August 2012

Cover Story

Can AFOs help prevent falls?

Studies suggest that ankle foot orthoses can improve balance in some individuals, so it might seem logical that they would also help prevent falls. But the medical literature has yet to reveal a direct con­nection between AFOs and falls risk, and as a result the issue has become a mag­net for debate.

By Cary Groner

Editor Message

Out on a limb: Olympic inspiration

Images from the London Olympics were everywhere in late July and early August—on our televisions, our radios, our computer screens, and our smart phones. Flags were flown, national anthems played, and countries ranked by medal count. In so many ways, the Olympics are about the achievements of individual nations. But a closer look reveals a more complex picture.

Jordana Bieze Foster, Editor


Special Report

CONFERENCE COVERAGE: Orthotics Technology Forum 2012

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Orthotic laboratory managers, CAD-CAM technology experts, and lower extremity practitioners convened in Manchester, UK, in July to share ideas and experiences related to the automated design and manufacture of foot orthotic devices.

By Jordana Bieze Foster

Sponsored by an educational grant from…

Future of Orthotic Design will focus on practitioners

Foot orthotic laboratories have long been the principal players in the computer aided design and computer aided manufacturing (CAD-CAM) of foot orthoses. But practitioners are gradually starting to play a bigger role in the process—a development that dramatically enhances the potential for clinical creativity but also introduces an extra element of uncertainty.


Computer aided manufacturing is anything but a one-size-fits-all proposition. Customers have a range of variables to choose from, and making the right decision in most cases depends on knowing what type of orthotic material the machine will be asked to handle.

High-tech heel pad tissue analysis: Orthotic implications

The use of technology to improve orthotic design is not limited to CAD-CAM applications, as demonstrated by University of Salford researchers in two presentations at the Orthotics Technology Forum.

Additive manufacturing inches toward prime time

The fledgling field of additive manufacturing is still somewhat fragmented, as evidenced by the fact that the same technology can be described as rapid prototyping or 3D printing. But additive manufacturing’s profile is definitely on the rise, and its advocates are optimistic that lower extremity clinical applications are right around the corner.


Load cells enhance study of prosthetic foot rollover

A new technology, the load cell, can be used to assess rollover characteristics of prosthetic feet in a variety of walking envi­ronments. Load cell analysis can help identify premature foot-flat and dead spots and determine the effects of energy stor­age and return designs on amputee gait.

By Edward S. Neumann, PhD, PE, CP, FAAOP; Justin Brink, MSE, EI; Kartheek Yalamanchili, MSE, EI; and Joon S. Lee, PhD

Idiopathic toe walking: Insights on intervention

As researchers explore the possibility that idiopathic toe walking has an underlying neurologic cause, clinicians continue to refine treatment strategies to keep ITW patients off their toes. Orthotic devices play a key role, with lower-profile devices growing in popularity.

By Emily Delzell

Gait alterations associated with diabetic neuropathy

Inconsistent findings from laboratory stud­­ies have made it difficult to deter­mine which gait alterations are specific to diabetic peripheral neuropathy and which also affect diabetic patients with­out neuropathy. Body-worn sensor tech­nol­ogy may help clarify the distinctions.

By Tahir Khan, DPM, and Ron Guberman, DPM, DABPS

Acute stretching debate approaches a consensus

Experts still disagree about whether stretch­­ing prior to athletic activity can prevent injury and, if so, whether those ben­e­fits offset any negative performance effects. But they do tend to agree that some form of stretching is probably a good idea for most athletes.

By Cary Groner

OA bracing: Longer use does not impair strength

Dose-response research refutes the com­mon perception that increasing brace wear time leads to muscle atrophy in patients with knee osteoarthritis. In fact, longer bracing duration appears to im­prove hamstring strength as well as in­creas­ing patients’ physical activity levels.

By Cheryl L. Hubley-Kozey, PhD, and Gillian Hatfield Murdock, PT, MSc


In the Moment: Footcare

By Emily Delzell

Clubfoot conversion: Nearly all surgeons adopt Ponseti method

The shift away from aggressive surgery to correct clubfoot in now all but complete, according to research published in July in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics (JPO). The study shows the Ponseti me­thod is now the treatment of choice for the vast majority of practitioners and that increased understanding of the technique has resulted in better outcomes.

Selective plantar fascia release assists healing of recalcitrant forefoot ulcers

Korean surgeons have developed an alternative to Achilles tendon lengthening for reducing plantar pressure and promoting wound healing in patients with diabetic foot ulcers.

Study finds noise-enhanced insoles reduce gait variability in older adults

A subsensory level of mechanical noise delivered directly to the foot soles of healthy older adults during walking has the potential to normalize gait variability and possibly reduce the risk of falls, according to research published in July in Gait & Posture.

Market Mechanics

US sprinter will debut prosthetic running foot at Paralympic games
US Paralympic track and field athlete Richard Browne will compete in the London games wearing Freedom Innovations’ Catapult Running Foot, a high-tech prosthetic designed to maximize energy return. Browne is slated to compete in the 100-m dash and the high jump ...
DJO Surgical inks deal with researchers to develop osseointegrated prosthesis
San Diego-based DJO Global’s surgical business unit signed a deal in July with the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, to develop an alternative to traditional socket technology, a percutaneous osseointegrated prosthesis (POP) for above the knee amputees. The POP involves ...
Napa Valley hosts foot pathology event
Napa, CA-based ProLab Orthotics and the College of Podiatric Medicine, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, CA, will hold “Solutions to Foot Pathology” in the Napa Valley  October 19-21. During the seminar, which coincides with the annual grape harvest, faculty ...
Superfeet opens UK operations center
Ferndale, WA-based Superfeet Worldwide assumed direct responsibility in July for all its European distribution through a new operations center in Edinburgh, Scotland. Superfeet will also begin distributing its products and systems directly to retailers in the UK and Ireland. The UK expansion ...
Gait and foot function seminars scheduled
Boston-based Tekscan is slated to host three gait and foot function analysis seminars this fall on plantar pressure mapping technology. Seminars are scheduled for September 15-16, Washington DC; October 13-14, Fort Worth, TX; and November 17-18, Toron­to, Canada. For more information or ...
Texas podiatric foundation awards grants
Commerce City, CO-based Mile High Orthotics Lab helped fund the first annual scholarship grants awarded June 30 by the Texas Podiatric Medical Foundation at its state meeting in Galveston. The recipients of the grants, which were open to Texas residents with ...
i-FAB-PG publishes consensus on PMD
An international scientific group has published its final consensus document on plantar pressure measurement devices. The Pedobarographic Group of the International Foot and Ankle Biomechanics (i-FAB-PG) released the paper in July, presenting the group’s consensus on the definition and standardization ...
Pennsylvania sets licensure standards
In July Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett approved HB 48, which amends the Pennsylvania Medical Practices Act of 1985 to provide for licensure of prosthetists, orthotists, pedorthists, and orthotic fitters. The new law sets standards of professional conduct and requires practitioners to ...


SportX Odor Eliminator
On the heels of last year’s launch of its Ever-Safe sock line, Ever-Safe now offers a safe and permanent odor eliminator to help keep those socks smelling fresh. SportX technology doesn’t just mask unwanted odors, it inhibits growth of the ...
Hames Air Brace
Hames Orthotech introduces the Hames Air Brace for treating plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis. Designed to be worn in a shoe, the brace allows for heel pain treatment during ambulation. With each step, the heel is cushioned by a U-shaped ...
Zenvisibles Seamless Liners
Foot Zen by Doctor Specified introduces Zenvisibles—a no-show liner product designed for people who don’t want to wear socks with loafers or pumps but want to avoid the negative consequences of perspiration that can result from not wearing socks. Zenvisibles ...
Comfort Shoes With Cork
Arcopedico has unveiled a new line of handmade comfort shoes, featuring two recognized styles now with stretch uppers made from Portuguese cork. Springy, light, flexible, sustainable, and water-resistant, cork is a natural fit for the company’s comfort shoe construction. The ...
New Injinji Toesocks
Injinji offers two new performance socks. Performance Midweight Toesocks, Injinji’s most padded toesock, are engineered for sensitive feet and individuals who prefer maximum cushioning. The padded toesocks offer light compression for a snug fit and a honeycomb design for optimal ...
AFO-Footwear Combo Device
Buffalo Brace and Jerry Miller Shoes introduce an ankle foot orthosis built right into a custom-molded shoe. The AFO component features a padded collar, thermal molded polypro­pylene frame, and custom removable inserts. The shoe component features include an elongated opening, ...
Milsport Heel Rest
Milsport Medical offers its Heel Rest, an ergonomic offloading open wound cavity device for heel pressure ulcers. The ergonomic calf pad fits the contours of the lower leg to completely float the heel and reduce pressure points. The Air-O-Tech low ...
pedCAT Imaging System
Foot and ankle specialists can now get a 3D, physiological weight-bearing image with the pedCAT diagnostic imaging device from CurveBeam. The compact pedCAT system uses cone beam computed tomography to produce undistorted, unobstructed images of the foot and ankle. It ...
littleSteps Gait Plate
Introducing the littleSteps Gait Plate for children, a semirigid prefabricated orthosis designed to limit in-toeing gait caused by rotational deformities of the lower limb and to address any associated overpronation. The semirigid shell extends laterally beyond the fourth and fifth ...
Alice Alan Fall Collection
Alice Alan Shoes’ Fall Collection is designed to bring together comfort, style, and fit in ready-to-wear women’s dress shoes that feature a removable orthotic to minimize the stress of wearing heels. Handcrafted in New York City, each pair is made ...
G Brace Gauntlet
Kevin Orthotics announces the release of the Free Motion G Brace (G200) AFO. The custom-molded leather gauntlet orthosis is designed to stabilize the subtalar, talocalcaneal, and midtarsal joints. The absence of a vamp facilitates fitting into patients’ shoes. The articulating ...
Boost Compression Socks
Total Vein Systems, a Houston-based medical supply company, recently introduced Boost, its new line of Athletic Compression Therapy. Boost socks are designed to increase blood circulation and enhance oxygen delivery to working and recovering muscles to acceler­ate recuperation and reduce ...