Empowering others: sharing experiences, ideas; offering creative solutions to common challenges.

Write to me at b.able2@yahoo.com

Thursday, August 19, 2010

How Do You Do... Shoe-tying?

Let's talk about tying shoes. It's been one of the most frequently-asked questions (#1 is how do you put on panty-hose, but we don't quite know each other well enough to discuss that yet!)
Shoe-tying has been made easier of course with the advent of velcro and elastic laces.
That being said, I like to tie my own shoes, especially if they match the rest of my ensemble!
Since I am typically wearing my prosthesis, let's examine the steps involved:
1. I cross laces at the onset of the task--it saves a step:

 2. I use my hand to push the (left hand) lace under the crossed laces:
3. Then I form a loop with my left hand:
4. And I wind the lace held by my TD around it, and push it through the 'hole' created by the lace with my left hand :
5. I then grasp both laces with each hand (yes, I often refer to my prosthesis as my hand; it is truly an extension of my 'self') and pull laterally:
6. Voila!
Tout fini! (All finished!)
That wasn't so hard, was it?
I'd love to show you how I tie shoes without my prosthesis... I use basically the same staps, only I use the crook of my elbow to 'grasp' the lace. Positioning is key (remember that; I tend to say that alot...)!
1. Cross the laces;
2. Use the hand to push the lace under the crossed laces;

3. Form the loop with the hand;

4. Wind the lace with the crook of the elbow and push it through the 'hole' created by the lace with the hand;

5.  Then grasp both laces with each side--hand and elbow crook-- and pull laterally:

6. Voila!

Fait accompli! (Task accomplished!)
Again.... easy! -Though the old adage, "practice makes perfect" certainly carries alot of weight! I remember being 5 and 6 years old and practicing ad nauseum tying shoes with and without my prosthesis. I remember being so angry and crying in frustration because I just couldn't get it together. But, I also remember the sweetness of victory; of practicing, correcting error, perfecting technique until I got it. The sweetness of victory; of overcoming and being able to achieve.... beautiful. I re-live it now; I re-live it in the successes of those empowered.
Hooray! What shall we practice next??? Let me know; otherwise it's my pick!


  1. Debi! Thanks for sharing! I look forward to all of your insight. My daughter is 4 and a half and uses a body-powered prosthetic. She's LAE - so things are slightly trickier, but she's incredible with or without her helper arm!

  2. Fantastic Debbie!!! What a great resource you have created. I am spreading the word for you so others can benefit. Thanks for the shoe tying lesson it has helped me more than you can believe to help teach my little one. Future topic to discuss, how about putting on a necklace or bracelet? GREAT IDEA!

  3. Great Information on tying shoes! How about this: How do you cut your steak...or are you a vegeterian?

  4. Awesome, Debbie! My 5yo daughter is in "practice mode" for learning how to tie her shoes w/out her TD. The pictures you posted are great visual helpers! Thank you!


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