Orthopedic shoe technology in Italy and Spain Better image thanks to digital measurement technology
Orthopedic shoe technology is changing, even in Italy and Spain, where tradition and craftsmanship have always been very important. Modern measurement and milling technology, a growing cultural exchange, and new materials are making it easier for orthotists to provide their customers with high-quality foot orthosis treatment. life spoke to two of them.
In addition to pure craftsmanship, which constituted the majority of their work in the past , many specialists in these two southern European countries are nowadays making increasing use of digital measurement technology and modern production methods. “When I started in 2007, it was normal to work with footprint devices and simple scanning systems. Now there are digital measurement systems. We use new technology for analyzing the static and dynamic pressure distribution as well as the dynamics of the foot when walking or running. This tells us much more about the orthopedic relationships inside the human body. The measurement systems and our knowledge have completely changed,” says Italian Daniele Galletti from CentrodelPiede in Bologna, explaining the development over the past ten years.
Digital measurement technology is also being used at Ortopedia López in the Spanish city of Jaén: “By getting customers to walk or run on digital measuring soles, we can check how effective the foot orthoses are and whether the shoe is the right one. And all in a real-world environment ,” explains Jorge López.
The orthopedic specialist retailers are first-rate health advisors here. “Athletes seek our advice to improve their performance, alongside older customers who need medical aids. The technician is fully recognized as a member of the team of health experts,” says Jorge López. But the trade had to work hard over the years to earn this good reputation. “In Spain, our profession did not have the best reputation in the past. People were rather looked down upon if they had to go to an orthotist ,” the young Andalusian continues. “Fortunately this idea has completely changed today.”
The work is becoming transparent
The measurement technology is one of the key factors in the good reputation and success of these stores. “We currently use two foot scanners and a foot pressure measuring plate. By using digital measurement technology, we are improving the image that physicians and patients have of our orthopedic shop. It helps us to make our work transparent ,” explains Jorge López.
Measurement technology is also an important tool for everyday work in Italy. “I mainly use wireless systems for gait analysis. I believe that dynamic gait analysis is extremely important. That’s why I was the first retailer in Italy to introduce the Bodytronic 130 and 150 systems from Bauerfeind,” explains Daniele Galletti. For him, foot orthoses are like a dynamic orthosis. The foot changes as a step is taken, so the dynamic measurement of the step is really important to him. He can offer his customers a precise gait analysis with Bodytronic. What’s more, the system is also portable and easy to use. Patients are always impressed when they see the comparison between the first measurement and the comparative measurement with foot orthoses. “I can say that good foot orthosis treatment partly stems from using digital measurement technology,” says Daniele Galletti with certainty.
New attitude to milled orthoses
In addition to cork and leather, young orthotists are increasingly using modern plastics, which are easier to adjust and are thermo-formable. Milled orthoses are completely on trend for the experts interviewed. Both work with the Bodytronic ID:CAM application software, which enables them to offer their customers high-quality milled orthoses.
“The software has completely changed my attitude towards producing foot orthoses. I now use ID:CAM software to model 80 percent of the foot orthoses that I make for my customers,” confirms Daniele Galletti. The fact that he can access the measurement data at any time helps him to take all the important details and features into account during the design phase. “The technology is a real time-saver. As the manufacturer takes over the milling process, it leaves me with more time to examine and advise the customer,” says Daniele Galletti, describing another advantage. Jorge López agrees and adds: “The technology makes it easy to supply a repeat foot orthosis without too much work.”
Images: Alex Cotti Photography, privat, Ortopedia López