|Publication number||US2949111 A|
|Publication date||Aug 16, 1960|
|Filing date||Sep 23, 1958|
|Priority date||Sep 23, 1958|
|Publication number||US 2949111 A, US 2949111A, US-A-2949111, US2949111 A, US2949111A|
|Inventors||Samuli Ruotoistenmaki Veikko|
|Original Assignee||Samuli Ruotoistenmaki Veikko|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (2), Referenced by (28), Classifications (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
Aug. 16, 1960 V v. s. RUOTOISTENMAKI DROP-FOOT BRACE Filed Sept. 25, 1958 INVENTOR. l/ameo Jinn/u fuora/srin/mwe/ H1: MEI/T spring bundle.
United States Patent DROP-FOOT BRA'CE Veikko Samuli Ruotoistenmaki, Vaasankatu 21 C 50, Helsinki, Finland Filed Sept. 23, 1958, Ser. No. 762,823
11 Claims. (Cl. 128-80) The present invention relates to braces for use by persons afilicted with drop-foot or a similar disability.
The walk of a person afflicted with drop-foot is halting and awkward because his feet hang, cannot move sideways, and are likely to become dislocated at the ankles. All presently utilized drop-foot braces comprising various spring arrangements combined with supporting arms or the like fail fully to meet the requirements of a so-affiicted person. Conventional drop-foot braces are either altogether unable to, or cannot satisfactorily, move a foot sideways and also cannot prevent a dislocation of the ankle joint. In addition, all such prior braces impair the appearance of the foot, are often heavy, frequently require considerable time for application to or separation from the foot, and can be worn only in an oversized shoe or in a specially prepared article of footwear. A majority of presently known drop-foot braces utilizes sound producing and rapidly wearing bearings, helical springs and like parts which require frequent replacement.
An object of the present invention is to provide an improved supporting device which fully overcomes the drawbacks of presently utilized drop-foot braces by being adapted to withstand extensive wear and tear, by being capable of fully supporting the foot, by fully preventing lateral twisting movements of the foot, by being applicable to and separable from the foot within very short periods of time, and by being completely hidden from view when in actual use. 7
Another object of the invention is to provide such a drop-foot brace a substantial portion of which may be completely hidden under the hose and which may be readily taken apart or reassembled for more convenient application to or separation from the foot.
With the above objects in view, the invention resides essentially in the provision of a supporting brace comprising at least one bundle of flat parallel springs, a supporting sole member permanently or detachably connected with the lower end of each spring bundle and insertable into the users shoe beneath the foot, and a leg embracing member which is connectable with the upper end of each When the leg embracing member and the supporting sole are applied respectively to the 'legand the foot of a handicapped person, the springs extend along the one or both sides of the leg and maintain the forward part of the foot in required position while at the same time preventing sidewise movements of the foot.
The invention will be described in greater detail with reference to the accompanying drawing, in which:
Fig. l is perspective view of a drop-foot brace embodying my invention;
Fig. 2 is similar perspective view of a modified brace; and
Fig. 3 is an enlarged detail sectional view of a sleevelike member which receives the upper end of the spring bundle shown in Fig. 2..
Referring now in greater detail to the drawing, and first to Fig. 1, there is shown a drop-foot brace comprising a supporting sole member 1 which is placed into the shoe 2,949,111 Patented Aug. 16, 1960 and beneath the foot of a handicapped person when the brace is in actual use. The sole member 1 may be made of stainless steel or of a suitable plastic material. The brace further comprises a supporting arm 2. whose inwardly bent lower end portion 3 is connected to the undersideof the sole member -1 by a number of rivets, by spot welding, or in any other'suitable way. The supporting arm 2 is bent in a way'to conform to the curvature of the wearers leg and extends upwardly adjacent the inner side ofthe sole member 1. i
A spring bundle 4 is releasably connected to and extends upwardly from the supporting arm 2'. This bundle consists of 'a'series of flat or leaf springs 5 which are pressed together and maintained in such position by one or more tubular collars 6 or the like. The springs 5 may be of different thicknesses, e.g. the outermost spring 7 may be thicker than the others. The lower end of the spring bundle 4 is inserted into a sleeve 8 and is releasably retained in the position of Fig. 1 by a wedge 9. The sleeve 8 is permanently connected to the upper end of the supporting arm 2 by a series .of rivets or by spot welding. The upper part of the spring bundle 4 is received in a tubular member or sheath 6a which may be made of a suitable plastic material and extends upwardly toward an arcuate leg embracing member 10. The member 10 carries a cup-shaped receptacle 11 whose lower end is open to releasably receive the upper end 12. of the spring bundle 4. The cup-shaped member 11 preferably tapers outwardly in upward direction so that the leg embracing member 15) may be pivoted withrespect to the spring bundle t and to the tubular sheath 60.
if the ankle bone of a user is disproportionately high, a bend 13 may be formed in the supporting arm 2. between the sleeve 8 and the supporting sole member 1.
If the user desires to wear socks, a hole must be made therein for the passage of the supporting arm 2. The hole should preferably be made in the heel portion close to the ankle.
The improved drop-foot brace may be applied as follows:
In the first step, the leg embracing member 10 and its cup 11 are detached from thespring bundle 4 and the latters upper end 12 is passed through the hole made in the sock which is not shown in the drawing. The supporting sole member 1 is then placed into the shoe followed by the users foot. The upper end 12 of the spring bundle 4 is nowreinseited into the cup 11 of the leg embracing member 10, and thelatter is placed into the spring-tensioning position, i.e. into a position in which it embraces the leg at a level whose height depends upon the combined length of the supporting arm 2 and of the spring bundle 4-. The shoe is then ready to be tied to hold the supporting sole member 1 tightly between the foot and the sole of the shoe. Because the spring bundle 4- is bent in forward direction, and because its upper end isattached to the leg embracing member 10, the supporting sole member I constantly tends to maintain the foot in normal position.
At the same time, and sincejthe spring bundle 4 consists of a series'of fiat springswhich cannot be bent sidewise, the sole member 1 prevents any lateral movements of the foot. The separation of the brace from a users foot occurs by reversing the above described sequence of steps.
The modified brace of Fig. 2 differs from the one shown in Fig. 1 in that the supporting arm 2 is very short, i.e. the sleeve 8 is closely adjacent the inner side of the supporting sole member 1. In addition, the upper end 12 of the spring bundle 4' is not attached to a cup, such as the member 11 of Fig. l, but to an intermediate sleeve 14 which latter, in turn, is attached to an extension arm 15 whose upper end is insertable into a U-shaped bracket 11a fixed to the outer side of the arcuate leg embracing member 10. It will be noted that the upper end of the bracket 11a is open so that the upper end portion of the 'arm 15 may extend therethrough. The spring bundle 4 has an outwardly bent portion 13 to accommodate the ankle bone.
Fig. 3 shows the manner in which the springs may be retained in the intermediate sleeve 14. A hole 16 is formed in the forward side of the member 14 to receive the forwardly bent upper end 17 of the spring 7. The upper ends of springs 5 are merely inserted into the sleeve 14 and nearly completely fill the same. The lower ends of all springs are aligned with each other and the so formed spring bundle 4 is retained in such position by the collar 6. The lower end of the bundle 4 is then inserted into the sleeve 8 and is retained therein with the help of the wedge 9 or any equivalent readily removable retaining means. The contacting surfaces of all springs in the bundle 4 are preferably coated with 'a layer of lubricant to reduce their wear when the brace is in actual use. Because the upper ends of the springs 5 are loosely inserted into the sleeve 14, they may move with respect to each other when the spring bundle 4 is bent in the forward or rearward direction. In order to prevent the lubricant from coming into contact with the leg or with the socks of a user, the spring bundle 4 may be inserted into a plastic protecting tube or sheath.
If a handicapped persons foot hangs in forward direction, the spring bundle 4 must also be bent in the same direction so that the leg, upon application of the arcuate member 10 thereto, will tend to lift the foot into proper position. However, if the forward part of the foot has the tendency to rise, the spring bundle 4 will be bent rearwardly which will enable the supporting sole member to pivot the foot into desired position, i.e. the springs and the sole member 1 then tend to push the forward part of the foot in downward direction.
It will be readily understood that, though the drawing shows braces whose spring bundles 4 extend along the inner side of a drop-foot, such bundles may be applied to the other side of the supporting sole member 1 so as to extend along the outer side of the foot or, alternately, each supporting sole member 1 may be provided with an inner and an outer spring bundle, if desired.
The free ends 18, 19 of the leg embracing member 10 should be spaced in such a way that a leg may readily pass therebetween, i.e. the leg will rest against the rear portion of the member 10. If desired, straps or laces may be fixed to the end portions 18, 19 and connected with each other by means of clasps, by tying them into a knot, or in any other suitable way.
The brace may be provided with additional leg embracing members, such as the annular belt-like member or sleeve 20 shown in Fig. 2. This member 20 comprises a buckle so as to be readily applicable to and separable from the leg at a point below the arcuate member 10. If desired, the member 20 may be made of metal and shaped in a way to conform to the contours of the users leg. If made of metal, it is advisable to cover the interior of members 10 and 20 with a layer of leather or the like.
Instead of connecting it with a detachable supporting sole member 1, the supporting arm 2 may be attached to the intermediate sole of a shoe, particularly if the latter comprises a fairly thick intermediate sole.
The invention is susceptible of many additional modifications and I, therefore, do not desire to be limited to the exact details of construction as shown and described but only by the scope of the appended claims.
1. A drop-foot brace comprising, in combination: a supporting sole member adapted to be placed into a shoe and beneath the foot of a handicapped person; a leg embracing member releasably applicable to the leg of said person; at least one bundle of closely adjacent flat springs having an upper end, a lower end, and extending along one side of the leg of said person when the brace is put to use; means for connecting the lower end of the bundle with said sole member; and means for connecting the upper end of the bundle with said leg embracing member, the springs of the bundle being bendable in forward and rearward directions when the brace is applied to the leg but preventing sidewise movements of the foot.
2. The brace as set forth in claim 1, wherein the bundle has an outwardly bent portion to accommodate the ankle bone of the leg.
3. The brace as set forth in claim 1, further comprising a protecting tube of plastic material for the bundle.
4. The brace as set forth in claim 1, wherein said first connecting means comprises a supporting arm having a lower end connected to said sole member and an upper end, a sleeve connected to the upper end of said arm and removably receiving the lower end of the bundle, and means for removably retaining the lower end of the bundle in said sleeve.
5. The brace as set forth in claim 1, wherein said last mentioned connecting means comprises a cup-shaped member fixed to the leg embracing member and receiving the upper end of the spring bundle.
6. The brace as set forth in claim 1, wherein said last mentioned connecting means comprises an extension arm having an upper end connected with said leg embracing member and a lower end, and a sleeve fixed to the lower end of said arm for receiving the upper end of the spring bundle.
7. The brace as set forth in claim 4, wherein said last mentioned means is a wedge-shaped member.
8. The brace as set forth in claim 4, wherein said arm has an outwardly bent portion to accommodate the ankle bone.
9. The brace as set forth in claim 5, wherein said cup shaped member tapers outwardly in upward direction.
10. The brace as set forth in claim 6, wherein said sleeve has a front side formed with a hole and one of said springs has a forwardly bent upper end extending into said hole.
11. The brace as set forth in claim 10, wherein the thickness of said one spring is greater than the thickness of the other springs.
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