When custom orthotics are prescribed as a treatment for a patient, both design and precision are vastly important.
The closer we can fit custom orthotics to each patient’s individual needs, the better an effect it will have on their comfort and mobility. That, in turn, has a greater effect on our patients’ quality of life and satisfaction.
We like that.
That is why we are so happy to announce we are now using an advanced method of orthotics technology to gain deeper insight into our patients’ foot structures and gait mechanics than ever before, and then using that information to have simply outstanding orthotics crafted for their needs!
It’s called Go 4-D, and it’s very cool.
How Go 4-D Revolutionizes the Custom Orthotics Process
Custom orthotics work by providing exact amounts of cushioning and corrective support to each patient’s feet. This can help counter the negative effects that structural abnormalities (such as flat feet) and gait abnormalities (such as overpronation) can have on foot comfort, and sometimes even pain in the knees, back, and hips.
So, when prescribing custom orthotics, it pays to be right on the money. Every situation is different, and different patients often require subtle differences, variations, and adjustments to a prescription. Just a few millimeters or degrees here or there can make a big difference!
To have orthotics made, a model of a patient’s feet must be used as a base.
Formerly, these models were made using casts or impressions. They are a satisfactory method of getting a patient’s foot shape, but not without reservations. It’s easy for imperfections to show up using such methods (especially when you have to ship them back and forth to a lab), and it doesn’t quite provide a comprehensive picture. In particular, potentially useful data about how the feet distributes pressure at each stage of the gait cycle isn’t really captured using impressions alone.
But now, with Go-4D technology, the way we capture a patient’s foot shape is drastically improved—and we have even more information to take advantage of!
That is thanks to our new 3D laser scanner and pressure-sensitive gait plate. These tools change the process countless times for the better!
Instead of stepping into a foam box or having to cast a mold of your feet, you simply stand on the scanner. It captures a fully 3D image of your foot and lower leg from all angles, and allows us to easily analyze and use the data as we need it.
Next, we can examine your gait in real-time using our pressure plate. With more than 4,000 sensors built into the device, we can precisely see how weight shifts across your foot as you walk. This gives us an extra advantage in planning a prescription for your custom orthotics, and the way they get made is pretty great, too!
3D Printing for Plantar Comfort
Using the data we derive from your testing, we can then prescribe the perfect custom orthotics for your foot and ankle needs, adjusting different zones by the millimeter or degree.
Our prescription is then sent electronically to a lab (instead of being shipped, as noted above), where they use medical-grade technology to 3D print your pair of orthotics.
Instead of cutting solid pieces of material into the shape needed, 3D printing instead uses nylon bead powder to process your orthotics to our specifications—and in a unique lattice design, too. They come out highly durable, as well as dynamically effective for your feet, as they able to accommodate your specific foot motion with much more precision.
Not only does this method make custom orthotics more effective and customized than previous processes, but it serves the environment better, too.
3D printing means there is much less waste than in cutting and trimming an orthotic. Most of the leftover nylon powder from a printing process can simply go into making the next pair of orthotics the printer has on deck!
And with no need to send casts or molds to the lab, the environmental costs of shipping are cut in half. (We do have to get the orthotics sent to us, after all. At least until they invent teleporters.)
Custom Orthotics for… Now!
We’d say Go 4-D is the custom orthotics technology of the future, but it’s here for you today!
We are one of the first podiatry clinics throughout the state of Michigan to adopt this method of orthotics creation, and that’s because we are serious about providing the best in design and quality to our patients in need. Custom orthotics that provide the precise help you need, can move with you when needed, and require little-to-no adjustments after the fact are the goals we are aiming for.
It’s important to keep in mind that custom orthotics are not our go-to form of treatment for all patients with foot pain, heel pain, or other forms of discomfort. Different situations mean that different forms of treatment will be more effective, but we want to be at our best for anything we recommend.
If you would like to learn more about how we prescribe custom orthotics, or simply need help with a foot or ankle problem, please don’t hesitate to call either of our two offices: (269) 673-8757 for Allegan or (269) 373-1019 for Kalamazoo.
If you prefer to contact us electronically instead, simply fill out our online contact form and a member of our staff will respond to you during our normal office hours.