US 2558986 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
y 1951 A. SEELERT 2,558,986
LEG BRACE Filed Sept. 20, 1947 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 [VIE/V701? ARTHUR SEE/.527
July 3, 1951 A. SEELERT 2,558,986
LEG BRACE Filed Sept. 20, 1947 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 ///VVENTOE AETHUE JEELEET ATTORNEY;
Patented July 3, 1951 r UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE Claims.
This invention relates to new and useful improvements in leg braces, and more particularly to leg braces of the type extending substantially the full length of the wearers leg.
In certain diseases, such as poliomyelitis cases, the legs of the patient frequently become temporarily weakened or paralyzed, and in the treatment of such cases, the weakened leg must be supported in a suitable brace which may extend from the bottom of the foot to the thigh, or the full length of the leg. Such braces are adapted to support and retain the leg in a stiffened position because of the knee usually being in such a weakened condition that it cannot support the weight of the body.
There are now on the market various types of leg braces designed for such purposes, but to the best of my knowledge, none of these have proven entirely satisfactory, the most common objection thereto residing in their bulkiness, whereby they may be awkward to apply and wear, and also whereby they may be extremely difiicult to conceal when worn under light clothi In devices of this general type, it is of utmost importance that they be so constructed as to provide the necessary support for the leg and, at the same time, it must be so designed as to be capable of being readily applied or removed from the patients leg. It should also fit the patient with maximum comfort, and should be as light in weight as possible in order not to unnecessarily fatigue the patient, when attempting to move about from place to place.
The improved brace herein disclosed is a result of long and tedious experimental .work in an attempt to provide a leg brace in which all of the objectionable features new inherent in present day leg braces, have been substantially entirely eliminated, and an object of the invention therefore is to provide such a device which is in the form of a light, skeleton-like frame, including vertically spaced means for encircling the leg to secure the brace thereto, such brace being capable of adequately supporting the leg in its extended position and without undue discomfort to the patient.
A further object is to provide a leg brace comprising upper and lower sections formed of laterally spaced side bars of small cross section, provided with suitable straps for securing the brace to the upper and lower portions of the wearers leg in such a manner that when the brace is secured in position thereon, it will provide the necessary support for the leg without adding discomfort to the wearer, and because of its compactness and close fitting, it is not likely to be noticeable under clothing worn over the brace by the patient.
A further object is to provide such a device having a novel knee joint locking mechanism embodying an operating member located adjacent to the upper end of the brace and adapted to partially encircle the wearers leg, whereby it may be conveniently operated by the user without attracting the attention of nearby individuals.
A further object is to provide a leg brace'of the character described in which the side bars of the upper and lower sections are longitudinal- 1y adjustable, whereby the brace may be adapted to legs of different individuals with the assurance that the knee joint may always be accuratelypositioned with respect to the wearers knee.
Other objects of the'invention reside in the specific construction of the locking means for the knee joint which includes a pair of forkedlatch elements pivoted to the lower ends of the side bars of the upper section, and each latch member having one end adapted to abuttingly engage abutments provided on the upper ends of the side bars of the lower section, and springactuated operating rods being pivotally connected to said latch members and extending upwardly adjacent to the side bars of the upper section and having their upper end pivoted to an arched shaped operating member having its ends pivotally connected to the side bars of the upper section, whereby said operating member partially encircles the wearers leg and is conveniently located at the front of the wearers leg whereby the wearer may conveniently manipulate the operating member to release the latchelements, when the patient or person wearing the brace desires to bend his knee, as when assuming a sitting position; in the construction of the stirrup provided at the lower end of the brace which is designed to accurately fit the bottom of the wearers foot, and whereby said stirrup may be inserted into a conventional shoe without adding discomfort to the wearer, the pivotal connections between said stirrup and the lower ends of the side bars of the lower section of the brace being accurately located with respect to the ankle joint, whereby the wearers ankle is free to pivot in a normal manner; and in the provision of a'leg brace of the character described which is highly efiicient and practical in operation, and which presents the utmost in comfort to the wearer.
Other objects of the invention will appear from the following description and the accompanying 3 drawings and will be pointed out in the annexed claims.
In the accompanying drawings there has been disclosed a structure designed to carry out the various objects of the invention, but it is to be understood that the invention is not confined to the exact features shown, as various changes may be made within the scope of the claims which follow.
In the drawings:
Figure l is a side view showing the brace in its normal upright position;
Figure 2 is a front view of the brace;
Figure 3 is a view similar to Figure l, but show-- ing the upper portion of the brace disposed at an angle to itslower portion, as when 'the'wearer assumes a sitting position;
Figure 4 is a detail sectionalvie'w on the line 44 of Figure 1, on an enlarged scale;
Figure 5 is a detail sectional view on the line 5-5 of Figurev 1,. on an enlargedr scale, showing, the means for locking theupper and lower brace sections-.in the position shown in Figure. 1,;.
Figure 6 is an enlarged detail view, partially."
insection, showingone ofthe joints. for pivotally connecting together theupper and lower sections ofthe brace;
Figure '7 is a similar-view but showing. the parts. in the position assumed when the wearers leg; maybebent at thekneeg. and
Figure: 8 is a. detail sectional View on. the line. 8.8-.of Figure 6.
Thenovelbrace herein disclosed. is shown-comprising upper and lowersections, generally designatedby the-numeralszzand 3-,.respectivelynwhicn are pivotally connected. togetherby a. knee, jointgenerally designatedmy the numeral 4', which isaccurately located withrelation to the wearersknee joint,; whereby the wearer mayf-reely bend his" knee, when assuming a sitting. position, with.-- outdiscomfor-t fromtherbrace.
The-upper section Erisshown.comprising'spaced sidebars, indicated by the numerals: band: 6, each-, composed of two parts I: and: 8 which are adjustably secured together by suitable screws 9 received inspacedthreadedapertures l I provided. in: the intermediate portions of. the lower parts 8; asindicated inv Figure 3. The upper ends of" the; lower parts- 8-' are shown providedwith in-- tegrally formed: loop Hi adapted to: receive the upper bar. parts I toretain: the upper and: lower parts of each side bar in operative. relation, when thescrews. 9: are releasedfor the purpose ofvary-- ingthe overall-length ofthe upper section. V
The.- upper ends.- of: the upper side. bar parts T of section 2 ar-eshownsecuredtogether by a, semis cylindrical member [2, indicated in. dotted lines. in- Figures 1v and 3. This member partially encircles. the leg. and for practical reasons may be integrally formed with the. depending bar parts 1., as will be understood. Themember I2 is enclosed within a strap-like covering member I33 adaptedto completely encircle the leg. A suit-- able strap and bucklefastening device. 14 1s utilized to secure. theupper end. of the brace to-the wearers leg. The covering member It may be made: ofany. suitable material such as leather, and: a suitable padding, not shown, may be provided around: the'annular member l2: within the member 13, whereby the upper portion of the brace may fitthe-wearers legv without chaffing or otherwise adding to the discomfort of the wearer. The lowermost ends of the parts 8- of the side barsiandfi are preferably formed with enlarged disle-like heads I 5, shown fitted between spaced;
4 I disk elements l5l5, provided at the upper end of the side bars I! and Hi of the lower section 3. In other words, the upper ends of the side bars I! and 18 of the lower section 3 of the brace are forked to receive the disk-like head I5 of the side bars 5 and 6 of the upper section, as clearly illustrated in Figures 6, 7 and 8. Pivot pins or screws l9 pivotally connect the parts together, as shown in the drawings and cooperate with the disk-like elements. l5 and 16 to provide very substantial and rugged knee joints between the side bars of the upper and lower sections of the brace, as will be understood.
To. limit relative pivotal movement between the upper and lower sections 2 and 3, the disk-like element l5 of each side bar 5 and 6 of the upper section are. shown provided with faces 2| and 22, adapted to alternately engage the bottom 23 of the fork or slot provided between the disklike elements It at the upper ends of the side bars of the: lower section. By soconstructing the parts ofeach joint, the upper section will be. limited in its forward swinging movement to the? position shown-in Figure 1,. whereby thewearer's leg will be in its normal straightened. position. The abutment face 22 is so locatedwith respecttothe abutment face 21- that the brace may adapt itself to any normal bending of the wearer's: knee without. discomfort to the wearer.
The lowersecti'on 3is longitudinally adjustable ina, manner similar to the? upper section 2-; whereby the knee joint provided by the pivot pins l9 may be accurately positioned with re=-- spect to the. wearers knee. To thus longitudinally adjust the lower section, the side bars [1+ and it of said section are shown each. comprising upper andlower parts 24and= 25;,respectively, the upper parts 24 being relatively longer than the. lower parts 25'. Guide loops 25' are provided at the lower ends of the bar parts. It throughwhich the lowerv parts 25 are slidable, as shown; The upper parts 24 are provided with spaced apertures 2:1 threaded to receiveclamping screws 28 which secure the parts 24 and 25 in fixed ad justed positions. The screws 28 and apertures 21 thus provide means whereby t-helower section 3 may be longitudinally" adjusted: in similar to theupper section 2.
A connecting member 29' is: shown integrally formed with the parts 24 of' the side' bars: of the lower section 3,. and is adapted to be fitted against the rear portion of the wearers leg, as best. shown in Figures 1' and 3, said-.member'being suitably padded-with amaterial'sucha as leathexg.v or the like, to prevent the: metal from directly contacting the operators leg.
A strap 3| has one end'secured' to one of: the side bars of the lower section, as shown-2.1132; and the opposite end of said strap is adapted to engage a buckle 33 secured to. the other side bar of the lower section. A suitable-pad 34 may .be secured to the strap 3;! to cushion: the engagement of the strap 3| with thewea-rers leg; whenthe brace is strapped onto the leg.
A stirrup, generally designated-.by'the numeral 35, is shown pivoted to the: lower. ends of the side bars I! and I8 of the lower: section 3" of the brace by suitable pivot bolts or screws 36. A suitable leather pad or cushioning element 3''! is preferably secured to the upper faceof the stirrup 35' to prevent direct contact of the-Wear-'-- ers' foot with the metal constituting the stirrup.
Oneof the'outstanding features: of the present inventionresides in the means-provided? for look-- ing the upper andlowerisections. of the brace intheir normal upright positions, as shown in Figures 1 and 2. In a brace such as herein disclosed, it is of utmost importance that the knee joint of the brace be so constructed that there is no play in the parts when the brace is worn, because any play allowed in the knee joint of the brace may result in the development of an unpleasant clicking noise, when the wearer is moving about.
To thus lock the upper and lower sections in their normal positions, as shown in Figure 1, latch members 38 are shown pivoted to the lower portions of the side bars 5 and 6 of the upper section by suitable pivot pins or screws 39. The latch members are preferably forked, as shown in Figure 5, whereby the spaced legs 4| thereof straddle the lower ends of their respective side bars 5 and 6, whereby each latch member 38 is provided with a relatively wide abutting face 42 adapted to abuttingly engage abutments 43 provided on the disk-like members It of the upper ends of the side bars I l and I8 of the lower section 3. The abutments 43 are so related to the terminal faces 42 of the latch members 38 that when the upper brace section 2 is positioned, a's'shown in Figure 1, the latch members 38 will snugly engage the abutment faces 43 to thereby positively prevent any play in the joints when the brace is in its normal extended position.
To release the latch members 38 from the abutments 43 to permit the wearer to bend his knee, a suitable latch-operating member, gen erally designated by the numeral 44, is shown pivotally mounted on the upper parts 1-! of the side bars 5 and 6 of the upper section, as clearly illustrated in Figures 1 to 4, inclusive. The arcuately formed portion 45 of the operating member is shown having one end portion provided with a reduced threaded terminal 46, received in a threaded socket provided in an end piece 41 which is pivoted to the part I of the side bar 6. A similar end piece 41 is similarly pivoted to the upper portion of the side bar 5 of the upper section, and has a terminal socket adapted to receive a reduced terminal 48 provided at the opposite end of the arcuately formed latch-operating member 45.
Suitable connecting rods 49 have their lower ends connected to the latch members 38, and their upper ends are shown connected to the end pieces 4'! of the latch-operating member 44, as clearly illustrated in the drawings, whereby when the latch-operating member 45 is shoved downwardly with respect to the wearers leg, the latch members are moved out of locking engagement with the abutments 43, thereby permitting relative swinging movement of the upper brace section 2, with respect to the lower brace section 3, as shown in Figure 3.
Suitable springs 5! are shown operatively connected to the connecting rods 49 and constantly urge said rods in an upward direction. as shown in Figure l. to thereby cause the latch member to automatically snap into locking engagement with the abutments 43, when the upper section 2 is moved into its normal extended or upright position, shown in Figure 1.
In the operation of fitting the brace onto an individuals leg, the portion 45 of the latchoperating member 44 has its reduced terminal 48 disconnected from the end piece 41 pivoted to the side bar 5 of the upper section, and the operating member may then be outwardly swung to the dotted line position shown in Figure 4, whereby the upper section may readily be fitted onto the wearers thigh. The manipulation of suitable straps and buckles shown at 52 and 53, secured to the upper brace section 2 are arranged to encircle the wearers leg in the usual manner, as will be understood by reference to the drawings.
Another feature of the present invention resides in the novel design and construction of the various parts of the brace. drawings, it will be noted the side bars of the upper and lower sections are extremely small in cross section, and are so resigned and shaped as to fit closely to the sides of the wearers leg, thereby to eliminate bulkiness, as much as possible, whereby the brace may be worn by an individual under conventional garments andwithout discomfort and without being conspicuous, as is frequently the case with well' around the leg in a normal manner and, in ad-. dition, it makes it possible to greatly reduce the weight of the brace, as a Whole.
The stirrup 35 pivotally connected to the lower ends of the side bars of the lower section 3 has been carefully designed to permit it to be worn within a conventional shoe without adding discomfort to the wearer. The stirrup is amply large to adequately support the instep of the wearers foot; and cooperates with the side bars I! and iii of the lower section to adequately support the ankle. unique design of the side bars of the lower section 3, stockings worn by the wearer may completely and thoroughly conceal the brace which is a highly desirable feature in devices of this general character.
The location of the latch-operating member 44 is also important in that it is so located that the wearer may readily manipulate the device to permit bending of the knee at any time without attracting the attention of nearby individuals. By locating the latch-operating member adjacent to the upper end of the brace, and extending it across the front of the wearers leg or thigh, the operating member 44 is within convenient reach at all times, which is not true with many conventional braces now in common use, and some of which require the pulling of cords or other such elements to release the looking means between the upper and lower sections of the brace.
It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that I have accomplished at least the principal objects of my invention, and it will also be apparent to those skilled in the art that the embodiments herein described may be variously changed and modified without departing from the spirit of the invention, and that the invention is capable of uses and has advantages not herein specifically described; hence it will be appreciated that the herein disclosed embodiments are illustrative only, and that my invention is not limted thereto.
I claim as my invention:
1. In a leg supporting brace having a pair of spaced lower brace sections connected by pivotal knee joints to a pair of spaced upper brace sections, an abutment member on each member of one of said pairs of sections and a movable stop on each member of the other of said pairs of sections, said movable stops adapted to en- By referring to the Also because of the.
an arcuate portion and; spaced terminal portions, each of said terminal portions being pivoted at one end' to: one member of said upper brace sections, one terminal having the other end rotatably receiving one end of said arcuate portion, and the other terminal detachably receiving the other end of said arcuate portion and means connecting said terminal sections to said. movable stops for the operation thereof whereby the operation of said handle means will determine the engagement or disengagement of said movable stops with said abutments.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 further characterized in that said other terminal contains a socket and said other end of the arcuate portion consists of a plug for said socket.
31 The apparatus of claim 1 further characterized in that said arcuate portion has one end threadably pivoted on one of said terminal portions, whereby it may be swung from an operative position surrounding a segment of a leg to an inoperative position adjacent thereto which the leg may' be readily removed from said brace.
4. The apparatus of claim 3 further charac terized the other end of said arcuate portion being engageable in a socket in the other of said terminal portionsv whereby said non-threaded end of said arcuate portion may be removed from said socket and said arcuate handle portion pivoted about said threaded engagement with the said other terminal portion whereby a leg may be inserted in the leg brace with substantial ease.
5. In a leg supporting brace having a pair of spaced lower brace sections, connected by pivo-tal knee joints to a pair of spaced upper brace sections, an abutment. member on each member of? one of said pairs: of sections and a movable stopton each member of the other of said pairs of sections, said movable stops adapted. to err gage said abutment members for locking said knee joints against pivotal movement, the provement comprising: handle means comprising an arcuate portion and spaced terminal portions; each of said terminal portions being pivoted at one end thereof to one member of one of said pairsof brace sections, the other ends of said" terminals connected" to the ends of said arcuate portion, at least one of said terminals having said other end thereof frictionally detachably connected to the end of said arcuate portion,
and means connecting said terminal sections to;
said movable stops for the operation thereof whereby the operation of said handle means will determine the engagement or disengagement of said movable stops with said abutments.
REFERENCES CITED Thefollowing references are ofrecordin the file of this: patent:
UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 2,107,095 Wagner Feb. 1, 19.38 2,174,719. Dresser Oct. 3, 1939 2,395,120 Hinkle. Feb... 19, 1946 FOREIGN PATENTS Number Country Date 227,286. Great Britain. Jan. 24, 19241 OTHER REFERENCES Orthopedic Appliances, by H. H.. Jordan, published in 1939,, copy of. page 176 in Division 55.