17 year old Torah sitting in her wheelchair wearing her new orthotics

New 3D printed orthotics have made all the difference to Torah

New orthotics have made a big difference to 17-year-old Torah. Gone are the days of boring, uncomfortable orthotics which involved a lengthy process to fit and manufacture. Now she’s stepping out in stylish ones that help her to achieve her goals.  

Mum Amanda explained that getting her daughter Torah’s previous orthotics involved travelling and several days off school for multiple appointments, having to repeatedly explain Torah’s needs, and a long wait to get the orthotics. Her old orthotics were uncomfortable they left red marks and caused pain, so Torah had stopped wearing them. 

When Amanda received an email from Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA) about the new Western Sydney Orthotic Clinic available at CPA Kingswood centre, she jumped at the chance and things fell into place quickly. 

Run in partnership with AbilityMade – the lower limb orthotics specialists, a startup made possible through CPA’s tech accelerator, Remarkable – the clinic provides access to experienced orthotists skilled in both traditional manufacture, as well as utilising the latest technologies to create ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs) using 3D scanning and printing technology that are customised, prioritising fit, comfort and functionality, and come in a great selection of styles.  

3D printed orthotics use comfortable and supportive materials that can mean lighter and thinner AFOs. It also enables design features that are not possible using traditional manufacture, allowing children and adults to reach their movement milestones and goals. 

As children grow and engage in new activities, their AFOs also need to change and adapt. 3D printed orthotics allow orthotists to easily repeat or adapt the designs in the future as needed. Digital scans are also quick and simple, and allow you to avoid a more laborious or traumatic casting process that can come with traditional manufacture.

The clinic brings together the expertise of a CPA physiotherapist and AbilityMade orthotist, and utilises telehealth as well as an onsite clinic  to provide children and adults with cerebral palsy and similar disabilities with a streamlined and collaborative service to get the best outcome.  

Mum Amanda has seven other children and a busy schedule and commented on how easy it was to engage with the service.

“I just found it was all so much simpler, It is close to home for us and easy to park. But because it was also a familiar environment for Torah, it did make it a little bit easier. I just found it really stress free.”

Torah has been supported by CPA physio Sachini at CPA Kingswood, who commented that: 

“Torah is responding well to her new orthotics, working towards her goals to improve weight bearing in standing, and to build lower limb strength required for standing transfers.”  

Mum Amanda commented that Torah has tolerated the new AFOs really well, and she’s using them for much longer periods of time, helping to improve her mobility and independence in being able to do standing transfers.  

She’s tolerated them quite well. So, for me, that was a big thing. The last pair we had, I just felt like they didn’t look comfortable on her, and I feel like the new AFOs just seem to fit her better.  

She bangs her ankles together and she has sores on her ankles, so there’s extra padding in there to support her. So, for her to tolerate them for such a long period of time, especially not having worn them for a few years, I thought was really good.  

“Instead of being black and boring I just love that they’re brightly coloured and modern. Torah isn’t as a big as a normal 17-year-old and often gets mistaken for being younger, so it’s good they’re grown up and pretty.” 

Find out more about the Western Sydney Orthotics Clinic available at CPA Kingswood Centre. This new service has been generously supported by a grant from The Honig Foundation 

A close up of Torah's new orthotics and colourful sneakers