Customized Athletic Shoe Midsole Development to Address Plantar Heel Pain ; Rising Drug Prices and the Strain on the American Healthcare System

Osborne, Ben, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Russell, Shawn, MD-ORTP Ortho Research, University of Virginia
Blemker, Silvia, EN-Biomed Engr Dept, University of Virginia
Norton, Peter, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

How can the cost of American health care be reduced?
How can a shoe midsole be individually optimized to relieve overuse injuries, such as plantar fasciitis? One in ten adults will experience plantar fasciitis in their lifetime, causing indirect medical costs of $390 million per year in the United States. To treat patients afflicted with plantar heel pain more cost-effectively and accessibly, the research team developed an algorithm and design process for fabricating customized midsoles suited to patient-specific biomechanical factors. Finite element analysis and material testing in CAD software were used. The 3D printed midsoles provide optimized cushioning around the heel and ball of the foot, relieving stresses in the plantar fascia during the gait cycle. Future researchers may conduct patient motion analysis to determine the midsoles’ effect on patients’ gait pattern, ankle angle, and stride length.
How are interest groups competing to influence drug prices in U.S. healthcare? In the United States, high and rising drug prices impose financial burdens and limit access to health care. Pharmaceutical companies, pharmacy benefit managers, and health insurance providers have blamed each other; none accepts responsibility for its respective role in rising drug prices. Transparency in drug pricing and distribution can reveal factors driving the escalating out-of
pocket costs, and help hold the major participants in drug pricing accountable.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
plantar heel pain, motion analysis, orthotic, midsole

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering
Technical Advisors: Shawn Russel, Silvia Blemker
STS Advisor: Peter Norton
Technical Team Members: Olivia DuCharme, Brandon Phan

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