US 2600239 A
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June 10, 1952 GILBERT 2,600,239
PNEUMATIC INsoLE Filed Nov. 1, 1949 2 SHEETS-SHEET l Inl/*en .TDP n Leal' L. GYM/)wfg f fm 7M M Y June 10, 1952 l.. L. GILBERT v 2,600,239
PNEUMATIC INsoLE Filed Nov. 1, 1949 2 SHEETfs--sHEETA 2 s E95. v
Patented June 10, 1952 UNITED STATES. PATENT OFFICE PNEUMATIC INSOLE Levi L. Gilbert, Portland, lOreg.
Application November 1, 1949, Serial No. 124,809
6 Claims. 1
This invention relates to improvements in a pneumatic cushioning and massaging insole, and more particularly to an inflatable device insertable in an article of footwear beneath the plantar surface of the foot to both cushion and massage the plantar surface of the foot while in use and especially during Walking, although the device may have other uses and purposes as will be apparent to one skilled in the art.
The instant application is a continuation-inpart of and supersedes my copending application entitled Pneumatic Insole, led December 22, 1945, Serial No. 636,785, now abandoned.
It has been determined that many foot afliictions of both a mild and rather severe order can be corrected more effectively and in a shorter time provided corrective support is accompanied by a massaging action on'the foot. The corrective support should preferably be of a yielding and somewhat gentle character, yet suiciently effective to aid in rehabilitating the aiilicted parts.
In the past, many and various devices have been developed for disposition beneath the plantar surface of the foot in an article of footwear, butin all cases of which I am aware these formerly known devices did not provide any effective massaging action against the foot during their use. Where such devices were pneumatic in character, that is permanently inflated or selectively inflatable to a desired extent, there was no way of controlling the time of movement of air from one location of the device to another, especially during Walking, or no Way of locating the pressure application areas consistent with particular and individual aiilictions of the foot, and still permit mass production of the corrective appliance. In addition to such lack of economy, formerly known devices of this character were designed to t either a right or a left foot and so two complete sets of appliances had to be manufactured simultaneously, thereby adding to the cost of production.
With the foregoing in mind, it is an important object of the instant invention to provide a pneumatic or inflatable insole of a character designed both to lend pneumatic support to the foot and massage and exercise the foot while in use.
Also an object of this invention is the provision of a pneumatic or inflatable insole which may readily be manufactured to provide corrective or supporting pressure at desired locations, and at the same time maintain the shifting of air from one location to another in the device in a forward and backward direction so as to continuously massage and exercise the plantar lof the device during use.
Also a feature of the invention is the provision of a pneumatic insole which may be used with either side uppermost, so that the same insole will function for either a right or a left foot.
It is also an object of this invention to provide a pneumatic insole of the character set forth herein embodying valve means to govern the amount of air in the device, the device being inflatable to any desired extent, and the valve means being so located as to be equi-distant from either side ofthe device, to permit either side of the device to be uppermost when in use.
A further object of this invention resides in the provision of a pneumatic or inflatable insole having intermediate spaced non-innatable areas that may be so sized and arranged in ,mass production as to control the movement of air from one portion of the device to another during use, so as to prolong pneumatic support under a particular part of the foot, depending upon the particular nature of aiiliction the device is designed to materially aid.
Another object of the invention resides in the provision of a pneumatic insole, inflatable to a desired extent, and comprising a pair of panels marginally secured together to provide an inatable envelope, said panels Valso being secured together at spaced intermediate locations to provide non-inatable areas, such non-inatable areas having apertures at desired locations therethrough to provide ventilation for the foot of the user during use of the device.
It is also a feature of the invention to provide a pneumatic insole in the form of an iniiatable envelope with the panels of the envelope connected flatly together at intermediate locations to provide elongated non-inflatable areas, certain of which are laterally expanded to lessen the distance between adjacent areas, and thus control the movement of air from one location to another during use of the device.
It is also an object of this invention to provide a new and novel method of making a pneumatic insole of the character set forth herein.
While some of the more salient features, characteristics and advantages of the instant invention have been above pointed out, others will become apparent from the following disclosures, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
Figure 1 is a plan view of a pneumatic or inflatable insole embodying principles of the instant invention;
Figure 2 is a transverse vertical sectional View through the structure of Fig. l taken substantially as indicated by the staggered section line I-i of Fig. l, looking in the direction of the arrows;
Figure 3 is also a transverse vertical sectional view through the device taken substantially as indicated by the line III-HI of Fig. 1;
Figure 4 is a plan view 0f a pneumaticY insole embodying principles of the instant invention,
of the structure of Fig. 4, taken substantially as indicated by the staggered section line V--V of Fig. 4;
Figure 6 is also a transverse vertical sectional View through the structure of Fig. 4, taken substantially as indicated by the line VI-VI of Fig. 4:
Figure 7 is a plan view of a pneumatic insole embodying principles of this invention, showing another arrangement of the non-inatable intermediate areas; and
Figure 8 is also a plan view of a similar insole but showing a still different arrangement of the non-iniiatable areas.
As shown on the drawings:
All of the forms of the invention illustrated herein are made up of a pair of flat panels of air impervious material marginally secured together to provide an iniiatable envelope of the proper contour for insertion in an article of footwear beneath the plantar surface of the foot. The panels may be made of substantially any suitable material that is air impervious, such for eX- ample, rubberized or otherwise waterproofed fabric; rubber or synthetic rubber, and a highly satisfactory material is a thin nexible air-impervious plastic. Where rubber or synthetic rubberY panels are utilized, the non-inatable areas may be provided by the use of a paper pattern disposed between the panels, and provided with apertures, located, sized and shaped in accordance with thev desired non-inflatable areas. Accordingly, the two sheets may be cemented or vulcanized together through the openings in the paper to provide non-inflatable areas of the desired shape, location and size. Where plastic panels are utilized, the panels may be secured together to provide the non-iniatable areas with the aid of a suitable grid or die carrying projections shaped in accordance with the desired non-inflatable areas, and this die may be subjected to high voltage high frequency electrical current to heat-seal or weld the layers flatly together in the desired location. Accordingly, it is a simple proposition to vary the sise, shape and location of the non-inflatable areas by merely making a simple adjustment to the die or mold in the case 'of' the plastic insole, or by utilizing a paper pattern with properly disposed openings therein in the case of rubber or synthetic rubber panels. In either event, a device may be changed in accordance with particular aiilictions of the foot, without adding materially to the cost of production.
In that illustrated embodiment of the instant invention seen in Figs. 1 to 3 inclusive, there are a pair of panels I and 2 marginally secured together as at 3 to provide an inatable envelope. The panels are shaped generally in keeping with the plantar surface of the human foot, to underlie the foot from the rear part of the heel to a point adjacent the metatarsal arch, and in the illustrated instance the first and fifth metatarsal heads will lie just off or approximately o the device itself, while support will be given beneath the second, third and fourth metatarsal heads. It is not essential that the device have the shape shown,A but that is a hingly satisfactory shape for most conditions. kThe device illustrated in Figs. l, 2 and 3 is the form that will most commonly be used since it will be satisfactory for most weak foot or fallen arch conditions.
At one point in the margin thereof, preferably in the region of the inner longitudinal arch of the foot, the device is provided with an arcuate marginal indentation d and in this region a simple air valve which may comprise a tube 5 secured between the panels, and a closure pin 6, is located, so that the valve structure is equidistant from both faces of the insole when the same is inflated. With this valve arrangement, and especially wherein the valve means are located in a thicker portion of the device when inflated, it is not necessary to manufacture devices for both left and right feet, since the same device may be utilized for both feet depending upon which panel, I or 2, is disposed uppermost.
The description so far given herein applies with equal fidelity to all illustrated modifications of the instant invention.
Referring again to Figs. l to 3 inclusive, it will be seen that the anterior portion of the device is provided with three elongated relatively narrow non-inflatable areas 1, il and $3 each of which is provided by securing the panels l and 2 flatly together in the particular area. Certain or all of these non-innatable areas may be laterally expanded at their inner ends as indicated at I, and certain or all of these lateral expanded areas I8 may be provided with an aperture II therethrough to furnish ventilation for the foot of the user. Obviously, the aperture only extends through a non-inflatable area so as to eliminate any chance of leakage at such location.
In the rear portion of the device, similar spaced non-inflatable elongated and relatively narrow areas I2, I3 and I 4 are provided, the inner portions of which may be expanded as indicatedat I5, and again ventilation apertures I6 may be provided. The non-innatable areas I2, I3 and I4 preferably extend longitudinally of the device to insure movement of the air back and forth longitudinally of the device and likewise longitudinally of the plantar surface of the foot.
With the device illustrated in Figs. 1 to 3, it will be noted that the non-inflatable areas 1, 8 and 8 extend inwardly to terminate somewhat in echelon transversely of the device, and the same is true in connection with the non-inflatable areas I2, I3 and Hl, which also Vary in length. This arrangement provides a relatively large inflatable area II beneath the inner longitudinal arch of the foot to effectively support that part of the foot. The non-iniiatable areas 'I and 8, and 9 if desired, preferably converge inwardly so as to provide a properly shaped and relatively large inflatable area I8 to lend support to the metatarsal arch of the foot. On the outer side of the device there is a narrower and elongated inflatable area I9V beneath the outer longitudinal arch of the foot which, as seen clearly in Fig. 2, will be of Ylessdepth than Athe aforesaid area I'I when the device is properly inflated. The fleshy part surroundingthe oscalsis of the foot will be adequately supported' by the inflated portion 28 around and between the non-inflatable areas I2, I3 and I4. v
One of the particular features of the instant invention resides in effecting control of the movement of air from one part of the device to another, especially during walking. This not only insures an adequate support under each part of the foot at all times, but results in a deilnite massaging action against the plantar surfacevof the foot that adequately exercises the foot thereby greatly enhancing the curative powers of the device. This is accomplished by so locating and sizing adjacent portions of the non-inflatable areas to provide relative narrow passages 2| and 22 between adjacent non-inflatable areas to the rear of the metatarsal arch supporting portion I8, and likewise .providing similar narrow passages 23 and 24 adjacent the inner ends of the rearward non-inilatable areas I2, I3 and I4.
During walking, for example, when the heel of the foot strikes rst, air is pressed out of the rearward portion of the device and moved into the forward portion, and as the foot rolls forwardly so that pressure is ultimately on the metatarsal arch, the air is pressed out of the forward portion of the device and moved rearwardly. This effects a positive massaging action of the foot, and with the illustrated invention, that massaging action occurs longitudinally of the foot. The narrow passages 2|, 22, 23 and 24 valve or control-the movement of air from one part of the device to the other and prevent all of the air from immediately exiting from one portion of the device when pressure is applied on that portion. Thus, by sizing these narrow passages the escape of air from one location of the device may be prolonged to a desired extent, so that not all of the air moves from that part of the device prior to the removal of pressure and the application of pressure in a different location. In this manner, the massaging and exercising of the foot is rendered much more effective, and at the same time all parts of the foot are adequately supported.
It is a simple expedient to adapt the pneumatic insole for the treatment of a particular or individual aliction, by the sizing and location of the non-inflatable areas, in an economical manner above described. Assuming, for example, that a particular patient or user has a spur heel, but otherwise the foot is normal or weakened somewhat in either the longitudinal or metatarsal arch. For that circumstance, the device may be made in the form shown in Figs. 4, 5 and 6, wherein the entire forward portion of the device is the same as above described in connection with Figs. 1 to 3 inclusive.
However, the rearward non-inflatable areas I2, I3 and I4 may be altered to provide a lateral expansion 25 directly beneath the heel spur in the area I3, and to provide sidewise extensions 26 and 21 on the non-inflatable areas I3 and I4 which provide very narrow passageways 28 and 29 between adjacent non-inflatable areas. this arrangement, complete longitudinal massaging of the foot along with adequate support is acquired, but in addition the spur of the heel is lodged in a recess so that no pressure comes upon it, and the fleshy parts of the heel around With 6. the spur are adequately supported by inflated areas. The inflation beneath the fleshy parts of the heel is maintained for a prolonged period of time, especially in walking, by virtue of the narrow passages 28 and 29 preventing a rapid exit of air from the heel portion of the device when Weight is applied. Thus, air is maintained beneath the fleshy parts of the heel for a longer period of time than in the case of the structure seen in Fig. 1, so that this air will not be removed from beneath the ileshy parts of the heel during normal walking before pressure is applied to the forward part of the device to again tend to move the air rearwardly beneath the heel.
That embodiment of the invention illustrated in Fig. 7 is more particularly designed for a foot otherwise normal but having a weakened metatarsal arch. In this instance the non-inflatable areas I2 and I3 are provided with extensions 30 and l3|, respectively, extending forwardly from the enlargement I5 which causes a considerable ilattening of the above discussed inflated area II beneath the inner longitudinal arch. Likewise, the non-inflatable area 9 is provided with a rearward extension 32 which further attens the junction between the parts supporting the inner and outer longitudinal arches. -At the same time. the non-inflatable areas 'I and 8 converge at a sharper angle so that very narrow spaces are provided between adjacent portions of the non-inflatable areas "I, 8 and 9, and especially at 33 and 34 between the extensions and the area 1 and the extensions 3I and the area 8, respectively. Thus, air is maintained for a considerable length of time beneath the metatarsal arch in the inflated region I8, and yet'the longitudinal massaging action against the plantar surface of the foot is by no means sacrificed.
The showing in Fig. 8 indicates a structure highly suitable for supporting a weakene'dlongitudinal arch in an otherwise normal foot. This structure is the same as above described in vconnection with Fig. 1, with the exception'that additional non-inflatable areas and 3B are added between the areas I and 8, because in this instance it is not necessary to provide support for the metatarsal arch. With such construction, an adequate amount of air is always insured beneath the inner longitudinal arch and the longitudinal massaging action is effective over the plantar surface of the foot and especially adjacent the weakened longitudinal arch.
From the foregoing, it is apparent that I have provided a simple form of pneumatic insole, usable for either foot, economically manufactured, highly durable, and which may be inated to a desired extent. The device not only may be economically adjusted to better support a particular ailliction, but under any and all circumstances adequately supports all parts of the foot, and provides a distinct massaging and exercising action longitudinally of the plantar surface of the foot. The method of making the instant invention is believed sufciently apparent from the foregoing to warrant no further description herein.
It will be understood that modifications and variations may be effected without departing from the scope 0f the novel concepts of the present invention.
I claim as my invention:
1. In a foot cushioning and massaging device, an air impervious inflatable envelope comprising a pair of flat panels secured together adjacent the margins thereof, said panels being secured together at spaced intervals to provide elongated relatively narrow non-inilatable areas, certain of said areas being expanded in part to lessen the distance between adjacent areas and thus control the movement of air from and into theinflatable portion adjacent said areas during use of the device.
2. In a foot cushioning and massaging device, a vpair of air impervious panels marginally secured together to form an inatable envelope for disposition beneath the plantar surface of a foot,V and said panels being secured together at spaced intervals to provide elongated at noninfiatable areas extending generally lengthwise of the device rearwardly of the longitudinal arch of the foot, certain of said areas being laterally expanded to lessen the spacing between adjacent areasand control the movement of air to and from the rear part of the device during use.
3. In a foot cushioning and massaging device, a pair of air impervious panels marginally secured together to form an inflatable envelope for disposition beneath the plantar` surface of a foot, said panels being secured together to provide flat non-innatable areas, said areas being elongated and relatively narrow and disposed to cause a back and forth travel of air longitudinally of the device and foot thereon during use to massage the foot, certain parts of said areas being laterally expanded to lessen the space between adjacent areas to retain some of theV air in one location until pressure on that location is relieved during walking.
4. In a foot cushioning and massaging device, a. pair of air impervious panels marginally secured together to form an inflatable envelope forV disposition beneath the plantar surface of a foot, said panels being secured ilatly together at spaced intermediate locations to provide noninlatable areas, such non-innatable areas at the rear of the device extending longitudinally of the device, and those non-inflatable areas at the forward part of the device converging in a rearward direction to denne an inne-table metatarsal lift.
5. In a foot cushioning and massaging device, a pair of air impervious panels marginally secured together to form an inflatable envelope for disposition beneath the plantar surface of a foot, said `panels being secured atly together at spaced intermediate locations to provide noninflatable areas, such non-inflatable areas at the rear of the device extending longitudinally of the device, and those non-inatable areas at the forward part of the device converging in a rearward direction to denne an inflatable metatarsal lift, said non-inflatable areas terminating with the inner ends in echelon transversely of the device to provide an inatable area of rela#- tively large size beneath the longitudinal arch of the foot.
6. In a foot cushioning and massaging device, a pair of air impervious panels marginally secured together to form an inflatable envelope for disposition beneath the plantar surface of a foot, said panels being secured flatly together at spaced intermediate locations to provide non-inflatable areas, such non-inflatable areas at the rear of the device extending longitudinally of the device. and those non-inatable areas at the forward part of the device converging in a rearward direction to denne an inilatable metatarsal lift, the inner portions of said non-innatable areas being laterally expanded to lessen the space between adjacent areas and control the movement of air from one location to another during use.
LEVI L. GILBERT.
REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the file of this patent:
UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 1,241,832 Druckenmiller Oct. 2, 1917 2,080,469 Gilbert May 18, 1937 2,080,499 Nathansohn May 18, 1937