Selected Projects / Kintec Footlabs: Emergent Human Centred Frameworks For the Design and Manufacture of Orthotics

Foot orthotics are clinically effective for a variety of conditions from plantarfasciitis to lower back pain yet the specific mechanisms behind this clinical success are elusive. The traditional clinical process that determines how or why a specific design of orthotic is based from a framework developed by Root, O’Rien, and Weed that states lower extremity pathology is a result of poor alignment. It is therefore, according to Root, the objective of an orthotic to correct any alignment defect using one, or a combination of, arch support, hind-foot posting or forefoot wedging. The patient’s comfort is a secondary aspect in this process and is addressed insofar as to assist in the compliance of this corrective device. Two significant developments over the past 10 years have now drawn into question the validity of the Root et al. approach. A new design framework that emphasizes a more patient-centered approach could greatly reduce those costs, as well as enhance the value and effectiveness of foot orthotics.

The Health Design Lab is currently identifying ways to introduce a more human-centered experience for customers; through exploratory prototyping and making with stakeholders, we hope to identify opportunities that could improve the experience within the Kintec custom orthotic processes. To date, we’ve conducted a workshop with Kintec leadership, in addition to desk research and observation of the different BC locations. We are currently in the process of conducting our second round of workshops and participatory making with Kintec customers to gain new emotional insight into what comfort means to them.

Project Leads: Keith Doyle, Andrew Siu,

Design + Research Assistants: Amen Salami, Alexandra Garcia, Lauren Thu

Project Coordinator: Nadia Beyzaei

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