The Cool Things That Happen in an Orthotics Lab

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The Cool Things That Happen in an Orthotics Lab

The orthotics lab at Horton’s Orthotics & Prosthetics is always evolving to keep up with the latest technology and develop our own new ideas.

Custom orthotics fill a great need for people who suffer from mobility-limiting injuries and diseases, but much of the incredible work found in the field is done behind closed doors in orthotic labs around the world. Have you ever wondered where technology and medicine intersect? You can see it happening every day through the technology used in orthotics fabrication.

Many orthotists, including those in the Horton’s family, are on a constant, ongoing quest to better patients’ lives through innovation. The goal is to provide better braces, footwear, and other devices with more customization, durability, and capability than ever before in history. This work starts by utilizing some intricate technology and continuing to push boundaries.

Computer and Laser Technology

Prior to technology becoming an accessible, affordable presence in every orthotic lab, custom orthotics such as shoe inserts were made by hand. The patient’s foot might be cast in a medium, or an impression might be taken, but even the slightest shift or change in that material as it dried could affect the finished product.

With the creation of laser-assisted measurement systems, orthotic labs can now make a “dry” impression that scans a patient’s foot from all angles at once. This technique increased the availability of customizable features considerably, allowing for better support, more mobility, and increased strength today.

3D Printing

The potential uses of 3D printing are being developing and discussed in practically every industry, including orthotics. While plastic is the favored medium in most 3D printed applications, new cryogenic manufacturing techniques allow orthotic technicians to create a variety of insoles – including customized sport shoe inserts out of EVA foam. The speed of creation, typically no more than a few hours at most, ensures that patients can experience relief quickly and get the corrections they need without weeks of waiting for manually-created pieces.

This technology is also a huge bonus for limb prosthetics, as the circumstances of limb loss or absence vary widely, and it can be difficult to design a receiving “cup” that fits all users. Through a combination of initial laser-assisted measurement and custom 3D printed prosthetics, patients in need of an artificial limb can receive assistive devices made just for them.

Customized Systems and Devices

Today’s orthotics are not used merely to stabilize or brace – in some cases, they are also used to help patients regain a lost center of balance. Even if balance problems are not present, an uneven gait can eventually cause misalignments along the entire back and skeletal structure if left untreated.

Orthotics labs today are addressing this problem by designing dynamic orthotics solutions that help restore not only range of motion, but also static stance and weight-bearing positions to help ‘train” patients’ bodies to both move and rest in the correct position for optimal musculoskeletal balance.

Two excellent examples are orthotic innovations developed at Horton’s. In 2001, Gary Horton released the Stance Control Orthotic Knee Joint (SCOKJ) and initiated a new era in stance control orthoses. Unlike other devices in the market, the SCOKJ initiates a more normal gait and walking pattern by supporting safe flexion while protecting overextension. In 2003, the Horton Click was released. This patented device keeps slot shoes attached to hip abduction bars.

Your journey can be an uphill one when facing misalignments, limb loss, and degenerative diseases. The orthotic lab at Horton’s Orthotics and Prosthetics is ready to help you reach for your goals and take a step into a better future, one device at a time. Contact us today to experience what the technology used in orthotics can do for you today by calling 501.683.8889.

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