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Publication numberUS20040163278 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/699,719
Publication dateAug 26, 2004
Filing dateNov 3, 2003
Priority dateNov 1, 2002
Also published asCA2503652A1, EP1555905A1, WO2004041013A1
Publication number10699719, 699719, US 2004/0163278 A1, US 2004/163278 A1, US 20040163278 A1, US 20040163278A1, US 2004163278 A1, US 2004163278A1, US-A1-20040163278, US-A1-2004163278, US2004/0163278A1, US2004/163278A1, US20040163278 A1, US20040163278A1, US2004163278 A1, US2004163278A1
InventorsCarl Caspers, Maitland McKenzie
Original AssigneeCaspers Carl A., Mckenzie Maitland Craig
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Vacuum-suspended shoe
US 20040163278 A1
Abstract
Footwear having a vacuum pump for removing fluid from its interior. The footwear can have a rigid outer shell, a flexible material bonded to the rigid outer shell, a thin sheath within the flexible material, a heelstrike-actuated vacuum pump in the heel, and a vacuum hose connecting the vacuum pump to the interior. The pump can be configured to reduce or increase pressure within the footwear to provide different results.
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Claims(20)
What is claimed:
1. An apparatus for use on a foot, comprising:
(a) a support portion;
(b) a first material within the support portion and enclosing a space in which a foot may be placed;
(c) a pump embedded in the heel; and
(d) a conduit connecting the pump to the space.
2. The article of claim 1, wherein support portion comprises a shoe shell for surrounding the foot, wherein the first material is flexible and bonded to the shoe shell, and wherein the space is substantially airtight when a foot is inserted therein.
3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the apparatus has an exterior appearance of one of a shoe and boot, and wherein the pump comprises a vacuum pump such that actuation of the pump removes fluid adjacent the foot.
4. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising
(e) a layer of second material in the space adjacent the first material, wherein the second material is significantly more breathable than the first material.
5. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a one-way valve in fluid communication with the pump and the conduit such that fluid will flow substantially only in one direction through the conduit.
6. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein the pump and valve are configured such that fluid flows from adjacent the foot and is released outside the apparatus.
7. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein the pump and valve are configured such that fluid flows into the apparatus.
8. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the pump is actuated by heelstrike during a user's stride.
9. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the support portion comprises an outer shell, and wherein the apparatus further comprises an opening in the outer shell and a fastener for closing the opening.
10. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the support portion is substantially rigid.
11. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein fluid removed from adjacent the foot by the pump creates a force that holds the apparatus to the foot.
12. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the apparatus has an external appearance of one of a shoe and a boot.
13. A method for removing fluid from within footwear, the footwear having a heel and an interior, comprising the steps of:
(a) providing a first material within the interior of the footwear that forms a space into which a foot can be placed;
(b) drawing a vacuum against the space after a user's foot is inserted into the footwear.
14. The method of claim 13, further comprising:
(c) providing a second material adjacent the first material, wherein the second material is significantly more breathable than the first material, and wherein the first and second materials are flexible.
15. The method of claim 13, wherein step (a) comprises bonding the first material to the interior of the footwear and wherein the first material forms a seal with the user's foot, and wherein step (b) is performed by a heelstrike-actuated vacuum pump within the heel.
16. The method of claim 13, further comprising:
(c) providing a one-way valve in fluid communication with the pump and the conduit such that fluid will substantially flow only in one direction through the conduit.
17. The method of claim 13, wherein the vacuum is sufficient to assist in holding the footwear to the user's foot.
18. The method of claim 13, further comprising the step of:
(c) discontinuing the drawing of the vacuum and increasing pressure within the space.
19. A method for changing the fluid pressure from within footwear, the footwear having a heel and an interior, comprising the steps of:
(a) providing a first material within the interior of the footwear;
(b) providing a fluid conduit that enables fluid to flow at least one of in and out of the interior;
(c) controlling fluid flow in or out of the interior through the fluid conduit after a user's foot is inserted into the footwear to change the fluid pressure within the interior.
20. The method of claim 19, wherein the first material provides a seal between the interior and a user's foot, wherein step (c) comprises forcing fluid out of the interior and substantially preventing fluid flow into the interior.
Description
  • [0001]
    This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 60/422,963, filed on Nov. 1, 2002 and entitled VACUUM-SUSPENDED SHOE, which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    The present invention relates to an apparatus for suspending footwear, such as a shoe, from the human body by means of vacuum.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0003]
    One embodiment of the present invention relates to an apparatus for use on a foot that includes a support portion, a first material within the support portion and enclosing a space in which a foot may be placed, a pump embedded in the heel, and a conduit connecting the pump to the space.
  • [0004]
    Another embodiment relates to a method for removing fluid from within footwear. The steps of this embodiment can include providing a first material within the interior of the footwear that forms a space into which a foot can be placed and drawing a vacuum against the space after a user's foot is inserted into the footwear.
  • [0005]
    Another embodiment of the present invention relates to a method for changing the fluid pressure from within footwear. One step could be to provide a first material within the interior of the footwear. Another step could be to provide a fluid conduit that enables fluid to flow at least one of in and out of the interior. Still another step could be to control fluid flow in or out of the interior through the fluid conduit after a user's foot is inserted into the footwear to change the fluid pressure within the interior.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0006]
    [0006]FIG. 1 is a schematic cross-section of one embodiment of the invention in place on the foot.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
  • [0007]
    In one embodiment the apparatus 10 comprises a support portion such as an outer portions such as a shoe shell 12, with a flexible material 14 therein, wherein the material 14 is preferably urethane. The flexible material 14 can be bonded to the shoe shell 12. The flexible material 14 can cover the entire foot and provide a air seal at, for example, the patient's ankle A.
  • [0008]
    The patient can don a sock 16 or another lining material. Preferably, the sock 16 should not extend above the flexible material 14. The sock 16 can act as an air wick between foot F and the flexible material 14. The sock can absorb, hold, or wick away perspiration.
  • [0009]
    The apparatus 10 can further include a vacuum pump 18 or other means for reducing pressure. In the preferred embodiment, the vacuum pump 18 is in the heel 20 of the shoe shell 12. A conduit, such as a hose or tube 22, connects the vacuum pump 18 to the inside of the flexible material 14, between the flexible material 14 and the foot F. As the patient walks, the heel-resident vacuum pump 18 is compressed during stance phase and fluid (e.g., air, water vapor, etc.) can be expelled to atmosphere. During the swing phase of walking the heel-resident vacuum pump 18 returns to its normal shape, pulling fluid from between the flexible material 14 and the foot F (and through the sock 16, if one is used), thus creating a vacuum, i.e., lowered pressure, to hold the foot to the inside of the flexible material 14.
  • [0010]
    The apparatus 10 can further include a one-way valve 24 between the vacuum pump 18 and the hose 22, and a second one-way valve 26 between the vacuum pump 18 and atmosphere. Any suitable one-way valve may be used for the valves 24, 26, such as a duckbill valve or a ball valve with a seat and spring. The valves 24, 26 control the flow of air and substantially stops air from being pumped into the space between the flexible material 14 and the foot F.
  • [0011]
    Preferably, the shoe shell 12 is composed of a substantially rigid material that stops the shoe shell from collapsing on the foot as vacuum is drawn.
  • [0012]
    The apparatus may have a mid-dorsal opening 30 with a closure means such as Velcro or shoelaces to allow the patient to don the shoe.
  • [0013]
    When used to create a lower pressure environment (than ambient) for a foot, the apparatus has application in the removal of moisture (liquid or gas) from the foot or between the foot and shoe. It can also be useful for providing a close fit of a shoe, boot, or the like on the foot, as in downhill ski boots, which could involve the use of conformable shoes, boots, and the like. Still further, the apparatus could also be used to increase or maintain blood flow to the foot, if such flow is desired.
  • [0014]
    Or, the apparatus could be reconfigured to increase the pressure upon the foot, i.e., to provide a higher pressure environment (than ambient) for a foot. This could be a way of maintaining or reducing fluid volume in the foot. E.g., forcing air between the material 14 and the foot could prevent pooling of fluid in the foot or even drive fluid out of the foot. Preferably, the material 14 would be substantially incompressible or inelastic such that the increased pressure between the material 14 and the foot would result in at least a certain amount of pressure being applied to the foot rather than resulting entirely in the compression or stretching of the material 14. Or, the higher pressure environment could be create outside the material 14, for example, between it and another layer of material 14.
  • [0015]
    The apparatus could be operated such that pressure is changed, for example, periodically. That is, it could be changed back and forth between higher pressure and neutral (or ambient) pressure, higher pressure and lower pressure, neutral pressure and lower pressure, or some combination of higher, lower, and neutral pressures.
  • [0016]
    Further, though the apparatus is shown in terms of a shoe configuration, it could also be useful configured as a boot that goes to or above the user's ankle. This boot could include material 14 such that the pressure chamber created therein either ends where shown in FIG. 1 or extends further up the boot.
  • [0017]
    The present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential attributes thereof, and it is therefore desired that the present embodiment be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive. For example, components or portions of the apparatus 10 described above could, in themselves, be provided separately but still provide some or all of the benefits noted above.
Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US6974484Jan 27, 2005Dec 13, 2005Otto Bock Healthcare LpOsmotic membrane and vacuum system for artificial limb
US7670385May 9, 2007Mar 2, 2010Otto Bock Healthcare GmbhInternal socket and fitting system for a prosthesis
US7716853 *May 12, 2005May 18, 2010Neil FinneganSuction fitted boot
US7922775May 23, 2003Apr 12, 2011Otto Bock Healthcare LpPulsating pressure chamber and method for fluid management
US8182547Nov 13, 2009May 22, 2012Charles KingNegative gauge pressure moisture management and secure adherence artificial limb system and associated methods
US8475537May 1, 2012Jul 2, 2013Charles KingAirflow regulation system for artificial limb and associated methods
US8496715Apr 22, 2008Jul 30, 2013Otto Bock Healthcare LpPneumatic connections for prosthetic socket
US8708998 *Apr 7, 2009Apr 29, 2014Bluesky Medical Group, Inc.Enclosure-based reduced pressure treatment system
US8758449Apr 22, 2011Jun 24, 2014Otto Bock Healthcare LpSocket liner for artificial limb
US8869433 *Dec 12, 2011Oct 28, 2014Nike, Inc.Article of footwear having chamber capable of holding vacuum
US9044348Apr 30, 2013Jun 2, 2015Ossur HfProsthetic device, system and method for increasing vacuum attachment
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US9198780Feb 13, 2013Dec 1, 2015Ossur HfVacuum assisted suspension system
US9364348Feb 28, 2014Jun 14, 2016Ossur HfVacuum suspension system
US9398963Mar 24, 2014Jul 26, 2016Charles Russell KingNegative gauge pressure dynamic convection system for artificial limb and associated methods
US9451803Sep 25, 2014Sep 27, 2016Nike, Inc.Article of footwear having chamber capable of holding vacuum
US9486335Apr 30, 2015Nov 8, 2016Ossur HfProsthetic device, system and method for increasing vacuum attachment
US9615946Jun 18, 2015Apr 11, 2017Ossur HfProsthetic device, system and method for increasing vacuum attachment
US20040030411 *May 23, 2003Feb 12, 2004Caspers Carl A.Pulsating pressure chamber and method for fluid management
US20040181290 *Mar 25, 2004Sep 16, 2004Otto Bock Healthcare LpVacuum apparatus and method for managing residual limb volume in an artificial limb
US20060059722 *Sep 21, 2004Mar 23, 2006Jarriel Mark BSuction alleviation system for footwear
US20070055383 *Sep 8, 2006Mar 8, 2007Charles KingVacuum assisted heat/perspiration removal system and limb volume management for prosthetic device
US20080028493 *May 12, 2005Feb 7, 2008Neil FinneganSuction Fitted Boot
US20090192499 *Apr 7, 2009Jul 30, 2009Richard Scott WestonEnclosure-based reduced pressure treatment system
US20100125342 *Nov 13, 2009May 20, 2010Charles KingNegative gauge pressure moisture management and secure adherence artificial limb system and associated methods
US20120123559 *Nov 15, 2011May 17, 2012Otto Bock Healthcare GmbhPump comprising a moving wall and use of a pump of this type
US20130116661 *Dec 27, 2012May 9, 2013Kci Licensing, Inc.System and method for reduced pressure charging
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US20140228792 *Apr 16, 2014Aug 14, 2014Bluesky Medical Group IncorporatedEnclosure-based reduced pressure treatment system
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WO2017053384A1 *Sep 21, 2016Mar 30, 2017Brigham And Women's Hospital, Inc.Negative pressure wound treatment system and method
Classifications
U.S. Classification36/3.00R, 36/3.00B
International ClassificationA43B17/03, A43B7/06, A43B5/04
Cooperative ClassificationA43B7/082, A43B5/0405, A43B17/035
European ClassificationA43B7/08B, A43B17/03P, A43B5/04B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 27, 2004ASAssignment
Owner name: OTTO BOCK HEALTHCARE LP, MINNESOTA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:CASPERS, CARL A.;MACKENZIE, MAITLAND CRAIG;REEL/FRAME:015089/0750;SIGNING DATES FROM 20040805 TO 20040823