“The mechanism employed by this external ankle ligament,” says the company, “offers full protection against spraining your ankles without decreasing your freedom of movement and comfort.”
Ankle injuries such as sprains and stress fractures are common, particularly with athletes. Around 25,000 people per day — both athletes and non-athletes, adults and children — in the US alone, experience sprained ankles. With proper preventive care, however, most injuries of the ankle can be avoided. Once injured, added protection can prevent subsequent injuries.
One company located in Delft, Netherlands, EXO-L, is now using 3D scanning, modeling, and printing to produce what they call an “external ankle ligament,” a custom-made brace that imitates the way the ankle operates. The company, which took its name from the product, was founded by Marcel Fleuren. The idea for EXO-L arose three years ago when Fleuren was attending Delft Technical University.
The 3D printed EXO-L Ankle Ligament was designed in collaboration with experts in the field of sports medicine and training. It was developed by specialists at the Delft University of Technology and the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam.
Since its invention, Fleuren has sold 400 EXO-L support and his company has been recognized as a viable medical device by the health establishment in the Netherlands. This means that therapists and doctors can prescribe the EXO-L for their patients, a tremendous boon for the fledgling company.
Protection and Freedom
Play sports with a simultaneous sense of freedom and protection. That is the idea behind EXO-L Ankle Ligaments.
The external ankle ligament acts as a safety belt that protects you at the moment you are about to sprain your ankle. It does not affect your freedom of movement, thereby allowing you to exercise longer and reach your highest potential.
Effect of unsupervised home based proprioceptive training on recurrences of ankle sprain: randomised controlled trial, Maarten D W Hupperets, PhD student, Evert A L M Verhagen, senior researcher, Willem van Mechelen, professor. BMJ 2009; 339 doi: 10.1136/bmj.b2684.
Dutch Company EXO-L 3D Prints Custom Ankle Supports for Athletes in 3Dprint.com