The development of the foot orthoses design process

Public (en) | March 8, 2023

Orthèses Talaria

A foot orthosis is a type of orthopedic insole used to ease foot pain and prevent and repair deformities brought on by pathologies or imbalances in the foot biomechanics. While this device has been around for a while, it has developed through time and has come a long way with the advent of 3D foot orthoses. Here is a quick summary of how these specialized insoles have evolved throughout time.

Foot orthoses from ancient times to the 20th century 

Orthoses are hardly novel. Their history actually dates back to about 2000 years before Christ. The first gadgets appear to have been created to ease lumbar pain. During the period, leather and steel were used. Initially, foot orthoses were just simple wool layers inserted into sandals to treat sore feet. 

The earliest foot splints and orthoses emerged in the Middle Ages.

Plaster in the shape of strips started to be used in orthopedic procedures in the 19th century to treat and alleviate a variety of diseases and deformities of the back.

The 20th century saw a rapid advancement in technology. New materials, such as carbon fiber, were introduced to the market, making it possible to manufacture orthoses that were lighter and more comfortable for the time.

The Whitman Brace, developed by an orthopedist in 1905, was one of the first actual foot orthoses. It was a fixed metal object that was positioned around the foot’s arch and heel. Despite the discomfort it brought, it was extremely successful, a true revolution, and the start of a new era for this kind of technology.

The introduction of custom-made foot orthoses

Running and sports shoes grew in popularity throughout the 1970s. This trend emphasizes the necessity for comfort and performance as well as the physical limitations of the human body for those with specific pathologies. In that regard, foot orthoses are coming to the forefront and are an excellent solution. They are no longer hidden or used in rare cases but are beginning to be used widely. They are highly recommended in the treatment of numerous ailments and have come a long way from the early, outdated models.

Foot orthoses’ materials and procedures are forever evolving, with a strong emphasis on personalization. The question is no longer whether or not to produce generic orthopedic insoles, but rather how to build durable and comfortable solutions modeled after the foot of the individual who will wear them. These tools can help treat specific pathologies, such as plantar fasciitis, or at least alleviate their symptoms.

Foot orthoses during the digital revolution 

The digital age is reshaping several industries, including podiatry. The accuracy of custom-made orthoses has improved significantly, and foot orthoses have advanced to a new level. The use of 3D printing enables the development of the highest-quality, completely personalized models over a substantially shorter period of time and with more precise, less expensive manufacturing.

The process is as follows: digital footprinting, display on specialized software, conversion of the image into orthoses, and then 3D printing by a laboratory. Talaria’s cutting-edge technology provides the best in terms of comfort, accuracy, robustness, and design. These are significant advantages for patients as well as orthotists and podiatrists alike.

3D printing: the future of foot orthoses 

Foot orthoses have progressed considerably since their conception. With the advent of models created via 3D printing, they have advanced beyond the straightforward layer of wool to leather or metal supports. The future of orthoses, which is always getting better, looks extremely bright thanks to this technology.

Are you interested in switching to 3D foot orthoses? Contact our experts right now to take advantage of Talaria’s expertise in producing this kind of model.