What Orthotic Technology Gives Accurate Information About Your Foot?

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: The Wild West we call the Orthotics Industry – Orthotics and Technology (The Bad)

“For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.” -Richard P. Feynman

No technology is actually “bad”. Information derived from technology tells us something. The “something” that we learn however, may or may not accurately, and reliably, describe what we really need to know.

Companies in the foot orthotic industry have been using creative wording to overstate their technology’s capabilities regarding foot orthotic fabrication for far too long.

foot printingPressure plates (foot printing) and photocopying are examples of good technologies, misused to create the illusion of providing important orthotic information.

The most important and obvious flaw of these systems is the lack of any way to capture the physical anatomy of the foot in 3-dimensions.

True custom-made foot orthoses are made from a 3-dimensional model of the foot.

foot castingCasting methods for obtaining this model include direct plaster or foam impressions and laser scanners that take images from multiple angles.

“Custom-made” is not the same as “customized” and walking across a pressure plate or standing on a photo scanner will never result in a custom-made orthotic because the information is only 2-dimensional.

Laboratories using these technologies rely on a library of pre-manufactured shells, molds and/or digitally stored foot shapes to create the customized inserts.

 

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