The world of orthotics is seeing some exciting developments as we move away from the traditional practice of creating orthotics toward a more sustainable, patient friendly service. Orthotics are shoe inserts worn to give support to an injured or weak part of the body which is causing pain, discomfort or damage. A device this vital for day to day comfort must be made with the closest attention to detail and speed to provide a patient with lasting relief as soon as possible.
Until recently, the skilled construction of orthotics has been difficult to perfect. Between consultations, measurements, design and moulds, a patient could be waiting anywhere from 2-4 weeks to receive the support which will revolutionise their standard of life.
The limitations on mixed materials and the obvious flaws which come with using a mould have put a ceiling on how much can be achieved in treating patients with ailments such as back pain and arthritis. The needs identified by a specialist were not necessarily being met by the best solution available.
Moving Forward: 3D Scanning and Printing
This new practice for creating orthotics has proven to be revolutionary in that the limitations of the traditional practice have all been addressed and remedied.
The first stage of the process is an advanced 3-dimensional scan of that which enhances the accuracy of the orthotic by detailing the exact dimensions necessary down to less than a millimetre. This is significantly less invasive than the previous method and will cause no discomfort to the patient.
The scan is then used to produce the highest quality orthotic using a mix of materials, thicknesses and flexibility catered perfectly to the needs of the individual patient. While this was always the aim in the traditional method, the level of accuracy now achieved is unparalleled.
The number of consultations necessary is significantly reduced to as few as one as the use of computer software makes it possible for as many customisations as necessary without the extra time or cost.
One of the most incredible achievements of this technology is how much it has reduced the waiting time. Anybody in need of orthotics is generally in need of them the moment they walk through the door and the 2-4 week wait would be uncomfortable and inconvenient. With this technology, it is likely that a patient could leave with their orthotics as soon as the same day.
This technology works seamlessly with the knowledge of specialists as to the precise, custom needs of each individual to patient eliminating frustration, discomfort and wasted time.