Diabetes and 3D Printed Insoles
November 14 is World Diabetes Day, and we would like to take a moment to reflect on this continually growing disease. According to worlddiabetesday.org, 1 out of 10 adults has diabetes, and close to half of them are not yet diagnosed.
Diabetes is a significant reason why Create it REAL entered the domain of 3D-printed orthopedic solutions. It all began with a partnership with a German company, GeBioM Group, which had extensive knowledge about biomechanics, pressure distribution and the implications for diabetic patients with a tendency to develop diabetic ulcers. In the following, we quote Marcel Domenghino, visionary partner and CEO of GeBioM GROUP, as the message is crucial:
Diabetic foot syndrome
In the following, we quote Marcel Domenghino (to the right), visionary partner and CEO of GeBioM GROUP, as the message is crucial: “While diabetes is a widespread disease with growing numbers worldwide, many don’t know that 19% – 34% of diabetes patients are experiencing something called diabetic foot syndrome. This syndrome is caused by poor blood circulation in the lower limbs and a loss of sensation in the foot, making the patient lose the sense of pain and increasing the risk of wounds, known as ulcers.
An untreated ulcer leads to amputation. Estimates suggest that throughout the world, every 30 seconds, a lower limb is amputated due to diabetes. Patients must offload the foot and reduce the risk of pressure spots to prevent and treat foot ulcers. Customized insoles also achieve this. With CUBIX orthopedics, we can define a customized insole with different shore hardness and a gradient between the different hardness zones, enabling good pressure distribution.
Moreover, with our digital and decentralized technology, we also allow the sharing of know-how worldwide. There is a lack of know-how to create a custom diabetes insole worldwide. With our approach, it is possible to measure and produce the insole wherever in the world, and the design can be done in another part of the world where knowledge on how to design it is available.”
Digitalizing and 3D Printing
Diabetic foot syndrome and insoles are nothing new. The traditional insole is handcrafted with foam in different hardnesses and glued together. It is a labor-intensive production that creates up to 90% of waste. In short, GeBioM wanted to create a better solution using 3D printing and contacted Create it REAL. The CUBIX solution was built by combining domain knowledge from orthopedic shoemakers with the technology knowledge from Create it REAL. Marcel Domenghino and Create it REAL founder and CTO Jeremie Gay drove the project. Who better to explain it than themselves, as they do in this video?
3D Printed Insoles
It is a highly specialized production system, so it is not just about buying a 3D printer and some filament and getting started. You will need a dedicated system like CUBIX or Embrace Insole solution. Controlling the soft TPU is like controlling a glue gun; most of us have failed that task. But when you have the system, the production of insoles is both non-labor-intensive and non-toxic and can be on display in the shop instead of hidden in a dusty place in the back. It is additive manufacturing and produces zero waste. The material is recyclable and certified approved for skin contact.
The finished insole has multiple hardness zones with a gradient transition for comfort and pressure relief, and the designer has total design freedom in intuitive software, where all complexity is hidden. The focus is on knowing how to design the insole. Producing the 3D printed insole is effective production, which means both cost-effective because of the reduced need for labor and effective because it is decentralized production directly in your workshop.
Read more about the insole solution and cases here:
A better life with diabetes
Since starting the adventure with GeBioM, we have continued into other orthopedic 3D printed products, with the technology of printing in soft TPU, also known as Programmable Foam. Today, it is used for customized seats and cushions as well.
Let’s return to the tale about diabetes. Living an active life with diabetes is possible with a focus on treatment. Foot health is crucial. We aim to improve the world by 3D printing orthopedic insoles. It checks all the boxes for modern, responsible manufacturing. By leveraging digital workflows, reducing labor intensity, eliminating waste, and enabling decentralized production, we are not just changing orthopedic solutions but embodying a commitment to a more sustainable and accessible future.
As we continue this journey, the focus remains on enhancing the lives of those with diabetes, fostering foot health, and contributing to a world where 3D printing meets the demands of modern, responsible manufacturing. In conclusion, as we observe World Diabetes Day on November 14, it’s crucial to recognize the pervasive impact of diabetes and, more specifically, the often-overlooked diabetic foot syndrome. The alarming statistics of amputations due to untreated foot ulcers highlight the urgent need for innovative solutions.