According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, about three out of four adults in the U.S. experience foot pain. One traditional treatment is to create orthotics: specially-shaped inserts for shoes that relieve pressure and provide additional support where needed. The best ones are custom-built for each individual patient. This can involve complex measurements, lengthy fabrication times at remote facilities, and additional adjustments once they are made.

Once again, digital technology has come to the rescue. HP has announced a new system for creating customized orthotics quickly and accurately. The new Arize Orthotic Solution pairs a 3D-scanning system with HP’s Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology to provide a digital end-to-end solution.

The scanning is accomplished with a dedicated laser scanning system that takes precise measurements. Designed to be used in a podiatrist’s office, it can image both feet in about two minutes. The data is sent to the cloud for processing and analysis, and software allows healthcare professionals to adjust the design before it is made. The system even points out key parts of the patient’s foot anatomy that might need special attention.

The data is then sent to a production facility that uses the HP Multi Jet Fusion printers. These are able to use different materials in the creation of the orthotic, controlling stiffness while maintaining fine details for an ideal fit. The process is fast and is designed to be a more sustainable and efficient production method.

Personalized medicine is one of the key benefits of digital healthcare, and helping to eliminate foot pain is just one small part of the movement.