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Mar 28

Written by: Larry Huppin, DPM
3/28/2013 8:35 AM

 Achieving optimum outcomes with orthotic therapy is dependent on a number of factors. These include proper prescription writing, correct casting technique, and high quality cast work in production methods by the orthotic lab. If you are ProLab client then you know that our cast work is the best in the industry and that we strive constantly to provide you with the education and information you need to write the best orthotic prescriptions.

Understanding orthotic material differences is often an overlooked but critical part of writing the correct orthotic prescription. This came up in a conversation I had with a ProLab client this morning when doing a consult regarding a patient with a Cavus foot structure.

This particular client primarily prescribed our Direct Milled Polypropylene. She appreciates that the Direct Milled Polypropylene is less expensive and provides the exact same orthotic shape and clinical outcome of the vacuum formed polypropylene. She wished to use the Direct Milled Polypropylene for her orthotic material for this prescription. I had to inform her, however, that in this instance the Direct Milled would not be the best choice of material.

Because direct milled orthoses (from ProLab or any other orthotic lab) are milled from a block of polypropylene, the arch height is limited by the thickness of the polypropylene block. So, in a situation where you want an orthosis that conforms very closely to the arch of a cavus foot, it is often best to use a vacuum formed polypropylene, rather than direct milled. Because of the vacuum formed polypropylene is made from a heated sheet of polypropylene being vacuum formed to a positive mold of the foot, there is no such limitation on arch height.

You can read more here about why most patients with cavus feet should have an orthosis that conforms closely to the arch of the foot.

This is just one example of why it is important for orthotic practitioners to understand the advantages and disadvantages of the materials they commonly used for orthotic therapy.

ProLab takes a scientific approach with our orthoses by integrating evidence-based medicine into orthotic therapy. Our team of Medical Consultants regularly evaluates the medical literature pertaining to orthotic therapy and biomechanics. ProLab clients are encouraged to contact a medical consultant whenever they have questions about an orthotic prescription.

For an easy way to stay up-to-date on evidence-based orthotic therapy, subscribe to our free E-Journal. Your will receive a monthly email synopsis of the research that impacts your practice.  


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