This is a tutorial on how to make our version of the Snyder Sling. Which has recently become known as the Swanepoel Sling in the European Perthes Disease community. This is part of our Crutch and Sling system that we used in the Wait and See Treatment we followed during the fragmentation stage of Celine’s Perthes Disease. The Swanepoel Sling can be used for other conditions that require the long term use of crutches to keep a leg non-weight bearing.
How to make a Swanepoel Sling
You will need:
- A belt (a leather one with a strong buckle is best for long-term use).
- Thread that blends into the material.
- A large heavy duty needle.
- Measuring tape
Making The Swanepoel Sling:
You will need to work out how much material you need to make the Swanepoel Sling. I did this by using the measuring tape to measure the length between the waist and knee. For Celine this measurement was about 40 cm (15.75 inches).
You will need to double this measurement plus add a couple of extra cm for the section of material that is attached to the belt. For us this worked out to approximately 85 cm.
The width of the material should be about 10 cm (4 inches) for comfort. I liked to double the material over for extra strength and comfort. If you do this, then remember to sew along the length seam (Tip: a sewing machine makes quick work of this).
Use material that is comfortable but strong as it needs to take the weight of that leg. From past experience, gauzy material or stretchy material will be no good for everyday usage although for one-off events like parties it may work well enough.
To work out where on the belt you need to attach the material, put the belt on and mark where the material needs to hang from to be above that leg. Celine’s is aligned with the back of her right leg.
You need a hardier needle than the normal sewing needle to get through the belt and the thickness of the material without injuring yourself all the time or breaking your needle. Place one end of the material on the inside of the belt with 1cm overlapping the top of the outside of the belt. Sew the two sides of the overlapping material where it is positioned. (Tip: I use a hard surface to help push the needle through the belt and material rather than push with my hand or fingers.)
Take the other end of the material and cover the outside of the belt. Again you need to overlap about 1 cm over the inside of the belt. Then sew that end to the top of the belt.
Sew along the bottom of the belt securing both ends of the material to it. Then continue sewing along the sides for extra support. If you desire, sew a 2nd layer around the belt where the material meets it. Remember, the material needs to take the weight of that leg which is a lot of strain. The more secure the material the better.