Step Up (Onto) the Plate
In the past (and in many offices still today), a podiatrist would create a mold of a patient’s foot using plaster or a foam box. These methods were relatively sound for what we had to work with, but are not without drawbacks.
There was a good chance these models didn’t provide a fully accurate and comprehensive image of the foot. Things can shift, break, and settle—especially when the model had to be shipped to a lab where the orthotics are actually made.
They also weren’t able to show us how weight was being distributed across the foot as you move, which is extremely helpful in identifying “hot spots” and areas that may need further support.
There’s a whole new system in town, however, and it provides us clearer insight than ever before!
Our FitStation technology has two distinct parts: an advanced 3D scanner and a sensitive “gait plate.”
First, a patient stands on the scanner, which captures a digital, 3D image of the foot and lower leg from all angles, using multiple cameras. All you have to do is just stand still for a short amount of time.
Second, we ask a patient to walk across our “gait plate,” a panel lined with 4,000 sensors. This provides a real-time look into how your foot is exerting pressure against the ground, and where you might potentially need added support.
Easy Steps to Custom Orthotics
The data from both of these tools is gathered and worked with digitally. We analyze it thoroughly—along with what we have gathered from a standard physical examination—and use it all to prescribe exact specifications for a pair of custom orthotic inserts.
Since everything is digital, we can send our prescription to our fabrication lab in an instant—no more waiting to ship things. The lab creates the custom orthotics using a 3D printer, using an advanced lattice design. The results are very durable, dynamic to each patient’s foot shape and motion, and made exactly to specification instead of hewn out of one piece of material. It adds so much more “custom” to “custom orthotics.”
This new custom orthotics process is much more friendly to the environment, too. As you might have inferred earlier, we don’t have to ship a foam box or plaster mold to the lab. We don’t even need these items at all anymore! The 3D printing process is also has extremely minimal waste. The material powder used in the creation is a lot like ink in a “normal” printer. The lab can just keep using the excess on additional orthotics!