Gait Analysis Product Facilitates Efficiency And Improved Orthotic Design

By Robi Garthwait, Contributing Editor

   For many practitioners, gait analysis provides invaluable diagnostic insights. It can also facilitate the creation of more effective orthotics. The Footmaxx™ Metascan System has stood the test of time in this regard, according to Richard S. Cohen, DPM.

   Dr. Cohen, a Diplomate of the American Board of Podiatric Surgery, has been using the Footmaxx scanning system for approximately 14 years and describes patient satisfaction at around 99 percent.

    “Patients embrace the computer technology and the immediate results relating to their scanning process,” explains Dr. Cohen. “Subsequently, the orthotics have been very precise. I have rarely had to return an orthotic for modification. This is very important to me.”

   Tracking eight key points along the plantar surface of the foot, the dynamic Metascan software scans the foot 150 times per second, according to Footmaxx, which was purchased by Foot Levelers in 2007. The company says static scans capture the distribution of bilateral plantar pressure and help identify muscle/skeletal anomalies or even the efficacy of orthotics.

   Dr. Cohen says the Footmaxx system is unique in that it features the dynamic, static and postural scanning modes.

    “Many computerized orthotic scanning products are able to do one or two scan types. However, very few are able to do all three,” points out Dr. Cohen.

Podiatrists Cite Product’s Efficiency And Ease Of Use

   Kerry Zang, DPM, a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, also cites the benefits of the Metascan system.

    “Obtaining a computerized gait analysis is very efficient from both a time and economic point of view,” says Dr. Zang, the Podiatric Medical Director of the Arizona Institute of Footcare Physicians. “I am able to get a scan when the patient is in my office. It is not necessary to schedule a return appointment and occupy a room for a 30-minute casting.”

   Dr. Cohen credits the Footmaxx system for making the entire gait scanning process easier.

    “The hardware involves a low profile mat with a multitude of sensors, which allow the patient to ambulate on the mat without having to place the foot in a precise position or location. The patient simply walks in a natural fashion and the mat is able to scan his or her simple ambulation,” explains Dr. Cohen. “The software immediately determines whether or not all steps are within similar parameters. If one of the scan steps deviates from the rest, the computer immediately notifies the operator that a rescan of that step is necessary.”

Emphasizing The Metascan’s Appeal With Patient Education

   Footmaxx says the information obtained during a scan is highlighted through a digital display that features colorful 2D and 3D images. The Metascan diagnostics translate the digital information along with the clinician information into a prescription for custom orthotics, according to the company.

   Drs. Cohen and Zang praise the Footmaxx system’s visual presentation with regard to patient education. Dr. Zang likes the fact that the system generates several different reports with colorful graphics that are easy to understand from a patient’s perspective.

    “I have visual information that I can use as an educational tool,” claims Dr. Zang. “I can physically show my patients where abnormal pressure areas are occurring. A picture speaks a thousand words.”

Ms. Garthwait is a freelance writer who lives in Downingtown, Pa.

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