Are 3D Printed Custom Foot Orthotics the Wave of the Future?
3D printers have made a big splash in the past few years and are now being used by major corporation such as General Electric, Boeing, and Ford.
3D printing technology allows products to be made of just about any shape, using one piece of material. As a result, the finished product is lighter and stronger, made much more quickly and, in the long run, less expensively than via traditional means of manufacturing. This makes them ideal for use in the airplane and automobile industries.
More recently Nike utilized 3D printing for football cleat that were worn in the he 2014 Super Bowl. Each shoe weighed only 5.6 ounces! There is further development in the utilization of 3D printing technology with respect to footwear benefits.
SOLS, an orthotic company based in New York City, is now producing custom foot orthotics made out of nylon. The material is thinner and lighter than traditional foot orthotic materials.
The necessary data to produce a SOLS orthotic unique to each human foot is acquired via an IPad app. The app is utilized to capture the foot in both weight-bearing and off weight-bearing positions. The information is sent immediately to the SOLS laboratory where the 3D printing is performed
Like traditional foot orthotics SOLS can be made to fit any shoe type, but the device fit more readily into dress shoes because of their thin profile. The devices also have a much "springier" feel than traditional orthotics.
The expansion of 3D printing technology into the world of custom foot orthotics appears to be a natural. There is already a waiting list for the new devices, which can be produced without a plaster mold or use of a large scanner. In addition, even at this early stage, 3D printed orthotics are no more expensive than traditional devices. Contact SOLS or Sol Foot & Ankle Centers in Long Beach, CA for information about the availability of SOLS 3D printed orthotics in your area.