ODESSA, TX (KWES) - If your child deals with pain from flat foot deformity, it can be pricey for them to get a custom brace. But a local podiatrist is working with a program to ease those children's pain without hurting their parents' wallet.
The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Library in Odessa has a 3-D printer at work. They've had it for about a year. It's not only for recreating models but also to prevent a child's foot pain without breaking the bank. They call, it the "TechThotic."
"Normally for a pair of custom orthotics, they start in the lower $400's and go up," said Dr. Tara Deavor with Texas Tech's Family Medicine Department. "If you're looking at a kid, depending how quickly they grow, you're looking at changing those frequently and that can be expensive for the parents so we were trying to think of a different way of doing it."
Deavor said children with flat foot deformities may experience pain if no proper orthotic insert is worn.
"It's painful, it's difficult to walk, difficult to run, difficult to do regular activities because the foot doesn't have any support," she said. "What the orthotic will do is it will help support the arch and so kids who are normally hurting can now run, play, jump and do kid things."
Texas Tech's faculty members and residents involved with the project have been working on the program for about a year. The program is still in development with Texas Tech, but so far, its been beneficial.
"One of our nurses had a little boy who initially was complaining of pain," said Deavor. "This is his actual foot size, and so we put it on him to see how he would do. His mother states he's doing very well."
The Odessa College Fab Lab has been assisting with the project. The inserts are expected to cost less than $100 but it will be up to the school to decide pricing.
"We can help our kids as far as their pain is concerned," said Deavor.