Digitizing the O&P Practice – 3D printed custom Insoles

Digitizing the O&P Practice - 3D printed custom Insoles

Manoj Pillai

Leading the AM division of Falcon Technologies International. Looking for growth through industrial applications in polymer and metal AM through, scaling locally, international collaborations and inorganic growth.

Garima Chawla

BD manager, AM

Falcon Technologies International

Ras Al-Khaimah

This first part of Digitizing the O&P Practice article on 3D printed custom insoles summarizes the benefits of the same and how Falcon Technologies have adopted the technology.

A perfectly fitting footwear is like a perfectly aligned wheel for a car. With the correct footwear, the comfort level increases multifold, keeps the body in correct posture, reduces the pressure points in the feet, balances the weight of the body equally. For people who has a feet problem, either a flat foot or diabetes related complication, the normal shoes won’t work and will need a customized solution. The most affordable one is a custom insole manufactured as per the requirement of the patient which can be used in all the shoes that the person wears. When it comes to mass customization, 3D printing is the solution. This article summarizes the benefits of customized insoles and how Falcon Technologies have adopted that using HP MJF Technology. Read further to know more.

A removable shoe insert, also known as foot orthosis or insole can solve several problems, including the following: daily wear comfort, treatment for Planter Fasciitis, supporting the arch relief from arthritis, low back ache, knee pain, leg length discrepancy etc.

Globally the insole market is around US$ 34.4 billion. The global insoles market is projected to garner momentum at a compound annual growth rate of more than 7% over the next 10 years. By 2031-end, the market is anticipated to exceed US$ 70 Bn. (Source)

 

Figure-1-Custom-Insole

According to the research, 3D printed customized insoles are gaining high popularity. These insoles are manufactured in less time and are highly ergonomic in nature.

Over the counter partially custom insoles are available very easily at drug stores in small, medium & large sizes.However,the “one size fit all” policy doesn’t work for patients with a clinical problem. Patients would have different issues, anatomy and lifestyle pattens. Therefore, the best insole that can provide you comfort would be a customized one and 3D printing offers the best solution when it comes to mass customization.

Benefits of 3D Printed and Customized Insoles

  • Precise fit – The custom insoles are made based on your unique health history and the type of shoes you prefer to wear.
  • Relief from pain – Providing support and cushion which act as shock absorber when you walk, helps preventing excessive load on your joints
  • Injury prevention- Extra support for your feet and ankles significantly reduces your risk of further foot or ankle injuries, including fractures and sprains. Your custom insoles provide a stable surface that completely supports your foot and leg motions.

 

Digitizing the O&P Practice - 3D printed custom Insoles
Figure 2: Traditional Custom Insole Fabrication

Whom to consultfor the foot assessment?

 

A podiatrist should be consulted who will check your condition and will recommend the appropriate treatment plan, a badly designed insole can affect the entire body and can cause issues including back pain.The podiatrist will take the measurements give the prescription and may refer you to an orthotics and prosthetic clinic who will make the customized insole for you. The podiatrist or the clinician will make the measurement which could be using a foam box or using a plaster cast or using digital scanners which we as a 3D printing service bureau will advise.

Traditional methods of making in insole is by making the mold either from a foam box impression or from the cast.

Converting to Digital Workflow using 3D scanning

Conventional methods of making an insole requires the data is collected using a foam box or a plaster scan. This is very cumbersome, additionally if the foam box or the cast needs to be sent to a fabrication unit, it causes additional time and effort. The plaster can get damaged in transit and disturb the data and if it takes a lot of space to store the casts. Falcon Technologies International is supporting the clinicians and O&P practitioners to convert the process into a digital workflow. In the modern practicewe can use a digital a scanner and save ample amount of time and provide much accurate results. These scans are made by having the patient place the foot on a flat surface with line of sight available for the digital scanner. A very simple solution is use an ipad and structured scanner.

Digitizing the O&P Practice - 3D printed custom Insoles
Figure 3: IPad with Structure Sensor used for scanning
Figure 4: Digital scanner used for Custom Insole measurement

Once the data is acquired, the clinician and design the insole or the data can be digitally transferred to Falcon Technologies with the prescription, and we will complete the design and print the shell. The process of design and delivery completes within in less than 3 days. More about the design and conversion of the digital workflow will be detailed in the follow-up article. You may contact us on fti.3D@falconrak.ae or manoj.pillai@falconrak.ae or Garima.chawla@falconrak.ae for more detials.

To learn more do register for the webinar on on Advantages of in Orthotic and Prosthetic Applications scheduled
on 6 Sept 2022, 3:00 PM UAE time. (Register – https://bit.ly/AMC-Middleeast-2)

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Manoj Pillai
AVP Commercial, Additive Manufacturing at Falcon Technologies International LLC

Leading the AM division of Falcon Technologies International. Looking for growth through industrial applications in polymer and metal AM through, scaling locally, international collaborations and inorganic growth.

Garima Chawla

BD manager, AM

Falcon Technologies International

Ras Al-Khaimah