Children affected with a glycogen storage disorder (GSD) from all over the world come to see specialists located in Durham, including Dr. Priya Kishnani, a leading pediatric medical genetics specialist at Lenox Baker Children’s Hospital. Many of these patients suffer from musculoskeletal disorders and require custom orthotics to correct pronation and valgus problems. They can receive custom orthotics through providers who work at or with this multidisciplinary clinic. Pediatric physical therapist DPT Rachel Gandy informed us that custom orthotics made from molds can take four to six weeks to arrive to the patient. Additionally, if the device must be evaluated to ensure it bestows the proper correction, this could result in an extra visit. This would place an extra burden on a chronically-ill child by taking them away from home, friends, and education. Pediatric patients may also take longer than six weeks to return to the clinic in Durham, they may have out-grown an orthotic device or stopped using it. A long waiting period, ill-fitting devices, and extra travel can all result in negative physical and emotional consequences in the long run.
3D printing can overcome these obstacles by providing effective orthotics the moment a GSD patient needs them. Innovative 3D printing techniques such as multi material designs and unique slicing profiles are currently not used to make orthotics for GSD patients, which will allow us to adjust pressure, distribute weight, and align joints with each custom insert. This is a viable option for fabricating cost-effective products that can reach patients in a single visit to Durham, improving their lives by reducing travel and providing them with working products immediately. If 3D printed orthotic inserts work well, then larger orthoses can be made using these techniques for the same population.
Spanish, Latin American, & Latino/a Studies, 2022