Foam is the natural choice for many healthcare applications. From packaging for pharmaceuticals and medical devices to healthcare cushioning and bedding, foam provides everything manufacturers need to create products that last. There are many foams types that are ideal for orthopedic bracing and custom orthotics and prosthetics, which have special requirements that the materials used to manufacture them must meet.
Why is foam ideal for custom orthotics? Besides the variety and versatility in your options—allowing you to choose a material that fits your budget and specialized needs—there are many reasons why foam and orthotics are the perfect match.
Durability and Resiliency
Many foam options not only maintain their durability over time (increasing product lifespans) they are also resilient. Foam resists damage when compressed, making the material ideal for orthotics that are used daily. The material maintains its shape well (due to its viscoelasticity), even after repeatedly being compressed due to a patient’s weight and natural movement.
The materials used in orthotics must be able to withstand the shock of movement and compression, especially if the orthotics are being used on a patient’s foot. Whether it’s being used in the sole of a shoe, in a walking boot, cast, or any other application, the right piece of foam will provide superior protection to patients.
Many foam materials not only offer superior protection, they are also comfortable for patients. Orthotics foam options can be soft, non-abrasive (which reduces irritation on the skin), and will not release odors that reduce the comfort of the person wearing them.
Mold and Mildew Resistance
Orthotics foam needs to be able to get wet. Patients commonly sweat into their orthotics, requiring them to be washed repeatedly, often after each use. The foam used in these types of products should not break down when coming into contact with water, nor should they easily harbor bacteria, germs, and fungi. The material needs breathability and moisture resistance.
A Mixture of Flexibility and Rigidity
Custom orthotics need to be able to conform to the patient’s body, which requires the material to be flexible and easy to fabricate. The material also needs to be able to hold its shape and support the patient as they move, which requires a specific amount of rigidity. Many types of foam provide this perfect mixture, resulting in a comfortable and durable orthotic piece.
Finding the Right Foam for Custom Orthotics
The foam you use for your custom orthotics depends upon many factors:
- How they will be used (and on what part of the body)
- The environment they will be used in
- Whether they are meant to be temporary or permanent
- The patient’s biomedical needs (cushioning, comfort, support, motion control, etc.)
- The patient’s weight, body type, etc.
Regardless of how your orthotics will be used, we can help you find the right foam piece to manufacture them. Whether you are looking for a brand-new prototype or a bulk order of custom parts for your products, trust Amcon to help you with all your foam needs.