Thrive Orthopedics, a distribution enterprise founded in 2017, debuted its very own product line with 3D printed orthoses called the Balance 3D+ Brace, an ankle-foot orthoses (AFO). The brace reduces postural sway and increases postural stability. This relative newcomer to the AM scene has created an orthotic that lines the sole of one’s foot while also bracing the heel and calf for additional support. The company prides itself on the elegance and aesthetically pleasing look of its product. It also projects product prices in line with industry standards.
The Balance Brace is the tip of the iceberg. While Thrive quite literally extends AM’s current orthotics offering, which focuses on supporting the foot by producing custom shoe insoles, the company aims to also bring customization to users’ fingertips. Thrive 3D, a 3D-scanning and design app, allows users to customize their orthoses. The app accepts scans, casts measurements. The app becomes available alongside the brace in March 2021.
In April of 2021, Thrive will also be introducing a 3D-printed, articulating AFO for patients with adult acquired flatfoot along with a “maximum-control” articulating AFO for patients that need additional off-loading.
A separate line of carbon fiber AFOs will be released in July 2021, but these will support the shin rather than the calf.
The brace is further notable for its carbon fiber design. Thrive has selected a light, durable and flexible material with which to shape its orthoses. Carbon fiber is also an up-and-coming material for the AM market; its use by Thrive shows that the company is focused on innovation and quality items.
The device is secured by a concealed strapping mechanism between an inner and outer wall. The mechanism is specifically designed to allow ease-of-use for customers with dexterity issues.
All of Thrive’s products are printed using HP’s MJF 4200 with nylon 12 material; all designs are reviewed and certified by a licensed pedorthist prior to printing. This material is a sturdy material with high tensile strength and the ability to flex without fracture. Thrive’s printing facility, moreover, has built up experience printing high-performance parts for the US Military and has implemented extensive quality assurance protocols to ensure durability.