Evaluating the Performance of 3D Printed Foot Orthoses for People with Flat Feet

Share this Article

People with conditions such as flat feet often turn to custom foot orthoses (FOs), which can be fabricated using 3D printing and scanning technologies at a reduced cost in less time. A team of researchers from Taiwan recently conducted a study, titled “Biomechanical Evaluation and Strength Test of 3D-Printed Foot Orthoses,” in order to evaluate the use of 3D printed FOs by people with flat feet.

“The purposes of this study were to fabricate FOs using low-cost 3D printing techniques and evaluate the mechanical properties and biomechanical effects of the 3D-printed FOs in individuals with flexible flatfoot,” the researchers wrote.

Figure 1: Fabrication of the 3D printed FOs. (c) Extraction of the FO shape from the foot model. (d) Solid FO model imported into Cura to be sliced and output as G-Code.

They 3D printed 18 FO samples, at orientations of 0°, 45°, and 90°, and subjected them to human motion analysis, with 12 flatfooted individuals, as well as mechanical testing to determine their maximum compressive load and stiffness.

The researchers 3D scanned the participants’ feet, and exported the result as an STL file, which was edited with Autodesk Meshmixer software and 3D printed out of PLA filament on an Infinity X1 FDM 3D printer. The build parameters of the FOs were defined using Ultimaker Cura 3.3 software.

“Because no standard tests for FOs exist, we designed a procedure to test the stiffness of the FOs,” the researchers explained. “A rectangular fixture measuring was placed on the lateral side of each FO.”

Then, six 3D printed FOs for each build orientation were put through dynamic compression, and the team collected displacement and reaction force data. An ANOVA, or one-way analysis of variance, test, and a post hoc Tukey’s test, were also completed in order to compare the maximum compressive load and stiffness of the FOs.

(e) FO 3D printed using an Infinity X1 3D printer. (f) Top view and (g) rear view of the 3D printed FO.

“The executed compressive tests revealed that the 45° and 90° build orientations engendered similar load and displacement behaviors in the FOs when the displacement was less than 5 mm,” they wrote. “The ANOVA revealed differences between groups. The Tukey test demonstrated that the maximum load in the FOs fabricated using the 45° build orientation ( N) was significantly greater than those in the FOs fabricated using the 90° ( N) and 0° ( N) build orientations.”

The participants were also subjected to a motion capture experiment, where both kinematic and kinetic data were collected by an eight-camera 3D Vicon motion analysis system. They had to “perform five trials of level walking at a self-selected speed” wearing standard shoes, and then the shoes embedded with 3D printed FOs.

The team again performed an ANOVA test to compare mechanical parameters of the FOs from each of the three build orientations; a paired-sample test was also conducted in order to compare biomechanical variables from the motion capture tests.

“The results indicated that the 45° build orientation produced the strongest FOs. In addition, the maximum ankle evertor and external rotator moments under the Shoe+FO condition were significantly reduced by 35% and 16%, respectively, but the maximum ankle plantar flexor moments increased by 3%, compared with the Shoe condition. No significant difference in ground reaction force was observed between the two conditions,” the researchers wrote. “This study demonstrated that 3D-printed FOs could alter the ankle joint moments during gait.

“We can conclude that the low-cost 3D printing technology has the capability of fabricating custom FOs with sufficient support to correct foot abnormalities. We provide evidence that such FOs engender biomechanical changes and positively influence individuals with flexible flatfoot.”

Co-authors of the paper were Kuang-Wei LinChia-Jung HuWen-Wen YangLi-Wei ChouShun-Hwa WeiChen-Sheng Chen, and Pi-Chang Sun.

What do you think about this news? Discuss this story and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below. 

Share this Article


Recent News

Italy: Studying Properties & Geometry of Scaffold-Like Structures for Tissue Engineering

The State of 3D Printing in Heavy Equipment



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

Volvo’s Conservation Project: 3D Printed Tiles for a Living Seawall at Sydney Harbour

Oysters, seaweed, fish, algae and many more organisms have a new home at North Sydney Harbour. At one of the world’s largest Living Seawalls in Bradfield Park, an ocean conservation...

Volvo CE Adopts 3D Printing for Spare Parts and Prototyping

Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) is one of the largest companies in the construction equipment industry, with more than 14,000 employees worldwide. The company’s values center around sustainability and innovation,...

Metal Additive Manufacturing Helps Renault Trucks Reduce Weight of 4-Cylinder Engine by 25% Using 3D Printed Components

In spring of 2015, 3D artist and designer Bernhard Bauer used Blender to 3D model, from scratch, and 3D print a 1:14 scale Renault delivery truck replica for one of...

Old Meets New in Latest OpenRC Tire Design from Thomas Palm

Leif Tufvesson loves cars. He spent part of his career working as a technician for Volvo’s Research and Development Department in Gothenburg, Sweden, followed by a six-year stint at the...


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.


Services & Data

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our 3DPrint.com.

You have Successfully Subscribed!