There are millions of children around the world living with lower limb disabilities. Sadly, most can’t get access to devices to help them walk.
Children who can’t walk often find it difficult to integrate in their communities.
They struggle to play with their peers, attend school, and help with family chores. They suffer from social stigmas and discrimination. And they can develop low confidence and self-esteem.
As they grow up, they often face discrimination in the workforce. This can lead to a lifelong cycle of poverty.
Orthopaedic devices, such as lower limb prosthetics and ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs), help children walk. The ability to walk can dramatically improve a child’s quality of life and opportunities.
Lower limb prosthetic: An artificial limb that replaces a missing leg. The intent of the device is to help a person gain or regain their ability to walk.
Ankle-foot orthosis (AFO): A brace worn on the lower leg and foot to support the ankle, hold the foot and ankle in the correct position, and correct foot drop.
The need for high-quality prosthetics and orthotics is great.
The problem persists for many reasons.
Currently there's a shortage of trained clinicians who can make custom-fitting prosthetic and orthotic mobility devices. The WHO estimates 40,000 more clinicians are needed to meet demand.
Traditional methods of producing custom-fitting devices is expensive and takes several days. It's a labour-intensive process that involves making a plaster cast and hand-wrapping the materials.
It's time consuming and costly for families to attend multiple appointments. This is especially true if they need to travel long distances to reach the nearest clinic.
We’ve developed 3D printing technology to help clinicians increase the number of custom devices they can make in a week.
Our technology speeds up the production process by using digital scanners, custom software, and 3D printers.
This enables skilled orthopaedic clinicians to make high-quality, custom-fitting prosthetic sockets and AFOs faster and more cost-effectively than traditional methods.
Why children and youth?