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Weak Ankles? Try 3D Printed Ankle Braces!

There is a good chance that many of your friends want to sport a bit more in the upcoming year. And if you want to sport but you’re not very keen on monotonously running blocks around your neighborhood, then team sports seem to be the perfect solution, isn’t it? Soccer, tennis and volleyball have therefore been popular for ages, because give people the opportunity to move in a way that is fun for most of us. However, how are you going to participate in group sports when you have weak ankles? Well, a Dutch start-up has found a smart solution: 3D printed tailored ankle braces.

If you have weak ankles, then obviously there’s a higher chance of sprained ankles. To pretend your ankles from getting hurt, you could put regular braces or tape around your ankles, but those materials do not provide your ankles with enough space. The 3D printed alternative is tailored and therefore works just like a seat belt. Once your ankles threaten to sprain, there will be a sufficient amount of pressure on the braces, while your ankles remain free to move in any preferred direction.

In order to create tailored ankle braces, the company uses a 3D scanner. This scanner makes a 3D photo of your ankles, after which the printer prints the ankle braces. These ankle braces can be used while wearing any kind of sports shoes, except for some kids of high basketball shoes and weak turning shoes.

EXO-L from Delft invented this sports product. This company is the idea of Marcel Fleuren, who started it three years ago as part of his graduation project when he studied at the TU Delft, a technical university. He has since sold 400 ankle braces, and the product has officially been recognized as a medical tool by Dutch authorities. This means orthopedists could write their patients a referral to get the 3D printed product, and the Dutch government even pays for the costs. The Dutch start-up offers their product for 199 euros. All in all, this is another example of 3D printing helping the medical world to improve in an easy, and effective way.

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