UK researchers receive grant to develop 3-D printed orthoses

Researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University, in partnership with the University of Newcastle and SME Peacocks Medical Group, have received a grant for the U.K. equivalent of about $115,000 for the design and manufacture of innovative foot orthoses using 3-D printing technologies.

“We are confident that we can successfully 3-D print new orthotic insole devices,” Gordon Hendry, PhD, a researcher for the project, stated in a Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) press release. “This project will now enable us to improve each [orthosis] tailored to the individual patient according to whatever foot problem they have.”

According to the release, the Small Business Research Initiative Healthcare development contract from the National Health Service in England “was awarded following a call to address challenges in improving diagnosis, self-management and prevention of musculoskeletal disorders.” The funding will back the “FootFEMan” project, which uses finite elemental analysis to improve the functional design of orthotic devices for individual patients. Designs will be 3-D printed using techniques developed by the team’s European Union-funded project, A-FOOTPRINT.

“We will test the new projects in controlled clinical studies here at GCU to see if we can improve foot function during walking and further less disabling foot symptoms,” Hendry stated in the release.

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