So the time has finally come. It is now possible to make 3D printed orthotics. 3D printing started out with many industrial applications, but not until recently have there been health care applications. The company leading the 3D printed orthotic revolution is Sols. You can read about the company and their amazing start up here: http://www.sols.com/. Here’s how it works.
Here’s how it works
The foot is captured using an iPad. Utilizing a process called photogrammetry, the Sols app takes hundreds of photos of the patient’s feet and stitches them together, creating a detailed virtual model in approximately 30 seconds.
A podiatrist can use a simple, web-based tool to add the therapeutic modifications, like altering the arch or repositioning the foot. The Sols app can automatically correct common issues using textbook adjustment techniques and if a patient has particularly challenging feet, customizations can be made in the design tool.
The finalized CAD model is sent to a Sols manufacturing facility where a selective laser sintering 3D printer fuses a special blend of nylon powder into a durable, anti-microbial, and stylish foot support.
After having made a few sample orthotics at our office I can finally compare these devices to traditionally made custom foot orthotics. The most striking difference is how thin and streamline they are in comparison to traditional orthotics. This is good news since the biggest drawback to orthotics has been how bulky they are and difficult to fit in shoes other than sneakers. I’m glad we can be at the cutting edge of this new technology and I am looking forward to getting more patient feedback from this new dimension of our business.
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