Skip to main content

Smart tools for the Prescription of orthopaedic Insoles and Footwear

Article Category

Article available in the folowing languages:

Smart footwear makes the best fit

Podiatrists often lack the knowledge and suitable data to make the best decisions regarding which specific shoe-insole combinations and their corresponding materials are suitable for a patient. This was addressed by an EU-funded initiative that developed a series of computer tools to help podiatrists make the best possible therapeutic prescription for their patients.

Industrial Technologies

The SMARTPIF (Smart tools for the Prescription of orthopaedic Insoles and Footwear) project created tools based on foot scanning and the pressure exerted by the foot’s sole while walking. This information was used to select a combination of shoe and insole from a catalogue or from previously designed models. The tools provided a visualised image of the patient’s foot with a pressure map superimposed over it. Project partners also solved the problem of the patient having to choose a shoe model that had not yet been manufactured or not yet available in the podiatric clinic, as they often have limited stocking facilities. This was achieved by using a software tool that allowed patients to virtually try-on the shoe. Researchers created the Smart Prescription System (SPS) a software tool for assisting the therapeutic prescription of insoles. The system used a set of pre-made insole templates based on the most frequent diseases related to foot health. These were then customised to adapt them to the specific needs of each patient. The SPS comprised two versions of a four dimensional (4D) scanning device that scanned the patient’s foot during their gait. It also enabled the three dimensional (3D) visualisation of pressure over the patient’s scanned foot or over their insole and predicted foot plantar pressure on key areas of the sole of the foot. In addition, when used by patients, the SPS allowed providing practitioners with feedback related to their prescription for better treatment adjustment. Specialised insole prescription software connected to CAD/CAM software automated the design and manufacture of the prescribed insole. A footwear design tool connected with a virtual mirror displayed the selected, customised footwear superimposed on a real image of the patient’s foot. The project will help reduce the fitting time of insoles and the number of times a patient must return to the practitioner to correct a wrong adjustment or fitting of the insole. It will also enable more accurate prescriptions based on pressure predictions, thereby offering the patient a better level of treatment. SMARTPIF will also help the whole European podiatrist sector to grow by exploiting the project results and helping SMEs to access the global marketplace. This will have major benefits for European suppliers and retailers.


Podiatrists, insole, SMARTPIF, smart prescription system, pressure map, gait, foot plantar pressure

Discover other articles in the same domain of application