes my job as a physical therapist feel really good.”
In the future he is looking to put Lightspeed Lift in gyms, training centers and even homes.