It takes a lot of practice making custom made orthotics to begin to develop the techniques needed to first cast and then create a custom item for a client. The materials that are chosen, the flexibility of the client, the shoes they are wearing, how much time they spend on their feet, their activities, lifestyle, history, type of pain, are all factors that go into creating a custom made pair of orthotics.
Once a good cast is taken (because a poor cast will only result in poor orthotics), the next step is to heat mold materials onto the plaster positive. Usually this is done using a vacuum press.
The chosen material is heated in an oven. In my case I use a good-sized convection oven, and it takes some trial and error to learn how long to heat the material. For this example I’m using 3mm suborthalen, which results in a plastic dress orthotic.
You can see from the picture above how tightly the material is vacuumed onto the plaster positive casts of the feet.
Once the material has cooled, the pressure is released on the vacuum and this is the result:
As you can see the plastic has taken the shape of the foot. Next up, lots of work shaping the orthotics! That’s where bandsaws, grinders, exacto-knives and lots of different glues come in.
Have a happy and healthy day!