Adelaide, Australia – TPU 3D printed feet are being used to simulate diabetic foot ulcers for training podiatrists at the University of South Australia. They are designed to mimic infected and non-infected diabetic foot wounds.
TPU model feet aid podiatry training
The 3D-printed feet are created with wound-like cavities, and take a week to print. Lifelike ulcers and other effects are then added by the podiatry team, ranging from dry gangrene to oozing pus.
Developed by researchers Helen Banwell and Ryan Causby, the foot models are designed to help teach fourth-year podiatry students how to treat and manage high-risk foot conditions.
‘The most effective way to manage these conditions is to medically remove dead or damaged skin to expose the healthy skin underneath and encourage healing,’ Banwell said. ‘But learning the necessary scalpel skills to do this is challenging due to the risks of practising on a such a high-risk population.’
The 3D foot models – and the mock injuries –provide a realistic but safe learning tool for students to practice their scalpel skills before they begin clinical placements, Banwell added.
‘New technologies are opening doors every day. Our 3D injury-enhanced foot models are a meeting of creative minds and new technologies,’ she said. ‘When the students encounter the models, we know they’ll be pleasantly (or perhaps unpleasantly) surprised. Either way, we’re sure they’ll be gaining confidence, techniques and critical skills.’