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flexible 3D printed orthoses

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by Simon Spooner, Nov 17, 2014.

  1. RonDPM

    RonDPM Welcome New Poster

    Just last week had a discussion with the head of one of these companies. I'm not sure how many companies there are, but I would not say the name of the company at this post. We had an somewhat interesting talk.
    His mode is have the doctor to take a number of pictures of the foot: plantar surface, then standing medial, lateral, posterior heel, front of foot. The doctor ( I assume its only professionals, not shoe stores) then answers a few questions, which seemed to be about the lifestyle, shoe style, activity, of the wearer, but they did not involve diagnosis, posting, arch fill, or any other adjustments or requirements we usually ask for. Their system will then analyse the data and print out a device with a 3-D printer which will take a couple of weeks to be sent back to us.
    I asked his background, which he said was mechanical engineer. I asked if he was familiar with any of the present podiatric theories of foot biomechanics and orthotics (giving him the benefit of the doubt, since I'm a Root proponent). He answered about algorithms that he had developed by examining data on a large number of feet. I asked about what basis he had for using these algorithms and what they did. I was given the impression that the results were still being developed. I asked him about why he was taking a scan in a weight bearing position and therefore capturing the deformity. I was told the computer will take that into account.
    I suggested to him that he could use an existing off or semi-weight bearing scan system and get better data of the foot in a corrected position, but I got the impression that his system was not interested in that sort of thing..
    The orthotic ( if it should be called such) was about 2 mm thick with a deep heel seat, no posting either forefoot or rear, a 1st met drop or a somewhat modified Cuffy post and it seemed to be very flexible under moderate load. I was dubious about what it was supposed to do and what it would really do for any particular foot problem.
    I found some other parts of the discussion somewhat strange, but I will limit my response to the orthotic itself.
    I personally did not feel it would be of any use to my practice.

    Ron Werter, DPM
  2. Ron,

    To be clear, when I said this looks promising I was referring to the material being employed to print the device. Clearly the process of 3D printing has great potential for foot orthoses manufacture but one of the limiting factors has been the range of materials available, this flexible material (on the surface) appears to offer a relative break-through in this field.

    I agree with your points regarding some of the corporates pushing the technology, but it is not the technology which is the weak link here in your case in point.
  3. Admin2

    Admin2 Administrator Staff Member

  4. Surely we can add a quick EVA post as required? The post is old though, but are we able to print orthotics with less weak lines in the shell due to the printing process? It's 2 years later. Asking the question is valid. I noticed with my online search that there ar USA, UK and Aus based labs that make use of 3D printers. I'm not referring to Sols.

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