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Publication numberUS2883982 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 28, 1959
Filing dateSep 6, 1956
Priority dateSep 6, 1956
Publication numberUS 2883982 A, US 2883982A, US-A-2883982, US2883982 A, US2883982A
InventorsRainey Fred E
Original AssigneeRainey Fred E
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Leg brace
US 2883982 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent LEG BRACE Fred E. Rainey, Anderson, S.C.

Application September 6, 1956, Serial No. 608,247

11 Claims. (Cl. 128-80) This invention relates in general to new and useful improvements in orthopedic devices, and more specifically to an improved leg brace.

In certain diseases, such as polio meningitis cases, the legs of a 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. Such braces are adapted to support and retain the leg in a stiffened position because the knee joint usually is in such a weak condition that it cannot support the weight of the body. Also, in certain types of injuries the knee joint becomes so weakened whereby it cannot properly support the weight of a persons body.

Heretofore there have been devised numerous types of leg braces for the purpose of reinforcing the knee joint. However, such leg braces are both awkward and unsatisfactory inasmuch as they are difficult to position, difficult to adjust and do not simulate the knee action.

It is therefore the primary object of this invention to provide a simple, lightweight leg brace which has a joint between upper and lower sections thereof which simulates the action of ones knee whereby a leg brace that does not hinder the normal bending of the leg at the knee and at the same time serves to support and reinforce the knee joint.

Another object of this invention is to provide an improved leg brace which includes an upper section and lower section, the upper and lower section being connected together by a pivot means which permits a free swinging action between the upper and lower sections with the point of pivot changing in the pivoting operation so that the joint between the sections of the leg brace simulate the actual pivoting of the knee joint.

Another object of this invention is to provide an improved leg brace, the leg brace including an upper section having means for attachment to the thigh and a lower section having means for attachment to the calf of the leg, the upper and lower sections being connected together by a pivotal connection which includes a gear means on the sections meshed together so that the sections may swing relative to each other by relative movement of the gear means, there also being provided suitable guides between the sections to increase the lateral stability of the leg brace.

A further object of this invention is to provide an improved leg brace for reinforcing the knee joint, the leg brace being formed in sections pivotally connected together, the sections being provided with suitable locking means whereby the sections of the leg brace may be retained in an extended position so that the leg brace forms a rigid reinforcing for the leg, particularly the knee joint, so that the wearer of the leg brace may stand inupright position without the knee joint and other parts of the leg taking the full weight of the body.

A still further object of this invention is to provide an improved leg brace which includes upper and lower sections pivotally connected together, there being provided 2,883,982 Patented Apr. 28, 1959 a suitable lock between the upper and lower sections to retain them in extended positions, there being connected to the lock means attachable to the heel of a shoe whereby the lock is automatically released upon the pivoting of a shoe at ones ankle in a normal walking operation.

These together with other objects and advantages which will become subsequently apparent reside in the details of construction and operation as more fully hereinafter described and and claimed, reference being had to the accompanying drawings forming a part hereof, wherein like numerals refer to like parts throughout, and in which:

Figure 1 is a side elevational view of the leg brace which is the subject of this invention and shows the leg brace in an extended upstanding position for supporting ones leg while standing still, an upper portion of the leg brace being omitted;

Figure 2 is a side elevational view similar to Figure l and shows the leg brace as it appears with the leg being in a sitting position;

Figure 3 is a rear elevational View of the leg brace of Figure 1 and shows further the details thereof;

Figure 4 is a transverse sectional view taken substantially upon the plane indicated by the section line 44 of Figure 1 and shows the specific details of construction of the leg brace; and

Figure 5 is a fragmentary perspective view of the upper end of one portion of the lower section of the leg brace and shows the specific details thereof.

Referring now to the drawings, in detail, it will be seen that there is illustrated a leg brace which is the subject of this invention, the leg brace being referred to in general by the reference numeral 10. The leg brace 10 including an upper section 12 and a lower section 14.

The lower section 14 includes a suitable strap 16 which may be adjustably secured about the calf of ones leg. The strap 16 may be formed of any heavy material including leather or the like. Secured to the strap 16 and extending about the rear portion thereof are upper and lower connectors 18 and 20, respectively. The con nectors 18 and 20 are preferably formed metal though other relative strong material, including plastics, may be utilized.

The lower section 14 includes two side portions 22 which are disposed on opposite sides of the strap 16 and which are secured to the strap 16 by means of the connectors 18 and 20. Each side portion 22 includes an elongated vertical strap 24 to which the connectors 18 and 20 are secured. The lower end of the, strap 24 has pivotally connected thereto by means of a pivot pin 26 a connector 28. The lower end of the connector 28 is provided with means for securement to a heel 30 of a shoe 32. It is noted that the pivot pin 26 is disposed generally in alignment with the ankle joint 34 of a wearers leg 36.

The upper end of each of the portions 22 is in the form of a relatively large head 36. The extreme upper end of the head 36 is provided with a gear 38 which is of the concave or internal type.

The upper section 12 will include a suitable strap 40, only a portion of which is illustrated. The strap 40 will be adjustably secured to the thigh of the leg 36 and will have suitable connectors (not shown) supporting portions 42 of the upper section 12. The portions 42, like the portions 22 will be disposed on opposite sides of the leg 36 and will be identical. clude an elongated strap 44 which terminates at its lower end in an enlarged head 46. The head 46 is provided at its extreme lower end with a segmental gear 48. The gear 48 is machined to mesh with the gear 38 although it is of a different degree of curvature, as is best illustrated in Figures 1 and 2.

Rigidly secured to the forward part of the head 46 on Each portion 42 will inopposite sides thereof by means of rivets 50 are guides 52. The guides 52 are arcuate and include elongated arcuate slots 54. The guides 52 are disposed on opposite sides of the forward part of the head 36 and have received in the grooves 54 thereof a pin 56 carried by the head 36. The relationship between the guides 52 and the pin 56 is such that the ears 38 and 48 remain in meshed relation at all times with the guides 52 serving to both laterally stabilize the sections 12 and 14 and to function as a control for the pivoting of the sections 12 and 14 relative to each other through the gears 38 and 48.

It is to be noted that the pin 56 is disposed in the upper end of the groove 54 when the sections 12 and 14- are in extended positions, as is best illustrated in Figure 1. When the leg 36 is bent at the knee, the gears 38 and 48 will move relative to each other with the gear 43 riding on the gear 38. The section 12 will then swing to the position of Figure 2 relative to the section 14 when the leg 36 is bent. When the leg 36 is in a sitting position, the pin 56 will be disposed in the lower end of the groove 54, as is best illustrated in Figure 2. Thus, the pin 56 and the guides 52 also serve to prevent the gears 38 and 48 from moving beyond their point of contact.

The sections 12 and 14 are also laterally stabilized by pairs of links disposed on opposite sides thereof, the links being referred to by the reference numeral 58 and there being disposed on opposite sides of each of the heads 36 and 46 a pair of such links 48. The lower ends of the links 58 are pivotally connected to the rear portion of the head 36 by means of a pivot pin 60 which passes through a bore 62 in the head 36.

The upper ends of the links 58 are connected together by a pin 64. The pin 64- is disposed in an inverted generally V-shaped cam track 66 which has an offset rear portion 68. During the normal operation of the leg brace 19, the pin 64 will move back and forth in the cam track 66. However, when it is desired to lock the brace sections 12 and 14 in their extended position of Figure 1 so that the leg 36 need take only a minor portion of the weight of the body during a standing position, the pin 64 may be swung into the offset portion 68 of the cam track 66. The links 58 will then prevent pivoting of the sections 12 and 14. When it is desired to again bend the leg 36, it is merely necessary to swing the links 53 downwardly to move the pin 64 out of the offset portion 68 of the cam track 66.

In order to control and limit swinging movement of the links 58, there is provided a third pin 70 which extends between the lower portions of the links 58 below the pivot pin 60. The pin '70 is disposed in an arcuate slot 72 in the head and greatly limits the pivoting of the links 58.

If it is desired that the links 53 be automatically moved to a locking position during a walking operation when the sections 12 and 14 reach their extended positions of Figure 1, there may be secured to the links 58 a control member 74 which is in the form of a generally U-shaped spring member. The control member 74 is so positioned whereby it is engaged by the lower end of its respective guide 52 and when so engaged by the guide 52 as the sections 12 and 14 swing to their extended positions of Figure 1, the upper ends of the links 58 will be pivoted in a clockwise direction, as viewed in Figure 1, so that the pin 64 will move into a locked position in the offset portion 68 of the cam track 66.

In order that the links 58 may automatically move to 21 released position during the walking operation, there is provided a trip cable 76. The trip cable 76 passes 'through a guide 78 at the rear of the head 36 and is secured to the lower part of one of the links 58 of each pair of links 58 and being passed through an eye 80. The trip cables 76 are two in number and have their lower ends connected to a single connector 82 which is secured to the rear of the heel 30, as is best illustrated in Figure 3.

Carried by each strap 24 intermediate the connectors 18 and 20 is a vertical guide sleeve 84 through which the trip cables 76 pass. Disposed in each guide sleeve 84 is a tension connector 86 which has connected to opposite ends thereof sections of the trip cable 76, the tension member 86 being actually a portion of the trip cable 76. The tension member 86 is preferably in the form of an elongated coil spring which acts primarily as a shock absorbing device so that the trip cables 76 may be elongated after the links 58 have been moved to released positions. This also permits the pivoting of the links 58 in the normal walking operation of the leg brace 10 although the shoe 32 is not being pivoted by pivoting action of the ankle 34.

From the foregoing description of the present invention, it will be readily apparent that there has been devised a lightweight, simple leg brace which will afford the desired degree of reinforcement for the joint. The leg brace is so constructed whereby initially the marking operation between the sections thereof is automatic. Thus while the walking operation is slightly awkward at this stage, the knee joint is automatically supported as the leg reaches an extended position for the sections of the leg brace and the weight of the body is shifted to the leg during the walking operation. After the knee joint has gained sufiicient strength, the automatic mechanism of the leg brace may be dispensed with and the locking mechanism used only for reinforcing the leg when standing for periods of time.

The leg brace may also be used as a support for an artificial limb in the case where the leg has been amputated below the knee. When the leg brace is so used, it will not only brace the knee, but will form a load bearing extension of the artificial limb.

The foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention as claimed.

What is claimed as new is as follows:

1. A leg brace comprising upper and lower brace sections, pivot means pivotally connecting together said upper and lower brace sections, means on said upper and lower brace sections for connection to a leg above and below a knee thereof, respectively, lock means for locking said upper and lower brace sections in extended positions, and release means for releasing said lock means, said lock means including a link extending between said upper and lower brace sections, means pivotally connecting said link to one of said brace sections and cam means normally guidedly connecting said link to the other of said brace sections.

2. A leg brace comprising upper and lower brace sections, pivot means pivotally connecting together said upper and lower brace sections, means on said upper and lower brace sections for connection to a leg above and below a knee thereof, respectively, lock means for locking said upper and lower brace sections in extending positions, and release means for releasing said lock means, said lock means including a link extending between said upper and lower brace sections, means pivotally connecting said link to one of said brace sections and cam means normally guidedly connecting said link to the other of said brace sections, said pivot means including a guide means on said link engageable by said guide to pivot said link to a lock position upon extension of said brace section.

3. A leg brace comprising upper and lower brace sections, pivot means pivotally connecting together said upper and lower brace sections, means on said upper and lower brace sections for connection to a leg above and below a knee thereof, respectively, lock means for locking said upper and lower brace sections in extended positions, and release means for releasing said lock means, said lock means including a link extending between said upper and lower brace sections, means pivotally connecting said link to one of said brace sections and cam means normally guidedly connecting said link to the other of said brace sections, said release means including a pull cable connected to said link, means on said pull cable remote from said link for connection to a shoe heel.

4. A leg brace comprising upper and lower brace sections, pivot means pivotally connecting together said upper and lower brace sections, means on said upper and lower brace sections for connection to a leg above and below a knee thereof, respectively, lock means for locking said upper and lower brace sections in extended positions, and release means for releasing said lock means, said lock means including a link extending between said upper and lower brace sections, means pivotally connecting said link to one of said brace sections and cam means normally guidedly connecting said link to the other of said brace sections, said pivot means including a guide means on said link engageable by said guide to pivot said link to a lock position upon extension of said brace section, said release means including a pull cable connected to said link, means on said pull cable remote from said link for connection to a shoe heel.

5. A leg brace comprising upper and lower brace sections, pivot means pivotally connecting together said upper and lower brace sections, means on said upper and lower brace sections for connection to a leg above and below a knee thereof, respectively each of said brace sections including a pair of portions, said pivot means including meshed gear means on opposed ends of portions of said upper and lower brace sections, said gear means including an external gear section and an internal gear section, guides extending between said portions retaining said gear means in meshed engagement.

6. A leg brace comprising upper and lower brace sections, pivot means pivotally connecting together said upper and lower brace sections, means on said upper and lower brace sections for connection to a leg above and below a knee thereof, respectively each of said brace sections including a pair of portions, said pivot means including meshed gear means on opposed ends of portions of said upper and lower brace sections, said gear means including an external gear section and an internal gear section, guides extending between said portions retaining said gearv means in meshed engagement, lock means for locking said upper and lower brace sections in extended positions, and release means for releasing said lock means.

7. A leg brace comprising upper and lower brace sections, pivot means pivotally connecting together said upper and lower brace sections, means on said upper and lower brace sections for connection to a leg above and below a knee thereof, respectively each of said brace sections including a pair of portions, said pivot means including meshed gear means on opposed ends of portions of said upper and lower brace sections, said gear means including an external gear section and an internal gear section, guides extending between said portions retaining said gear means in meshed engagement, lock means for locking said upper and lower brace sections in extended positions, and release means for releasing said lock means, said lock means including a link extending between said upper and lower brace sections, means pivotally connecting said link to one of said brace sections and cam means normally guidedly connecting said link to the other of said brace sections.

8. A leg brace comprising upper and lower brace sections, pivot means pivotally connecting together said upper and lower brace sections, means on said upper and lower brace sections for connection to a leg above and below a knee thereof, respectively, each of said brace sections including a pair of portions, said pivot means including meshed gear means on opposed ends of portions of said upper and lower brace sections, said gear means including an external gear section and an internal gear section, guides extending between said portions retaining said gear means in meshed engagement, said guides including a guide member disposed on each side of one of the brace sections and overlapping the other of the brace sections, said guide member having an arcuate slot therein, a pin carried by the other of said brace sections disposed in said arcuate slot.

9. A leg brace comprising upper and lower brace sections, pivot means pivotally connecting together said upper and lower brace sections, means on said upper and lower brace sections for connection to a leg above and below a knee thereof, respectively, each of said brace sections including a pair of portions, said pivot means including meshed gear means on opposed ends of portions of said upper and lower brace sections, said gear means including an external gear section and an internal gear section, guides extending between said portions retaining said gear means in meshed engagement, said guides including a guide member disposed on each side of one of the brace sections and overlapping the other of the brace sections, said guide member having an arcuate slot therein, a pin carried by the other of said brace sections disposed in said arcuate slot, a rigidifying link pivotally connected to the upper part of said lower brace section on each side thereof, a cam guide slot in the lower part of said upper brace section on each side thereof, each of said rigidifying links having an upper portion with a pin disposed in said cam guide slot.

10. A leg brace comprising upper and lower brace sections, pivot means pivotally connecting together said upper and lower brace sections, means on said upper and lower brace sections for connection to a leg above and below a knee thereof, respectively, each of said brace sections including a pair of portions, said pivot means including meshed gear means on opposed ends of portions of said upper and lower brace sections, said gear means including an external gear section and an internal gear section, guides extending between said portions retaining said gear means in meshed engagement, said guides including a guide member disposed on each side of one of the brace sections and overlapping the other of the brace sections, said guide member having an arcuate slot therein, a pin carried by the other of said brace sections disposed in said arcuate slot, a rigidifying link pivotally connected to the upper part of said lower brace section on each side thereof, a cam guide slot in the lower part of said upper brace section on each side thereof, each of said rigidifying links having an upper portion with a pin disposed in said cam guide slot, said cam guide slot terminating in an offset end portion whereby said pin of its respective stabilizing link locks said upper and lower brace sections in aligned extended positions.

11. A leg brace comprising upper and lower brace sections, pivot means pivotally connecting together said upper and lower brace sections, means on said upper and lower brace sections for connection to a leg above and below a knee thereof, respectively, each of said brace sections including a pair of portions, said pivot means including meshed gear means on opposed ends of portions of said upper and lower brace sections, said gear means including an external gear section and an internal gear section, guides extending between said portions retaining said gear means in meshed engagement, said guides including a guide member disposed on each side of one of the brace sections and overlapping the other of the brace sections, said guide member having an arcuate slot therein, a pin carried by the other of said brace sections disposed in said arcuate slot, a rigidifying link pivotally connected to the upper part of said lower brace section on each side thereof, a cam guide slot in the lower part of said upper brace section on each side thereof, each of said rigidifying links having an upper portion with a pin disposed in said cam guide slot, said cam guide slot terminating in an offset end portion whereby said pin of its respective stabilizing link locks said upper and lower brace sections in aligned extended positions, and a. pull cable connected to the lower end of each of said rigidifying links and to the heel of a shoe of a wearer for pivoting said rigidifying links to move said pins out of said offset end portions to release said upper and lower brace sections,

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Lockwood Oct. 31, Rankin Dec. 31, Taylor Dec. 30, Clark June 27, Black Sept. 19, Thornton Dec. 11, Hauser et al Mar. 24,

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Classifications
U.S. Classification602/16
International ClassificationA61F5/01
Cooperative ClassificationA61F2005/0165, A61F2005/0139, A61F5/0123
European ClassificationA61F5/01D3