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Joan Oloff is Making Fashion More Functional

All too often, our choice of wardrobe comes down to function or fashion. We sacrifice comfort to look good, or we sacrifice taste so that we can be comfortable during long days on the job. Increasingly, however, companies are seeking to create pants, dress shirts and shoes that combine runway aesthetic with around-the-house comfort. In a fashion landscape dominated by established brands, it can be difficult for a start-up to stand out. By providing customers with clothing and accessories that look great but can also be worn on the job, new brands are able to break through this barrier.

Few designers exemplify this innovative spirit as much as Joan Oloff. A podiatrist by training, Joan set out to make the first line of orthopedically correct high heels. After seeing the issues that traditional high heels cause in her patients, Joan knew there had to be a way to design beautiful shoes that wouldn’t negatively impact the health of the wearer’s feet down the road.

The challenge was taking elements already common in athletic and walking shoes, like offloading pressure points, incorporating shock-absorption and providing proper support, and finding a way to implement these same features in heels. Over the course of four years, Joan worked with designers and manufacturers, in both Los Angeles and Italy, to make her line of shoes fit her standards. It was difficult. The manufacturers didn’t want to do things her way. But she pushed ahead.

“If I’m not going to be a game-changer, if I’m not going to disrupt the way high heels are made, there’s no point for me to do this,” Joan said in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle.

Her perseverance paid off and today, Joan Oloff’s shoes have built-in arch support, cushioning material in the ball of the foot and a lower heel pitch, all of which allow the entire foot to comfortably share the body’s weight. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of her line is simply the diversity of options. Made by hand, the latest collection has everything from sandals to knee-high boots. The beauty of the line, combined with the comfort of the shoes, have garnered Joan a loyal following. One surgeon in Santa Fe owns ten pairs of the shoes as they allow her to work without discomfort be it in her office, visiting patients or even conducting an hours-long surgical procedure.

While her customers all praise her shoes, Joan also has proof to back up her claims that she makes healthy heels. Using CurveBeam’s revolutionary pedCAT technology, Joan is able to show weight-bearing CT scans of her shoes in action. When compared side-by-side with the same scans of someone wearing standard heels, it is obvious that Joan’s shoes provide evenly distributed support and stable positioning while other shoes have toe crimping and no arch support, creating a painful experience for the wearer.


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Just like Joan Oloff, CurveBeam is dedicated to changing the game. By creating innovative 3D scanning technology that provides a complete view of a patient’s lower extremities, the pedCAT has given podiatrists, physical therapists, and others the ability to give their patients the proper treatment they need. Learn more about pedCAT here.

Why CurveBeam Technology is Even Changing the Way We Talk

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Languages are constantly shifting and changing. As our experiences change, new terminology and ways to express the world around us are required. In a time when the medical field is experiencing technological breakthroughs that redefine the way we treat patients, it should be no surprise that the language used in some medical fields may quickly become outdated.

Nowhere is this truer than in orthopedic pathology diagnoses. In January’s issue of the Lower Extremity Review (LER), Ian Engelman’s article “Saying ‘PTTD” Is Misleading: It’s time for a new lexicon to distinguish pathologies” focuses on just one segment of the field to show the issues inherent in the current vocabulary. One of the main problems, for instance, is that the words used to describe what is occurring vary from profession to profession. This means that an orthopedic surgeon, a podiatrist and a physical therapist could all be discussing the same issue, but each use a different, and sometimes conflicting, term for the same pathology.

Engleman argues that as our ability to understand what is occurring in the foot progresses, our language should to. He refers to the organizing principle, stating that, “Better and more specific terms lead to better, more specific understanding of the origin of the pathological condition.” (Engelman, 2018). So much of our language regarding the movement of and connections within the foot regard on comparisons to mechanics in our everyday lives, such as a set of hinges or a mechanical bridge. By merely making analogies, rather than creating a specific and universal set of terms based on careful analysis, misdiagnoses or improper treatment can occur.

According to Engelman we are coming up on a paradigm shift in the world of orthopedics. This is primarily due to the integration of 3D imaging into the treatment of the lower extremities. CurveBeam’s pedCAT technology, Engelman says, is particularly groundbreaking as it allows for 3D, weight-bearing analysis, eliminating much of the guesswork about how the parts of the foot are operating in real-life conditions.

Engelman’s article highlights the limitations placed by utilizing a 2D vocabulary in a field that is beginning to integrate 3D technology. He gives suggestions for how he would linguistically alter the terms used by the industry:

  • “Normal foot” – This one may seem obvious, but before the capabilities provided by 3D scanning technology there was no way to establish a true baseline. Now there is a way to establish the ideal interactions and alignments within a patient’s foot to determine how far away from the norm they are.
  • “Talar escape” – This term is used to describe a spring ligament failure. While this aberration is easier to identify than most, the terms for it have traditionally varied across specialties
  • “Lateral Column Flat Foot” – In the past, much of the reason given for plantar ligamentous failure has been directed towards the medial column within the foot. When examined closer using modern technology, however, Engelman notes that there can be healthy medial columns while flat footedness still occurs, meaning the causality lies more with the ligament interacting with the lateral column. Engelman suggests several terms like this, where there is a linguistic need for events previously not recognized with 2D scans.

As well as making efforts to improve and expand the professional vocabulary, Engelman also urges clinics to begin to implement devices like the CurveBeam pedCAT and CubeVue software. That way there can at least be a visual representation of exactly what is occurring in a patient’s foot, even if there is not yet a way to put it into words. To learn more about CurveBeam’s innovative products, visit and see how 3D imaging can revolutionize your clinic’s treatment practices.

CurveBeam: Moving Orthopedics Forward

Scroll to the bottom of this post to access a technical comparison chart of the CurveBeam LineUP* and similar systems from other vendors.

If you’re part of a forward-thinking orthopedic practice, you’re constantly looking for ways to offer the best in patient care, while also improving operations.

Cone Beam CT imaging is an attractive ancillary service because 3D extremity imaging provides physicians a better view of fractures, dislocations, and arthritic degeneration than plain radiographs. Point-of-care CT imaging is also convenient for patients, as they do not need to make an appointment for and travel arrangements to a separate imaging facility.

Administrators may vet more than one Cone Beam CT imaging vendor when determining which solution is the best fit for their practice.

As you complete your evaluation, we’d like to emphasize three things that set CurveBeam apart:

  1. Emphasis on customer service – The CurveBeam team lives by the credo of going above and beyond to exceed our customers’ expectations. We work closely with all stakeholders during the pre-installation process and regularly follow up to proactively assist with ongoing workflow, IT or marketing items. We are vested in making sure each of our sites successfully integrates our technology.
  2. Fair and standard pricing – We are transparent in our pricing. We have a published, standard price for each system and we work hard to keep costs as low as possible. We don’t believe in inflated list prices that only serve as a negotiation tactic.
  3. Commitment to innovation – We are constantly looking to the future to improve performance and usability in all aspects. We either make system upgrades standard or easily achievable within an operating budget so that you can always be on the cutting edge.

To further help you in your evaluation process, CurveBeam has put together a chart comparing the CurveBeam LineUP* with similar systems from other vendors. Just provide your name and email address to have it sent directly to your inbox.

*The CurveBeam LineUP is investigational only and is not available for sale in the United States.

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International Weight Bearing CT Study Group in New Orleans


Foot & ankle surgeons are invited to the Scientific Session on Weight Bearing CT from 5:45 AM to 7:00 AM, on March 10, 2018, prior to the events of AOFAS Specialty Day. The session, presented by the WBCT International Study Group (WBCT ISG), will be moderated by Dr. Cesar de Cesar Netto in the Marriott New Orleans Downtown Convention Center’s second floor Fulton Room (directly across from the  Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)

A full, hot breakfast will be provided to all attendees.

Dr. Alex Barg from the University of Utah will present an overview of current literature on weight bearing CT imaging.

Dr. Martin O’Malley of the Hospital for Special Surgery will follow with a discussion titled Weight Bearing CT of the Foot and Ankle in Treatment of Professional Athletes.

Dr. Mark Easley from Duke Orthopedics will then present a talk titled WB CT vs Standard CT for the Fppt and Ankle: The Devil is in the Detais.

The presentations will close with a lecture on correlating weight bearing CT with pedography, offered by Dr. Martinus Richter of Krankenhaus Rummelsberg.

The International WBCT Study Group is comprised of active and passive members from relevant international surgical and radiology foot and ankle societies. The goals of the group include standardizing methodology of measurement practices, offering a platform of communication in the foot and ankle specialties, and creating guidelines and reviews regarding WBCT use at the international level. Research projects are conducted and published collaboratively. While the group functions independently from the industry, it works cooperatively with the different manufacturers of different WBCT devices.

CurveBeam is a proud sponsor of the WBCT ISG.

A primary goal of CurveBeam is provide cutting-edge Cone Beam CT capabilities to foot and ankle specialists at a fraction of the price of traditional CT equipment.

Register here for the Study Group session. If you’d like to learn more about CurveBeam’s Cone Beam CT technology, visit our website today.