Oogoo Amputee Terminal ShoeSocks

This instructable references the "Make your own Sugru" instructable. https://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Make-Your-...

"A" was born as an amputee - he is missing all four extremities. He has prosthetics, but there are limitations to prosthetics. For instance, he can't put his prosthetics on by himself (requires adult assistance);he outgrows his prosthetics quickly, and there are often gaps in coverage waiting on new prosthetics to be made or the fit to be adjusted; there are some venues (such as amusement parks) where prosthetics are forbidden (don't want a leg to fly off and kill somebody); sometimes the prosthetics rub too much or cause a rash (sweat doesn't evaporate well inside a prosthetic, thus keeping the skin moist and more prone to damage), and so forth.

In "A"'s case, he can walk and run fairly well on his terminals (knees), but there are several problems with this. There are many cases where the ground is hot/cold/wet/dangerous (which is why people invented shoes in the first place). Some floors are slick and polished and he needs more traction. Some surfaces are inhospitable.... gravel, asphalt, concrete, etc. "A" does not have feet, so his body weight is supported entirely on his knees (less surface area than feet to distribute the load, so high pressure) - and so rough surfaces will shred the skin if he walks on them.

The intent of this project is to create something that fills theses needs. This is not a replacement for his prosthetics, this is more of a supplement.

Step 1: Gather the Ingredients

Ingredients (everything purchased at local Walmart)

  • Silicone 1 caulk (needs to have acetic acid in the ingredient/warning list) - $6
  • Oil paints (I bought the 24 pack) - $10
  • Size 13 low cut socks (10 pack) - $10
  • Cornstarch
  • Ziploc baggies
  • Wax paper

Oogoo, at least in the proportions I am using, sets up quickly, so make sure everything is ready so in advance before you start mixing.

One tube of caulk was enough to make four ShoeSocks (two each leg) for "A".

Each tube of oil paint was enough for two ShoeSocks. We did Red for "Right" and "Lemon yeLLow" for Left.

Step 2: Mix the Ingredients in a Bag

I put several spoons worth of cornstarch in the bag, then a squirt of oil paint and several pumps with the caulk gun of silicone caulk into the bag. I was going for about equal weight of cornstarch with equal weight of caulk (the caulk is much denser, so not as much is needed). Oogoo has different set times and flexibility based on the proportions used. At these proportions, this sets *FAST*, probably close to full cure in fifteen minutes. If you need more working time you should reduce the amount of cornstarch.

Having paint in the bag makes it easy to determine when everything is mixed right - the color is uniform.

Pro tip: Make sure the bag is tightly sealed, don't accidentally squeeze it out early.

Silicone caulk is incredibly sticky and will certainly try to escape on you.

You DID wear old clothes, right?......

Step 3: Form on Right Leg.

Snugly place the sock over the leg, make sure it is comfortable and the seams are not bunched up.

Get all the oogoo out of the ziploc bag onto the sock. Work it in by hand (you DID take off your jewelry first, right?), you want to make sure the oogoo is embedded in the fibers of the sock. I tried to make an even coat of 6mm / 1/4" of the oogoo on the sock.

Take a disposable plastic bag and use it to compress the oogoo into the sock.

I let it cure on "A" for about 10 minutes (it was hard to the touch by then) before moving the sock over a drinking cup for overnight curing.

Gloves would be good. Spraying your hands lightly with cooking spray is also very helpful in getting the oogoo to not stick to your fingers.

Step 4: Form on Left Leg

Same procedure as before - sock on leg, squeeze oogoo onto sock. Since this leg needed much more surface area covered, I made a larger batch of oogoo.

This time I sprayed my hands with cooking spray - oogoo does not stick! This meant that I was able to shape the oogoo much easier with huge savings on cleanup time (Cooking spray comes off with dish soap and water, oogoo has to be physically removed).

I used a paper towel to remove the residual cooking spray on the oogoo. This had a side effect of giving the oogoo sock a nice bumpy texture. This is important because lots of little ridges help with traction.

The shoesocks, especially the ones made with greased hands, need some rough sanding to make them not so slick before use.

Step 5: Use / Final Thoughts

The oogoo shoesocks have performed very well! "A" can now walk/run on concrete and pavement, where before he could only walk *very* gingerly on these surfaces. The thick layer of oogoo provides a very durable impact surface.

Pros:

He can put them on all by himself. Nowhere as bulky as his prosthetics. Easy on, easy off, takes up practically no space. The socks breath and so he doesn't drown in his own sweat. The socks have (so far) made it through the washer/dryer intact. He stays low to the ground and keeps full dexterity - the prosthetics raise him up (which is good), but he loses agility and dexterity when on his prosthetics (he uses all four limbs to manipulate objects). A month of heavy usage shows no significant wear to the ShoeSocks. The ShoeSocks are cheap / easily replaceable (prosthetics are expensive).

Cons:

The biggest drawback is that these are... socks. They are prone to slip a bit, "A" often has to stop and adjust the socks or pull them back up. Part of this is the socks are probably a little large (size 13) but smaller socks did not fit well over his terminals. Even so, he is able to make these adjustments by himself.

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    3 Discussions

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    tytower

    19 days ago

    Quote " but he loses agility and dexterity when on his prosthetics "
    Watch yourself here. It may seem to be so but don't get a mindset on that . Agility and balance /fluidity come from practice . He will get better on the long ones as long as he uses them . It has to be learnt and what seems to be the easy way may not be so wise in the long run .

    The below knee leg in particular needs regular daily use to develop the patella tendon hardness required for running . The above knee will be harder but the same applies .
    The thoughts are good but he does not have a chioce . he must get it right . Good Fortune.

    1 reply

    In his case, the "dexterity" loss comes from him using all four limbs as "hands" when not in prosthetics. For example, when he is writing with a regular (unadapted) pencil, he uses both arms (holding it with his elbows) to control the pencil, and then uses one/both legs to hold the paper steady. If he is in legs, he can't do this - the size, weight, and rigidity of the prosthetics don't allow this type of fine motor control.

    As I said, these are a supplement to his prosthetics, not a replacement. He has broken several prosthetics (aluminum, before we switched to titanium) due to running in them; but at minimum repairs take several weeks. When he outgrows a set of prosthetics it might be months to get a new set approved (most insurance companies DO NOT like approving $20000+ prosthetics for children, or insurance enters the codes wrong (e.g. approves a leg but omits the foot, or they only approve one leg, etc.)), cast, built, and adjusted.

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    One of the best 'ibles I have seen. Very important part of life- mobility- being enhanced in a practical, cost-effective method that anyone can do. People like "A" are very fortunate to have you, and we are fortunate that you are willing not only to come up with this, but to share with us as well.

    I was so impressed, I wanted to look at your other 'ibles. Thanks for what you have posted, and all the things we can't see.