New machine brings sole to the Alice Springs Hospital
The Central Australia Health Service’s Podiatry, Prosthetics and Orthotics department at the Alice Springs Hospital recently acquired an Orthema CAD/CAM Orthotic fabrication system. The technology will help to cut down the time it takes to prescribe and manufacture custom made foot orthoses for people suffering from foot problems requiring Prosthetic or Podiatry care.
Thorsten Meinelt from OrthoSwiss Australia arrived in Alice Springs on 1 May to train the Podiatry, Prosthetics and Orthotics department in how to use the Orthema. They received a day of training on how to mill an insole and use the machine.
Acting Manager of Podiatry, Prosthetics and Orthotics, Steven Hancox said that the machine is extremely efficient and makes it possible for the team to fit a custom made orthotic for a patient in less than an hour.
“In the past they were made by making a plaster mould of the foot, then creating a model of the foot, often taking up to two weeks for a completed inner sole,” he said.
“With the Orthema it will now be possible for the team to scan the foot and create an innersole in about 20 - 30 minutes after initial consultation.
“This will mean that clients who would normally have returned to their communities without an orthotic device will now be fitted before they leave, avoiding the delay.”
Mr Hancox says that amputation rates in Central Australia are on average 5-6 times higher than the national average and that diabetics with foot wounds, or callus and numbness in their feet, should see a Podiatrist for a check-up.
“We have a very high prevalence of diabetic foot disease complications often presenting to the Alice Springs Hospital,” he said.
“The use of appropriate footwear and in-shoe orthoses has demonstrated a reduction in foot wounds, leading to significantly reduced amputation rates.”
Anyone who has diabetes with foot wounds or calluses with altered sensation in their feet, especially any numbness, should ask their doctor to refer them to a Podiatry specialist at the Alice Springs Hospital for a consultation.
Photo caption: Thorsten Meinelt from OrthoSwiss Australia (left) with Technician Inosi Bulimairewa, Acting Manager of the Podiatry, Prosthetics and Orthotics at Alice Springs Hospital Steve Hancox, Podiatrist Ryan Bonnefin and Prosthetist/Orthotist Andrew Jolly.