From the Editor: Innovation—Making Life Easier

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By Miki Fairley

Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things. -- Theodore Levitt, professor emeritus and former editor, Harvard Business Review.

Both creativity and innovation are vital aspects of the O&P industry. For example, automated foot orthotic technology aids in cheaper, faster measurement, design, and production of foot orthoses, as the article "Pros and Cons..." describes. However, can automation replace the expertise of a skilled orthotist or pedorthist? For the needs of many patients, the machines are no substitute for casting, design, and fabrication by the expert health professional. As noted writer Elbert Hubbard said, "One machine can do the work of 50 ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man." Judicious use of technology, though, often can save the practitioner and business owner both time and money, making life a bit easier in the current era of tight reimbursement.

A Silver Lining

If you thought of silver only in terms of money or jewelry, you might be surprised, as I was, to realize how many other industrial and medical applications this precious metal is used for. It has found its way into the orthotic and prosthetic industry through the ingenuity of Noble Fiber Technologies, which produces X-Static®--the Silver FiberTM, used in various O&P products. You will enjoy reading about this remarkable textile and its antimicrobial and temperature-regulating qualities in "Silver Fabric Brings Benefits to O&P".

Pedorthics Takes the Stage

Did you know that a man weighing 170 lbs. and averaging 8,000 steps a day imposes a total of 1,000 tons on his feet and shoes daily, according to the Pedorthic Footwear Association (PFA)? No wonder feet can develop such numerous problems, even without the effects of diabetes or other health conditions! The PFA is holding its annual Symposium November 11-14 in Orlando, Florida (hopefully the hurricanes have blown their last for awhile) with the theme "The Foot: At Work and Play." The Symposium will include educational offerings in four tracks: Clinical, Business, At Work, and At Play. In addition, there will be two special Bonus Tracks on Friday and Saturday.

For the first time ever, pedorthists were included in the Olympics' medical team during the Summer Olympics in Athens. Read about their success and fascinating experiences in the article "Olympics Brings Recognition to Pedorthics".

Seamus Kennedy, CPed, discusses the differences in two commonly confused diagnoses, Morton's neuroma and Morton's syndrome, in his article "Different Diagnoses...".

For more information on pedorthics and the PFA, visit www.pedorthics.org