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Publication numberUS20070021700 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/530,756
Publication dateJan 25, 2007
Filing dateSep 11, 2006
Priority dateAug 7, 2006
Also published asCN101534754A, CN101534754B, US8211044, US20100234785, WO2008033865A2, WO2008033865A3
Publication number11530756, 530756, US 2007/0021700 A1, US 2007/021700 A1, US 20070021700 A1, US 20070021700A1, US 2007021700 A1, US 2007021700A1, US-A1-20070021700, US-A1-2007021700, US2007/0021700A1, US2007/021700A1, US20070021700 A1, US20070021700A1, US2007021700 A1, US2007021700A1
InventorsTyler Liebowitz
Original AssigneeTyler Liebowitz
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Medical device for an athlete's digits
US 20070021700 A1
Abstract
There is disclosed a medical device and a medical treatment process. The device may be a sheath. The sheath may fit around at least a circumference of a finger. The sheath may be attachable and detachable to adjacent sheaths. The process may include wrapping a first piece of an elastic material around a circumference of at least two adjacent digits and a knuckle between the at least two adjacent digits of a first finger, wrapping a second piece of the elastic material around a circumference of a second, adjacent finger. The elastic material may have a first surface with a frictional element and a second surface with an adhesive.
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Claims(28)
1. A medical device comprising a tape having a first side and a second side, the first side having an adhesive surface, the second side having a frictional element.
2. The medical device of claim 1 having a plurality of frictional elements, wherein the frictional elements are arranged on a first side of a finger and not on a second side of the finger when the tape is wrapped around the finger.
3. The medical device of claim 2, wherein the frictional elements are dots.
4. The medical device of claim 3, wherein the frictional elements are arranged based on the surface of a basketball.
5. The medical device of claim 4, wherein the first side of the tape has a hook fastener.
6. A medical device comprising a sheath adapted to fit around at least a portion of a finger and be magnetically attachable and detachable to adjacent sheaths.
7. The medical device of claim 1, the sheath including an inner surface and an outer surface, the outer surface including depressions, the depressions adapted to fasten with a protrusion.
8. The medical device of claim 1, wherein the sheath has sufficient rigidity to not bend about a knuckle of a finger when a person flexes the finger about the knuckle.
9. The medical device of claim 1, wherein the sheath defines an aperture adapted to receive a finger.
10. The medical device of claim 1, wherein the sheath includes a ferrous material adapted to oxidize thereby generate heat.
11. The medical device of claim 8, wherein the sheath includes a metal fiber loaded polymer.
12. The medical device of claim 8, wherein the polymer has an anti-bacterial agent.
13. The medical device of claim 1, the medical device having a flexible band integral with the sheath.
14. A medical device comprising:
a cylindrical body having a geometry for fitting around at least a portion of a finger, the cylindrical body including a polymer
an attachment device selected from the group consisting of a tongue and a band, the attachment device integral to the cylindrical geometry, the attachment device attached to a cylindrical body of another medical device.
15. The medical device of claim 14, the cylindrical body having an outer surface including frictional elements arranged based on the surface of a football.
16. The medical device of claim 14, the cylindrical body including holes along a side of the cylindrical body, the cylindrical body adapted to fasten with protrusions of another medical device via the holes.
17. The medical device of claim 14, wherein the cylindrical body has sufficient rigidity to not bend about a knuckle of a finger when a person flexes the finger about the knuckle.
18. The medical device of claim 17, wherein the polymer includes an anti-fungal agent.
19. The medical device of claim 18, wherein the attachment device is an elastic band.
20. A medical treatment process comprising:
wrapping a first piece of an elastic tape around a circumference of at least two adjacent digits and a knuckle between the at least two adjacent digits of a first finger
the elastic tape having a first surface and a second surface, the first surface having a frictional element, the second surface having an adhesive
wrapping a second piece of the elastic tape around a circumference of a second finger, the second finger adjacent to the first finger.
21. The medical treatment process of claim 20, wherein the elastic tape includes a magnetic material.
22. The medical treatment process of claim 21, wherein the first surface includes loop fasteners.
23. The medical treatment process of claim 22 further comprising securing the first piece to the second piece by attaching a backing across the first surface of both the first piece and the second piece wherein the backing is disposed proximate a back of the first finger and a back of the second finger.
24. A medical device comprising:
a wrap means for fitting around at least a portion of a finger, the wrap means including a polymer
an attachment means integral to the wrap means, the attachment means for attaching the wrap means to another wrap means.
25. The medical device of claim 24, the wrap means having an outer surface including frictional elements arranged based on the surface of a volleyball.
26. The medical device of claim 24, the wrap means including holes along a side of the wrap means, the wrap means adapted to fasten with protrusions of another medical device via the holes.
27. The medical device of claim 24, wherein the wrap means has sufficient rigidity to not bend about a knuckle of a finger when a person flexes the finger about the knuckle.
28. The medical device of claim 24, wherein the wrap means includes an anti-fungal agent.
Description
    RELATED APPLICATION INFORMATION
  • [0001]
    This patent claims priority to and incorporates by reference U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/821,669 filed Aug. 7, 2006.
  • [0002]
    This patent incorporates by reference U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/743,674 filed Mar. 22, 2006, which discloses devices and features which may be combined with or complementary to those described herein.
  • NOTICE OF COPYRIGHTS AND TRADE DRESS
  • [0003]
    A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to copyright protection. This patent document may show and/or describe matter which is or may become trade dress of the owner. The copyright and trade dress owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent disclosure as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright and trade dress rights whatsoever.
  • BACKGROUND
  • [0004]
    1. Field
  • [0005]
    This disclosure relates to medical devices for the digits of athletes.
  • [0006]
    1. Description of the Related Art
  • [0007]
    Football, basketball, volleyball, rugby, water polo, soccer, hockey, baseball, softball, golf, tennis, racquetball, table tennis, power lifting, boxing, swimming, polo, lacrosse, gymnastics, track and field and other sports are widely played by many people.
  • [0008]
    Because of the physical nature of sports, finger and toe injuries are common.
  • [0009]
    Most people have fifteen finger bones in each hand. Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown the back 110 of a hand 100 of a typical person. The hand 100 includes a pinky finger 120, a ring finger 130, a middle finger 140, a pointer finger 150 and a thumb 160. In turn, the pinky finger 120, ring finger 130, middle finger 140 and pointer finger 150 respectively have a first digit (or phalange) 121, 131, 141, 151, a first knuckle (or joint) 122, 132, 142, 152, a second digit 123, 133, 143, 153, a second knuckle 124, 134, 144, 154 and a third digit 125, 135, 145, 155.
  • [0010]
    Each of the bones (not shown) within the fingers 120, 130, 140, 150 are connected at the knuckles 122, 132, 142, 152, 124, 134, 144, 154 with ligaments (not shown). Knuckles 122, 132, 142, 152, 124, 134, 144, 154 are susceptible to sprains, strains, dislocations and ligament tears while playing sports.
  • [0011]
    The term jammed finger refers to an injured finger, due to injuries such as compression, a sprain, a strain, or dislocation of one or more of the joints. Jamming may result following impact with an opponent or teammate, sudden contact with a ball, a fall, or any sudden stretching of a finger 120, 130, 140, 150. Falls onto hard, unyielding surfaces (for example. a basketball floor) may result in jams. It is also common for ligaments to tear near the joints when joints 122, 132, 142, 152, 124, 134, 144, 154 become dislocated.
  • [0012]
    Common treatments for a jammed finger include taping an injured finger to an adjacent finger or splinting a finger.
  • [0013]
    Toes may be similarly injured, though the treatment options are typically more limited.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0014]
    FIG. 1 is a plan view of a back of a hand.
  • [0015]
    FIG. 2 is a plan view of a palm of a hand with a sheath.
  • [0016]
    FIG. 3 is a plan view of a palm of a hand with a sheath.
  • [0017]
    FIG. 4 is a plan view of a sheath.
  • [0018]
    FIG. 5 is a plan view of a back of a hand with a sheath.
  • [0019]
    FIG. 6 is a plan view of a back of a hand with a sheath.
  • [0020]
    FIG. 7 is a plan view of a back of a hand with a sheath.
  • [0021]
    FIG. 8 is a plan view of a back of a hand with a sheath.
  • [0022]
    FIG. 9 is a plan view of a palm of a hand with a sheath.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0023]
    Throughout this description, the embodiments and examples shown should be considered as exemplars, rather than limitations on the apparatus and methods disclosed or claimed.
  • [0024]
    Referring now to FIG. 2, there is shown a plan view of the palm 115 of a hand 100 and a sheath 820. As the most common finger injured in physical sports is the middle finger 140, the sheath 820 is shown disposed around a circumference of the first digit, first knuckle and the second digit of the middle finger 140.
  • [0025]
    The term sheath refers to a device which at least partially covers and/or supports a finger or toe (i.e., a digit) of a warm blooded vertebrate, having a general geometry of a hollow cylinder such as a sleeve, with either open ends or one open and one closed end. The sheath 820 may have the shape of a thimble, a cylinder a mitt or other geometry.
  • [0026]
    The sheath 820 may be utilized as a medical device in a variety of sports. The sheath 820 may provide support to one or more digits and/or one or more knuckles during physical activities. By providing support and rigidity to one or more fingers, the sheath 820 may protect a person's finger from further injury.
  • [0027]
    The sheath 820 may be formed of a flexible sheet of material, for example, spandex. Spandex is lightweight, durable, soft smooth, supple, and resistant to body oils, perspiration, lotions, and detergents. Moreover, spandex has sufficient flexibility to take the form of a finger when stretched. Because spandex is not very strong, the sheath 820 may be formed by wrapping several layers around the middle finger 820. Additionally, the density of the spandex may be customized to provide a stiffness that prevents the first knuckle from bending. Thus, the spandex may be manufactured such that only a single wrap or layer may be needed to provide desired stiffness to at least partially immobilize a portion of a finger.
  • [0028]
    Additional materials may be selected based on one or more of density, rigidity and modulus of elasticity. For example, the sheath 830 may include leather, vinyl, cotton, neoprene or other material.
  • [0029]
    Because people have different size fingers, the sheath 820 may be customized for each person. An example of customizing the sheath 820 is manufacturing the sheath according to ring sizes. Another example of customizing the sheath 820 is providing the sheath 820 in the form of a two sided tape. The term tape refers to a rolled up strip of long, thin anti narrow material. One side of the tape may include an adhesive or fastener, such as a hook and look type fastener. The other side of the tape may include frictional elements 830, disposed on the outside of the middle finger 140, analogous to the features of one or more of a football, a basketball, a volleyball, a rugby ball, a water polo ball, a soccer ball or other sporting device. In order to fully customize the sheath 820, the frictional elements 830 may be spaced along the sheath 820 such that one side of the finger includes frictional elements 830 and the other side of the sheath 820 provides a surface for attachment.
  • [0030]
    Examples of frictional elements include integrated bumps, dots, ridges, irregularities, granular elements to match a sporting good, and other elements. The frictional elements 830 may be incorporated into the sheath 820 during manufacturing or added manually by an athlete. If the sheath 820 has a relatively high coefficient of friction, then an athlete may grip a ball, a stick, a person, or another object with greater ease than with bare fingers. For example, the frictional surface may include small bumps, hooks, protrusions, suction cups or other features that provide for high friction. Each frictional element may 830 be sized, shaped, positioned and characterized (e.g., its stickiness) to complement the object to be controlled. For example, an array of dots may be used as in U.S. Pat. No. 5,500,956, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference, particularly the disclosures regarding frictional elements 830 and gloves as they may be combined with or used in the medical devices disclosed herein.
  • [0031]
    Referring now to FIG. 3, there is shown a plan view of the palm 115 of a hand 100 and a sheath 900. As shown, the sheath 900 is formed of a two sided tape wrapped around the pinky finger 120, the ring finger 130 and the middle finger 140. The sheath 900 may be wrapped tightly around the finger 120, 130, 140 in order to bind an injured finger to one or more adjacent fingers. As shown, the ring finger 130 is bound to both the middle finger 140 and the pinky finger 120. Because the ring finger 130 may be generally immobilized by the use of the sheath 900 the ring finger 130 may be protected from further injury.
  • [0032]
    Referring now to FIG. 4 there is shown a plan view of a sheath 200. The sheath 200 may include a tongue 230 and a body 205. The body 205 may include an outer surface 210, an inner surface 270, an opening 250 disposed at the top end of the body 205, an opening 260 disposed at the bottom end of the body 205, an aperture 220, a depression 245 and a protrusion 240.
  • [0033]
    The term tongue refers to a projecting section of material which extends from a body. The term body refers to the main or structural portion of a device. The term aperture refers to a an opening or open space, such as a hole, gap, cleft, chasm or slit.
  • [0034]
    The sheath 200 may be manufactured as a unitary device, for example via injection molding, extrusion, weaving, stitching or other process. In turn, the sheath 200 may be adapted to fit a single finger or multiple fingers (as shown in the plan view of a hand 100 in FIG. 9). The sheath 200 may provide support among adjacent fingers. The sheath 200 may be permanently or non-permanently attached to, integrated with, or installed around a glove covering all or other parts of the hand (not shown). As shown in the plan view of a hand 100 in FIG. 5, a first sheath 310 on a pinky finger 120 may be adapted to be repeatedly attached and detached from a second sheath 320 that fits on a ring finger 320.
  • [0035]
    The characteristics of the sheath 200 may be selected based upon the object to be gripped, and how the fingers are to move. Such objects include basketballs, footballs, baseballs, rugby balls, baseball bats, hockey sticks, golf clubs, tennis racquets and table tennis paddles. For example, in sports which include bats or sticks, at least one knuckle may need to bend in order to control the sporting device whereas the other knuckle can be immobilized and protected.
  • [0036]
    The strength and weight of the sheath 200 may be determined based on the material that it is manufactured from. Appropriate materials include a plastic, a woven fabric, an elastomer, a rubber, a paper based material, a metal or combinations of materials. The sheath 200 may include a fabric soaked in a resin, which, when removed from a hermetically sealed package and unraveled onto a finger, cures into a firm covering, such as a mold or cast. The sheath 200 may be an elastomer, such as latex, that unravels onto a plurality of fingers.
  • [0037]
    Examples of polymers include synthetic resins and organic resins. Organic resins may be thermoplastic, which may aid in the spinning, crimping, shaping and bonding of component sections by thermal processes. Examples of organic resins include hydrocarbon resins such as vinyl, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene, polyamides, polyesters, polypropylene or other material. Polymers are inexpensive to manufacture and therefore may be produced for one time usage.
  • [0038]
    The sheath 200 may be woven from a soft fabric, such as cotton, but may also have some sections which are firm. Stiffness may be varied by section by manufacturing a material which has a greater thickness in a given section or a greater density in a given section. For example, the sheath 200 may include a dense spandex for covering a knuckle, and a less dense cotton to cover the balance of a finger. Thus, the knuckle may be immobilized whereas the balance of the finger is aesthetically dressed. For some professional athletes, a custom device may be produced in order to last several games.
  • [0039]
    Additionally, to provide support to an athlete's injured finger, a section of the sheath 200 associated with an injured knuckle or digit of the injured finger may include a support, such as one or more hard plastic or metal strips or rods (not shown). The support may be selectively attached to the sheath 200 such that an injured athlete may add additional support as needed.
  • [0040]
    Physical sports generally result in sweating. Thus, bacteria, mold, fungus and other undesirable microorganisms may attempt to grow on the sheath 200. In order to retard growth of the undesirable microorganisms, the material of which the sheath 200 manufactured may include or be treated with one or more anti-fungal or anti-bacterial agents.
  • [0041]
    An example of a chemical that acts both as an anti-bacterial and an anti-fungal agent is an oxy-substituted aromatic arsine such as oxybisphenoxarsine (OBPA). The oxysubstituted aromatic arsine, such as OBPA, is a bacteriostat, disinfectant and fungicide. OBPA prevents the growth of microorganisms when compounded in resins and also acts as a preservative. OBPA can be formulated as an emulsifiable concentrate, pelleted, tableted, soluble concentrate/liquid and ready-to-use liquid. OBPA may be incorporated into a polymer or cloth of which the sheath 200 is formed.
  • [0042]
    Some sports are played in cold weather environments, such as skiing, snowboarding, ice hockey, football and other sports. In cold weather, if a finger is relatively immobilized, it may be difficult to generate heat and the finger may become numbingly cold. In order to aid the player in maintaining heat with the finger, the sheath 200 may include ferrous or other material that oxidizes rapidly. If the sheath 200 is provided in an air tight seal and then the seal is broken, the ferrous material may oxidize creating heat. This embodiment would be applicable to a one time use. However, a miniature heating coil may be embedded in the material of the sheath 200 that can be activated via a pressure switch, a small battery or other system.
  • [0043]
    Additionally, when injuries first occur, a health care professional may recommend cooling of the injured area. Thus, the sheath 200 may be stored in a cooler or frozen prior to sports play. At the time of injury, the sheath 200 may be applied and provide dual function, that of an ice pack and that of support.
  • [0044]
    The body 205 of the sheath 200 may have a geometry that fits over a knuckle and at least a portion of adjacent digits of a finger to the knuckle (not shown). The body 205 may be sufficiently rigid such that an injured knuckle does not flex when a person attempts to flex the finger. Thus, the body 205 may prevent bending about the knuckle of a finger and allow for healing.
  • [0045]
    The body 205 may define a first opening 260 disposed proximate the bottom of the sheath 200, a second opening 250 disposed proximate the top of the sheath 250 and an aperture 220 disposed along a side of the sheath 200. The aperture 220 may be disposed towards the bottom of the side, the top of the side, the middle of the side, the majority of the length of the side or other configuration. The size of the aperture 220 may be based upon the size of a person's fingertip or other dimension. A person may stretch or slide the first opening 260 over the tip of a finger (not shown) and then down the finger towards the base of a finger. Another embodiment of the body 205 (not shown) does not include the second opening 250 but has a closed tip. This embodiment may be suited for cold weather sports in order to maintain heat in the finger tip.
  • [0046]
    The aperture 220 may have geometry and dimensions based the size of a person's fingertip or other dimension. For example, if a person is able to insert a fingertip into the aperture 220, the person can to pull the sheath 200 down across the finger. Additionally, the aperture 220 may provide for breathing of skin and reduction in moisture buildup. An additional embodiment (not shown) includes a plurality of dispersed small apertures to promote cooling and air flow. This embodiment may be selected for sports played in the warm weather and/or when the sheath 200 is worn for a prolonged period of time.
  • [0047]
    When the sheath 200 is in place on a person's finger, the person's finger tip may be exposed beyond the second opening 250. In some sports, such as basketball, exposed fingers allow the athlete to better control a ball, as an athlete's fingertips are touch sensitive. In this embodiment, the sheath may not extend beyond the midpoint of the second digit of a finger or the first digit of the thumb in order to maintain finger—ball contact.
  • [0048]
    The outer surface 210 of the sheath 200 may include a high coefficient of friction and/or frictional elements. The outer surface 210 may include an attachment device or fastener to aid in attaching the sheath 200 to another sheath (not shown). Examples of attachment devices include loop fasteners, adhesives, snaps, zippers, slips, combinations herein or other fasteners.
  • [0049]
    In order to fasten to another sheath (not shown), the tongue 230 may include a first surface 235 which includes hooks that interlock with loops on the another sheath's outer surface (not shown). The first surface of the tongue 235 may include an adhesive or a magnetic material which secures the tongue 235 to the another sheath.
  • [0050]
    The tongue 230 may have a length that allows the athlete to wrap the tongue 230 around two or more sheaths (not shown) thereby securing the sheath 200 to other sheaths (not shown). An additional embodiment may utilize an elastic band (not shown) integral to the body 205 to wrap around and secure the sheath 200 to adjacent sheaths (not shown).
  • [0051]
    Attachment features may be disposed along the body 205 and/or the tongue 230. Attachment features may be disposed proximate the adjacent sections of the sheath of one finger to the sheath of the adjacent finger.
  • [0052]
    As shown in FIG. 4, the protrusion 240 and depression 245 define interlocking members which provide for mechanical fastening between the sheath 200 and an adjacent sheath (not shown). The protrusion 240 may have the shape of a nipple, tab or other shape. The depression 245 may extend at least partially into the body 205 or be a hole in the body 205. The depression 245 and the protrusion 240 may have respective dimensions such that they interlock with a friction fit, an interference fit or other fit. Examples of protrusions and depressions include dimples and holes, snaps, pegs and holes, and other male and female members.
  • [0053]
    Interference fits are characterized by a diametral interference of approximately 0.001 to 0.002 units per unit of depression diameter. Friction fits are characterized by diametral interference of less than approximately 0.001 to 0.002 units per unit of depression diameter.
  • [0054]
    In order to maintain an interference fit and/or a friction fit, the protrusion 240 and the depression 245 may be manufactured with a low coefficient of elasticity. In turn, the protrusion and the depression 245 may not easily deform or separate. Hard polymers, dense fabrics, metals and other materials may provide these properties.
  • [0055]
    The inner surface 270 may include an attachment device. For example, if the body 205 is formed by a material that is able to be rolled, but not bent axially, the body 205 may be formed by a sheet including one or more attachment devices. In fact, the inner surface 270 may include an adhesive to secure the body 205 to a person's finger.
  • [0056]
    The body 205 may be directionally flexible and/or directionally rigid depending on the type of sport the athlete is playing. For example, in sports like lacrosse or hockey, a person holds a stick with the fingers curved around the stick. If the person's second knuckle is injured, it may be necessary to immobilize the second knuckle, but allow the first knuckle to bend. However, due to swelling, the injured finger may have a swelling about the injury that is up to approximately two times the circumference of the adjacent digit. Therefore, the body 205 may need to stretch axially and radially while being applied to the injured finger and then provide bending rigidity about the injured section. Moreover, based on the sport, the body 205 may be adapted to provide bending rigidity along the whole finger, one portion of the finger, or multiple portions of the finger. When holding a bat or stick, the person may desire a single knuckle maintained in a straight set with the other knuckle having the ability to bend. When playing a game such as basketball, the entire finger may be restrained from bending. The amount of bending and where bending may or may not occur may be determined by a sports physician, a physical therapist, a professional trainer, a nurse, first aid provider, an emergency services provider or other heath care professional.
  • [0057]
    Directional rigidity may be provided by incorporating axially aligned metal fibers, carbon fibers or other materials in conjunction with a polymer and/or fabric. Such metallic components may allow for magnetic properties. Examples of metallic components include wood, metal or composite wires, rods or strips, metal powder loaded polymers, metal fiber loaded polymers and other components.
  • [0058]
    Additionally, a customized set of two, three, four or five sheaths 200 may be temporarily or permanently fixed to or inside of a baseball glove, a football glove, a golf glove, a soccer goalie glove, a rugby glove, a volleyball glove, a wrestling glove, a weight lifting glove, a track and field glove, a water polo glove, a hockey glove or other glove (not shown).
  • [0059]
    Referring now to FIG. 5, there is shown a plan view of the back 110 of a hand 100. The hand 100 includes a pinky finger 120 and a ring finger 130. Disposed around the pinky finger 120 from a first digit to a third digit is a first sheath 310. Disposed around a circumference of the first digit of the ring finger 130 is a second sheath 320.
  • [0060]
    The first sheath 310 includes an outer surface 315 and a tongue 330. The tongue 330 includes a first surface 335. The second sheath 320 includes an outer surface 325. The first surface 335 of the tongue 330 may be adapted to secure the first sheath 310 to the second sheath 320. For example, the first surface 335 of the tongue 330 may include an adhesive.
  • [0061]
    If the first sheath 310 is secured to the second sheath 320, then an injured pinky finger 120 may be immobilized relative the first digit of the ring finger 130. By securing the first sheath 310 to the second sheath 320, additional strength and control may be exercised in various maneuvers. For example, when a basketball athlete attempts to gain control of a basketball via a rebound, if the ball hits a tip of the pinky finger 120, the first sheath 310 and the second sheath 320 may provide strength amongst the pinky finger 120 and the ring finger 130 and distribute the impact among the pinky finger 120 and the ring finger 130 and not further injure the pinky finger 120.
  • [0062]
    Referring now to FIG. 6, there is shown a plan view of the back 110 of a hand 100. The hand 100 includes a pinky finger 120 and a ring finger 130. A first sheath 410 is disposed around the pinky finger 120 from the first digit to the third digit. A second sheath 420 is disposed around the ring finger 130 about the first digit.
  • [0063]
    In the embodiment of FIG. 6, the first sheath 410 includes an outer surface 415 which includes a magnetic material and the second sheath 420 includes an outer surface 425 which includes a magnetic material. As shown, the magnetic material of the outer surface 425 of the second sheath 420 magnetically secures to the outer surface 415 of the first sheath 410. Magnetic attachment may be utilized where any additional material or protrusion could improve the player's performance. For example, in baseball, a player throwing a baseball may need sheaths that are thin, fitted specifically to their fingers and do not provide much bulk between the fingers and the ball.
  • [0064]
    Referring now to FIG. 7, there is shown a plan view of the back 110 of a hand 100. The hand 100 includes a pinky finger 120, a ring finger 130 and a middle finger 140. Disposed around the pinky finger 120 from the first digit to the second digit is a first sheath 510. Disposed around the ring finger 130 from the first digit to the second digit is a second sheath 520. Disposed around the middle finger 140 from the first digit to the second digit is a third sheath 530. The first finger sheath 510, the second finger sheath 520 and the third finger sheath 530 respectively prevent bending of the first knuckle of the pinky finger 120, the ring finger 130 and the middle finger 140.
  • [0065]
    The first finger sheath 510, the second finger sheath 520 and the third finger sheath 530 may respectively include ridges 515, 525, 535 in the outer surfaces. The first finger sheath 510, the second finger sheath 520 and the third finger sheath 530 may be attached to each other via a band 540. The band 540 may wrap around the finger sheaths 510, 520, 530 and interlock with the ridges 515, 525, 535 in order to prevent the finger sheaths 510, 520, 530 from moving relative to each other. Additionally, the band 540 may be elastic member to fit tightly around the finger sheaths 510, 520, 530. In turn, the finger sheaths 510, 520, 530 and the band 540 provide protection to the first knuckles of the pinky, ring and middle fingers from jams or other injuries.
  • [0066]
    Referring now to FIG. 8, there is shown a plan view of the back 110 of a hand 100. The hand 100 includes a pinky finger 120, a ring finger 130 and a middle finger 140. Disposed around the pinky finger 120 from the first digit to the second digit is a first sheath 510. Disposed around the ring finger 130 from the first digit to the second digit is a second sheath 520. Disposed around the middle finger 140 from the first digit to the second digit is a third sheath 530. The first finger sheath 510, the second finger sheath 520 and the third finger sheath 530 respectively prevent bending of the first knuckle of the pinky finger 120, the ring finger 130 and the middle finger 140.
  • [0067]
    The first finger sheath 510, the second finger sheath 520 and the third finger sheath 530 may respectively include axial depressions 515, 525, 535 in the outer surfaces. The first finger sheath 510, the second finger sheath 520 and the third finger sheath 530 may be attached to each other via a strip 600. The strip 600 may include ridges which interlock with the axial depressions 515, 525, 535 in order to prevent the finger sheaths 510, 520, 530 from moving relative to each other. Moreover, the strip 600 may include an adhesive and/or magnetic material to provide additional binding to the finger sheaths 510, 520, 530 such that the strip 600 may be disposed only on the portion of the finger sheaths 510, 520, 530 toward the back 110 of the hand 100. Therefore, the strip 600 need not contact a ball when an athlete handles a ball.
  • [0068]
    Referring now to FIG. 9, there is shown a plan view of the palm 115 of a hand 110. The hand 100 includes an index finger 150 and a middle finger 140. Disposed around the outside of the index finger 150 and the middle finger 140 from the respective second digit to the respective third digit is a sheath 700. The sheath 700 includes an outer surface 710.
  • [0069]
    Because the sheath 700 secures the second knuckle of the index finger 150 and the second knuckle of the middle finger 140 relative one another, injury to second knuckles may be prevented. The outer surface 710 may include small suction cups or sticky dots to aid in the handling of a sports ball such as a football. For example, a wide receiver may be able to catch a pass easier with the sheath 700.
  • [0070]
    Additionally, by securing one or more sheaths to one or more other sheaths in a relatively fixed position, a predetermined angle may be set for optimum performance. For example, if the digits of the fingers are set in a general “C” geometry, an athlete may have an advantage while managing a lacrosse stick (not shown). If the digits of the fingers are set in a general “(” geometry, an athlete may have an advantage while passing a football (not shown).
  • [0071]
    Additionally, by securing one or more sheaths to one or more other sheaths in a generally planar geometry, a martial arts practitioner may have an advantage when striking an opponent or an object due to the rigidity amongst the sheaths (not shown).
  • [0072]
    Detachability and re-attachability may also provide other benefits. This includes replacement of worn sheaths. Also, an athlete can change the appearance of their sheath by replacing one or more sheaths with one appearance (e.g., color) with sheaths of a different appearance. Moreover, the sheath may include an appealing fragrance or deodorant which may increase demand among feminine athletes and/or athletes who are offended by the smell of dried sweat.
  • [0073]
    Another benefit of detachability (and re-attachability) is the ability to conform to varying rules. That is, some rules may allow an open tipped sheath whereas some sports may allow only a closed tipped sheath (not shown). Additionally, some rules may allow for the sheaths to be attached to one another, whereas others may require the sheaths not to attach to one another.
  • [0074]
    Moreover, rules may permit or prohibit friction enhancing features in varying locations.
  • [0075]
    The relative position of various parts of the sheath 200 is described based upon the view of FIG. 4. For example, terms such as top, bottom, inner, outer, side, left and right are disclosed. However, the platform sheath 200 may be used in various positions such as upside down or inside out. Thus, some descriptive terms are used in relative terms and not absolute terms.
  • [0076]
    Although shown implemented with fingers, the apparatus may be implemented with human toes, and/or fingers and toes of warm blooded vertebrate pets.
  • [0077]
    Closing Comments
  • [0078]
    The foregoing is merely illustrative and not limiting, having been presented by way of example only. Although examples have been shown and described, it will be apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art that changes, modifications, and/or alterations may be made.
  • [0079]
    For any means-plus-function limitations recited in the claims, the means are not intended to be limited to the means disclosed herein for performing the recited function, but are intended to cover in scope any means, known now or later developed, for performing the recited function.
  • [0080]
    As used herein, “plurality” means two or more.
  • [0081]
    As used herein, a “set” of items may include one or more of such items.
  • [0082]
    As used herein, whether in the written description or the claims, the terms “comprising”, “including”, “carrying”, “having”, “containing”, “involving”, and the like are to be understood to be open-ended, i.e., to mean including but not limited to. Only the transitional phrases “consisting of”and “consisting essentially of”, respectively, are closed or semi-closed transitional phrases with respect to claims.
  • [0083]
    Use of ordinal terms such as “first”, “second”, “third”, etc., in the claims to modify a claim element does not by itself connote any priority, precedence, or order of one claim element over another or the temporal order in which acts of a method are performed, but are used merely as labels to distinguish one claim element having a certain name from another element having a same name (but for use of the ordinal term) to distinguish the claim elements.
  • [0084]
    As used herein, “and/or” means that the listed items are alternatives, but the alternatives also include any combination of the listed items.
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US7954168 *Apr 13, 2007Jun 7, 2011Gx, Inc.Garment sleeve with knuckle protector and thumb aperture
US8690810May 12, 2011Apr 8, 2014Tendonease, LlcMethod and devices for preventing or minimizing recurrent elbow tendinosis
US8834395 *Dec 3, 2012Sep 16, 2014Jamye Lynn BeckerWound dressing for finger/penis and method/system of delivery
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US9393148Feb 18, 2014Jul 19, 2016Tendonease, LlcMethod and devices for preventing or minimizing recurrent elbow tendinosis
US20080250539 *Apr 13, 2007Oct 16, 2008Cutlip Kevin PGarment sleeve with knuckle protector and thumb aperture
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US20130144201 *Dec 3, 2012Jun 6, 2013Jamye Lynn BeckerWound dressing for finger/penis and method/system of delivery
USD776363 *Jun 27, 2014Jan 10, 2017Victoria YellWearable jewelry cover
WO2011143436A1 *May 12, 2011Nov 17, 2011Greenberg, Burga, Kramer And Wertheimer, LlcMethod and devices for preventing or minimizing recurrent elbow tendinosis
Classifications
U.S. Classification602/22
International ClassificationA61F5/00
Cooperative ClassificationA61F5/0118, A61F5/10
European ClassificationA61F5/10, A61F5/01D1F