BT Young Scientists create new prototype of leg splint for people with Charco-Marie-Tooth

January 6th, 2021

Lucy and Joanna

Muscular Dystrophy Ireland would like to wish Limerick students, Lucy Noonan and Joanna Ryan, the very best in the BT Young Scientist competition with their project ‘Optimizing leg splint orthotics for individuals with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease’ (CMT). Their project is one of 550 to make it through to the first ever online version of the exhibition which starts on Wednesday 6 January. The focus of the project – the design of leg splint orthotics – is close to the hearts of both students who have family members living with CMT. Leg splints are what help people with CMT walk independently and they were aware that the splints have always been the main thing that members of their families struggle with. When they surveyed individuals with CMT, the key things that people wanted to change were factors that cause them insecurity, for example, its size.

Leg Splint

With the support of St Gabriel’s Centre for Children with Disabilities, Limerick, the students got to experience the prescription, casting and construction process of leg splints and got extensive professional information on the disease and the role of orthotics. They also met the patient’s view with the medical/doctor’s view and combined the two. They then designed and manufactured a fully-developed prototype, using a recently-introduced 3D printable plastic, in collaboration with St Gabriel’s. Their new design is suitable for people with early-progression stages of CMT– it’s more comfortable and less bulky, yet still strong and supportive.

Through this project, Lucy and Joanna also want to raise awareness about CMT so that their families and others with CMT can get the support and information they need and deserve.

Congratulations Lucy and Joanna on your great achievements!

You can find out more about their project through the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) portal. Free registration is open at The exhibition runs from Wednesday 6 January to Friday 8 January from 9am to 5.30pm. The virtual opening ceremony will start at 1pm on Wednesday 6 January and the awards ceremony will be held at 1pm on Friday 8 January.

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) is a group of inherited conditions that damage the peripheral nerves. You can find out more information about CMT by following this link  Please note that some of the information about services and entitlements may be of relevance to the UK only. If you have any queries, please contact MDI’s Information Officer by emailing

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Categories: Lifestyle

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