Introduction: Shoe Retention Leash (For Orthotics & Prosthetics)

First Instructable Ever... :)

The Problem: I wanted to share one of my creations which I have found very useful in my life. If you wear an orthotic (foot/leg brace) or a prosthetic (artificial leg) you know that enough pressure on your toe and your shoe can roll right off of your heel. Like balancing in a plank position, or walking up a step incline. This is because the plastic or carbon fiber of the device is slick and typically lacks the contours of a normal ankle. This problem is annoying at best and dangerous at worst.

The Solution: I designed a quick little shoe leash that will keep your shoe on. The leash hooks to the back of your shoe and device. Takes only a second to hook up and remove when not in use.

Step 1: Gather Tools & Parts

First step is to gather all of the parts and tools.

  1. Tool List:
    1. Scissors (For cutting the paracord)
    2. Awl (For making the holes in shoes)
    3. Torch (For heating the awl to make the holes)
    4. Drill + Bit (To make the hole in your device)
    5. Wrench (To install the device attachment point)
    6. Hacksaw (To cut the eye bolt)
    7. Sharpie (Mark the holes)
  2. Part List
    1. 1 Shoe
    2. ~1ft Paracord (2 zip ties can also work)
    3. 1 Eye Bolt
    4. 1 Jam Nut
    5. 2 Mini carabiners

Step 2: Make Holes in Shoe

Now that we have our tools collected we can begin our work. Do this step in a well ventilated area. You should do this any time you use a torch. Here we go:

1) Use the sharpie to mark your holes on the back of the shoe

2) Use the torch (propane, MAP or butane will all work) to heat the awl. Once the awl is glowing orange (takes about 10 secs) use it to punch through the spots you marked with your sharpie. It will slide right through like butter. FYI - A wisp of smoke will be created. No big deal.

Step 3: Add Lower Attachment Point to Shoe

Now that we have our holes created. We can add our attachment point to the back of the shoe. We are going to use a little piece of paracord to make a simple loop.

1) Snake the end of your paracord through the 2 new holes. Don't cut the paracord yet, the longer the piece the easier it will be to tie the knot.

2) Tie a knot to create the loop. I like using a bowline knot.

3) After you complete the knot, cut the excess with a pair of scissors then use the torch to melt the end of the paracord to prevent fraying. Save the excess paracord, we'll need it later.

Step 4: Make Hole in Orthotic/Prosthetic

Now that the lower attachment point is complete, we can move on to creating the upper attachment point. The next step is to use our drill and drill bit to make a hole in the back of the device. The size of the drill bit will depend on the size of your eye bolt. I used a 1/8" bit.

Step 5: Make Upper Attachment Point

Now the the hole has been drilled we can use our fasteners to make the second attachment point. I chose to use a 5/8" #6-32 Chicago eye bolt with a #6-32 jam nut.

1) Slide our eye bolt through the hole to see how much we need to cut down. We don't want the eye bolt shank poking the back of our leg. Mark the desired length with a sharpie.

2) Use a hacksaw (or equivalent saw) to cut the shank of the eye bolt to the desired length. See the before and after picture to see how much I cut. Ultimately the final length will be dictated by the thickness of your device. My device is 3/16" thick, so that's what I cut my eye bolt shank to.

3) Use your wrench to fasten your jam nut to the modified eye bolt. Double check to make sure you cut the eye bolt short enough. It should not stick out past the top of the nut. See the picture.

Step 6: Make Leash

Now that we have finished our attachment points. We can move on to making the actual leash with the remaining paracord. The length of the leash will be dictated by the distance between your two attachment points.

1) Measure the distance between the two attachment points. Create a loop with the remaining paracord equal to the length of the distance. I suggest using a bowline knot again. Don't cut the excess paracord yet.

2) Add the two carabeaners to the leash

3) Attach the leash to the two attachment points. Now adjust the length of the paracord by loosening the bowline knot and adding or removing slack. The goal is to have a little bit of slack in the loop when the ankle is at neutral (picture). But not too much so the leash is ineffective. Once the desired tension is achieved tighten the bowline knot.

4) Test the effectiveness of the leash with pressure on the toe. Keep playing with the length of the loop until the tension is just right. Once it is, you can cut the excess paracord and melt the end with a torch.

All done!

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