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The birth of a new invention: How HydroWorx water treadmill was born

Posted Sep 22 2010 11:21am

Hydro Editor's Note: We recently added the HydroWorx water treadmill as an advertising partner. We were curious as to how somebody came up this unique invention. The interesting story is below.

It all started with an unfortunate accident in 1969.

Paul Hetrick, later to become Dr. Paul Hetrick, struck his head violently on a school water fountain and lost the use of his legs as well as much of his motor skills and coordination.

After nine months of his own version of aquatic therapy in a local pool. Doctors were shocked to see the thirteen year old regain the use of his legs. Many years later and always looking to find new ways to rehabilitate patients, Dr. Hetrick witnessed something at a racetrack that would change the course of rehabilitation forever.

It was a water treadmill type machine used for horses and given his own success with Aquatic therapy as a teen, Dr. Hetrick immediately saw the possibilities and set to work creating a human version and the HydroWorx’s water treadmill was born.

That forethought in pairing water with the benefits of a treadmill has changed the face of aquatic therapy forever. As the natural buoyancy of water can eliminate anywhere for 20 to 100% of body weight patients can work their bodies with far less chance of re-injury while building on the muscles or core strength affected by their injury. The ability to use non-weight bearing exercise after an injury has seen a sharp decrease in required rehab time as well as a decline in instances of re-injury.

This is great news not only for athletes or sports enthusiasts as water treadmills are not just for those elite few. They are actively used for general strength and fitness for those with mobility restrictions and for rehab after traumatic injuries such as strokes, heart attacks and car accidents. Aquatic therapy with the added benefits of a water treadmill can get patients back on their feet and once again enjoying the activities of their normal daily lives.

What started out as an unlucky accident for a precocious thirteen year old boy was turned into a universally accepted and proven method of rehabilitation for everyone. Sometimes the most ground breaking discoveries are found in the strangest places.

Click HERE for more info on the HydroWorx water treadmill.

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