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Publication numberUS3073305 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 15, 1963
Filing dateMar 6, 1958
Priority dateMar 6, 1958
Publication numberUS 3073305 A, US 3073305A, US-A-3073305, US3073305 A, US3073305A
InventorsBiggs Jr Ernest R, Lewis Hector E
Original AssigneeSurgical Appliance Ind
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Ankle brace
US 3073305 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Jan. 15, 1963 E. R. BIGGS, JR, ETAL, 3,073,305

ANKLE BRACE 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed March 6, 1958 Jan. 15, 1963 E. R. BIGGS, JR.. ETAL 3,073,305

ANKLE BRACE Filed March 6, 1958 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 m'roeusys.

Jan. 15, 1963 E. R. BIGGS, JR., ETAL ANKLE BRACE 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed March 6, 1958 A TTORHEYQ.

- Patented Jan. 15, 1963 3,073,305 ANKLE BRACE Ernest R. Biggs, Jr., Columbus, and Hector E. Lewis,

Cincinnati, Ohio, assignors to Surgical Appliance Industries, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio, a corporation of Ohio Filed Mar. 6, 1958, Ser. No. 719,603 8 Claims. (Cl. 128166) This invention relates to an ankle brace or-support and is particularly directed to an ankle brace designed for repeated use and arranged for application by the wearer.

It has become the practice of college, high school and profesisonal athletic organizations to tape or wrap the ankles of the players prior to a football practice or game as well as in other types of athletics. The emphasis has been placed on prevention of injury in addition to providing a protective support for previously injured ankles. This protection is provided by supporting the ankle in such a manner to lock the heel against such turning as would cause the ankle to be strained or sprained.

In athletic organizations having a sufficient budget to permit, the ankles are normally supported by adhesive tape applied in a particular manner. The use of adhesive tape is subject to a number of disadvantages. In

the first place, it is diflicult to remove to leave a clean ankle. Secondly, the leg must be shaved in order to apply the tape. Thirdly, when the leg perspires the tape loosens and tends to slip thereby diminishing the protection provided by the tape. Fourth, the tape tends to result in calluses on the foot and ankle in the areas where the tape overlaps. These functional disadvantages are added to the important economic disadvantage that the cost of adhesive tape and the cost'of providing numerous trainers to apply the tape is excessive.

In lower budget organizations the expense of the adhesive tape brace is substantially avoided through the use of a non-adhesive ankle wrap.

This form of ankle protection consists of a wrap with a non-adhesive strip of heavy duck material about two inches wide. This material is wrapped about the ankle and fastened with adhesive tape. Although the ankle wrap is considerably less expensive than an adhesive tape brace and does not require a trainer for application, insofar as support isconcerned, the wrap is not nearly as satisfactory as tape. It not only fails to provide as much support as tape upon the initial application, but it tends to become loose within a very short period of activity and when loose affords practically no support.

The object of the present invention is to provide an ankle brace or support which is not subject to the dis advantages of either the tape or wrap and which may be easily applied by the person whose ankles are to be supported.

Broadly, the invention consists of the combination of an elastic fabric sleeve which can be slipped over the foot of the wearer so as to surround the ankle area, and one or more straps carried by the sleeveand positioned to be wrapped about the sleeve and ankle to provide the required support.

The portion of this sleeve which extends above the ankle is provided with resilient steel bracing strips which maintain the sleeve in a fully extended position on the leg and prevent the creeping of the sleeve downwardly. This sleeve is also provided with loops through which the straps pass to maintain the straps in proper orientation on the sleeve. The combination of an upwardly braced sleeve with straps passing through the loops and frictionally adhering to the sleeve results in a brace which not only provides proper support initially but maintains the desired support over an extended period of activity.

The straps cooperating with the loops which are attached to the sleeve permit a figure 8 type bracing consisting of a strap loop about the heel cooperating with a strap loop about the ankle. A second figure S orientation of the straps consist of the strap loop about the heel, mentioned above, and-the strap loop about the foot.

The figure 8 arrangement is designed to stabilize the motion of the heel to prevent the turn of the, foot which stresses the joint structure of the ankle. It will be demonstrated that a wide variety of strap application patterns are permitted by the invention, the particular pattern used depending on the weakness or injury being supported. All the patterns, however, are fundamentally directed to the prevention of the roll of the heel, thereby restricting the turning of the ankle.

The objects of the. invention will become more readily apparent from the following detailed description of the invention taken into conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the invention applied to an ankle andshowing the preferred orientation of the bracing straps;

FIG. 2 is an elevational view of the preferred form of the invention;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the invention showing an alternative wrapping arrangement;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view showing another form of the wrapping arrangement; I

FIG. Sis an elevational view of the alternative view of the ankle brace; and

FIG. 6 is an elevational view showing another form of the ankle brace.

The principal elements of the brace are best illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 and include an elastic woven fabric sleeve 10 which is stretchable in the circumferential direction and which has an upper ankle receiving portion 12 and the lower foot receiving portion 14, separated by a slit 16 through which the heel of the wearer projects. The upper sleeve portion 12 snugly embraces the ankle and the lower portiono of the calf of the leg as shown in FIG. 1. The top edge of sleeve portion 12 is provided with a dip 13 to facilitate application and removal of the brace. The lower sleeve portion 14 snugly embraces the foot terminating approximately at the area of the ball of the foot.

The upper sleeve portion 12. is supported in an elevated position against downward creeping by resilient stays 18 disposed in elongated fabric pockets 20 at the rear of the upper portion of the sleeve.

It should be noted that the stays 18 are inclined to a line extended vertically along the back of the upper sleeve portion 12. This angulation provides a truss arrangement which resists the downward pull at the ends of the straps, the pull being focused at the apex area of the truss.

Additional vertical bracing is provided by symmetrically disposed resilient stays 22 also received in elongated pockets 24. Members 22 are similar to members 18 but are shorter, being about two-thirds the length of the members 18 so as to terminate immediately above, inside, and outside ankle nobs. The stays 22 provide additional resistance around the circumference of the sleeve against downward creeping.

Stays 18 and 22 preferably consist of two helical spring elements interleaved and flattened as described in copending application Serial No. 655,689, filed April 29, 1957. This construction provides vertical support while permitting limited lateral flexing in all directions.

The principal bracing elements in the form of the invention illustrated in FIG. 2 are straps 26 and 28, each I approximately forty inches long and each being stitched at one end thereof to the bottom of the lower sleeve portion 14 as indicated at 30in the-form illustrated. However, the attachment may be fixed to the top of the'lower sleeve portion, or to the upper sleeve portion above the level of slit 16. The straps are about one and oneeighth inches wide and are of a strong comparatively inelastic material capable of sustaining about a 250 pound pull.

In order to wrap the bracing straps 26 and 28 in proper orientation about the sleeve and to maintain the straps in their proper orientation during the activity of the wearer, loops are provided on the sleeve 10. There are two loops 32 and 34 each of which are fixed at one end of the sleeve at the area of the extremity of the heel receiving slit 16 and at the other end at a location spaced from the heel slit toward the forward end of the foot. Loops 32 and 34 extend generally parallel to the axis of the foot receiving portion of the sleeve. A second pair of hanging loops 36 and 38 are fixed to the sleeve of the extremity of the heel slit 16. A fabric strip 40 is stitched at intervals 42 along a verticalline at the rear of the sleeve to form a series of loops 44, 46 and 47 extending generally parallel to the ankle receiving portion of the sleeve. The loops 36 and 38 extend in a direction to biscct the angle formed by the foot and ankle portions of the sleeve.

After the bracing straps 26 and 28 have been wrapped about the ankle in a desired manner (several forms to be described below) the free ends 27 and 29. are fastened in buckles 48 and 50, the buckles being fixed to the free ends of an inelastic strap 52 which is stitched intermediate its ends to the upper end of sleeve 10 as indicated at 54. The buckles are provided with a covering 56, provided with mating snap fasteners 58. The covering 56 is of a soft material and prevents the buckles from being exposed in a position to hang against one another impeding the freedom of movement of the wearer.

FIG. 1 illustrates a preferred orientation of the straps applied for example to the left leg. For convenience of illustration, the strap 28 has been shaded and the strap 26 remains unshaded.- Additionally, arrows accompanied by letters descending along the length of each strap from the point of attachment 30 to the ends will illustrate the manner in which the straps are wrapped about the ankle. In the arrangement illustrated by FIG. 1, the strap 28 is wrapped first. It extends from the outside of the foot passing through loop 34 (A) over the bend of the ankle in front of the lateral ankle process and down through loop 44. Continuing downwardly, (B) the strap 28 passes through the hanging loop 38, under the heel of the foot and up on the inside of the foot again over the ankle bend (C), above the lateral process of the ankle (D) and through loop 46. That strap continues helically upward around the leg (E) and fastens to the outside buckle 50.

Strap 26 passes through loop 32 (not shown in FIG. 1) on the inside of the foot, through the bend of the ankle and above the lateral ankle process (A). The strap passes down through loop 44, around the side and bottom of the heel, passing through loop 36 (not visible in FIG. 1). Strap 26 then passes through loop 34 (B) on the outside of the foot and through the bend of the ankle, above the medial process, through the loop 46, continuing around the leg (C) and fastening into the inside buckle 48.

It will be observed by reference to FIG. 1 as well as FIGS. 3 and 4 to be discussed below that the bracing straps provide the figure 8 configuration in respect to the ankle which is recognized as the most effective manner of bracing an ankle to provide protection against injury. Actually, two figure 8 loops are provided. The principal figure 8 has as its lower loop the strap arrangement which encircles the heel at the back and bottom of the foot, the upper loop being the strap portions which are wrapped from the back of the heel around the ankle bend.

The second important figure 8 loop arrangement consists of 'the loop around the back of'theheelmentioned above and the loop which extends around the bottom of the foot passing over the tarsus area or front of the foot.

An alternative form of wrapping the brace of FIG. 2 is shown in FIG. 3. In this form of the invention the figure 8 bracingarrangement is again attained. Again considering the brace to be on the left leg in this form of the invention the strap 28 is first passed through the hanging loop 38, (A) around the Achilles tendon or back of the heel passing through loop 44, across the inside nob of the ankle bone, through the ankle bend (B), inclining downwardly and around the Achilles tendon, across the bottom of the foot and passing through loop 34 (C). The strap continues over the tarsus area and helically around the leg finally fastening to buckle 48.

In a symmetrical manner, strap 26 passes through the loop 36 (not visible' in FIG. 3) around the Achilles tendon, passing through loop 44 over the outside nob of the ankle bone (A) through the ankle bend and back downwardly .to loop 44across the Achilles tendon and passing through loop 38 (B); The strap continues under the bottom. :of the foot through the loop 32. across the tarsus area helically up to the leg fastening to buckle 58.

FIG. 4 shows still another form of wrapping the brace of FIG. 2. In this formthe strap 28 passes from its point of attachment 30 at the bottom of the foot through hanging loop 38, (A) around the Achilles tendon, across the insidenob of the ankle bone, over the tarsus area (B) and through loop 34. The strap continues under the foot up the inside of the foot, across the ankle bend and helically up (C) around the leg, fastening to buckle 48. Strap 26 is symmetrical with strap 28 and passes from its point of attachment 30 at the bottom of the foot through the hanging loop 36 (not visible in FIG. 4) across the Achilles tendon through loop 44 and across the outside nob of the ankle bone (A). The strap continues through the ankle bend down the inside of the foot passing through'loop 32 (not visible in FIG. 4) across the bottom of. the foot and up over the ankle bend passing through loop 34 (B). The strap continues helically around the leg (C and D) and fastens to buckle 50.

FIG. 5 illustrates an alternative form of the invention which difiers from the form shown in FIGURES 1 to 3 in that the bracing straps 60 and 62 are stitched at their inner ends to the top of the lower sleeve portion 14 as indicated at 64. It will be observed that the hanging loops 36 and 38 have been replaced by hanging loop 66 and loop 44 has been omitted. Other than these differences, the brace remains the same as shown in FIGS. 1 to 2.

As indicated by references to FIGS. 1, 3 and 4, a number of variations of wrapsare permitted, all wraps containing the fundamental figure 8 arrangement. Similar variations in wrapping arrangements will be obvious upon application of the brace of FIG. 5.

FIG. 6 shows still another form of the invention which is a combination of the arrangements of FIGS. 2 and 6. In other words, FIG. 6 utilizes a pair of straps 68 and 70 applied to the top of the lower sleeve portion and a second pair of straps 72 and 74 applied to the bottom of the lower sleeve portion. In this embodiment, the loop arrangement difiers slightly from that shown in FIG. 1 and consists of the vertically arranged loops 44, 46 and 47, two hanging loops 76, 78 projecting from the sides of the sleeve and two inclined loops 80, 82 fixed to the sleeve above the hanging loops. Two buckles 84 and 86 one on each side of the sleeve are provided to receive the ends of the straps.

Again the variations in strap orientation will be ob vious, it being important to apply the straps in such a manner as to provide the figure 8 loop arrangements described in connection with FIGS. 1 to 4.

For convenience and clarity in certain of the claims appended hereto, the orientation of component parts of the ankle brace will be described with respect to the brace as it is disposed on a leg.

' Having described our invention we claim:

' '1. An ankle brace comprising, a generally cylindrical fabric sleeve having a portion for receiving the foot and a portiorlfor receiving the ankle of a leg, two bracing straps each fixed at one end to the underside of the foot portion of said sleeve and means on said sleeve cooperating with said straps for orienting said straps on said sleeve in ankle bracing relation, said last named means comprising, in the order of engagement by said straps, a first loop at each side of and parallel to said foot portion, a second loop extending parallel to the axis of said ankle portion, and a third pair of loops disposed one adjacent each of said first loops and extending generally in a direction to bisect the angle formed by the foot and ankle portions of the sleeve.

2. An ankle brace comprising, a generally cylindrical elastic fabric sleeve stretchable in a circumferential direction and having a portion for receiving the foot and a portion for receiving the ankle of a leg, at least one resilient stay extending from the side of the ankle portion angularly to the rear of the ankle portion at the top of said sleeve to brace said sleeve in proper position on' said ankle, said sleeve having apocket for receiving said sta and bracing straps fixed to said sleeve for wrapping about the foot and ankle in frictional engagement with said sleeve.

3. A brace according to claim 2 further comprising a second stay symmetrically disposed'with respect to said first mentioned stay on the opposite said of the ankle portion, said stays forming a truss arrangement for supporting said sleeve against downward creeping.

4. An ankle brace comprising, a generally cylindrical elastic sleeve stretchable in .a circumferential direction and having a portion for receiving the foot and a portion for receiving the ankle of a leg, at first resilient stay extending from the side of the ankle portion angularly to the rear of the ankle portion at the top of said sleeve to brace said sleeve in proper position on said ankle, a second resilient stay extending generally parallel to said first'stay and spaced therefrom toward the front of' said ankle portion, said sleeve having pockets to receive said stays and bracing straps fixed to said sleeve for *wrapping about the foot and ankle in frictional engagement with said sleeve.

' 5. A brace according to claim 4 further comprising two additional resilient stays symmetrically disposed with respect to said first mentioned stays on the opposite side of the ankle portion. I

ceiving the foot and ankle portion of a leg, a pair of resilient stays at the rear of said. sleeve and extending angularly upwardly toward each other to form a truss arrangement for bracing said sleeve in proper position on said ankle, bracing straps fixed to the lower portion of said sleeve for wrapping about the foot and ankle in frictional engagement with said sleeve, and means secured to said sleeve between the upper ends of said stays for fastening the free ends of said straps.

7. In an ankle brace, a support member comprising, a generally cylindrical elastic fabric sleeve stretchable in a circumferential direction, said sleeve having a transverse slit intermediate the ends of said sleeve through-which a heel may project, the portion above said slit forming a wrap for the ankle andlower calf portion of the leg, the portion below said slit forming a Wrap for the foot, and bracing straps of inelastic material each having-one end secured to said sleeve at the bottom of said foot wrap.

8. in an ankle brace, a support member comprising, a generally cylindrical elastic fabric sleeve stretchable in a circumferential direction, said sleeve having a transverse slit intermediate the ends of said sleeve through which a heel may project, the portion above said slit forming a wrap for the ankle and lower calf portion of the leg, the portion below said slit forming a wrap for the foot, bracing straps each having one end secured to said sleeve at the bottom of said foot wrap, and fastening means for the other ends of said straps secured to the upper portion or" said ankle and calf wrap.

References Cited in the file ofthis patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 396,945 Michelson Jan. 29, 1889 872,517 Irwin Dec. 3, 1907 963,878 Diver July 12, 1910 1,284,836 Warner Nov. 12, 1918 1,374,669 McClellan Apr. 12, 1921 1,388,772 Sheehan Aug. 23, 1921 1,478,253v Quenzer Dec. 18, 1923 1,717,690 lhnen June 18, 1929 2,083,904 Fox June 15, 1937 2,526,663 Holland Oct. '24, 1950 2,630,116 Leathers Mar. 3, 1953 2,646,797 Scholl July 28, 1953 FOREIGN PATENTS 1 191,670 Switzerland 1----.. -1; Sept."1, 295,886"

1937 L f' Great Britain Aug. 23, 1928 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No, 3 073305 January 15, 1963 Ernest R0 Biggs, J12, et alo It is hereby certified that error appears in the above numbered patent requiring correction and that the said Letters Patent should read as corrected below.

Column 5 line 12, after to-" insert the axis of line 31 for "said" read side Signed and sealed this 3rd day of September 1963,

(SEAL) Attest:

ERNEST w. SWIDER DAVID LADD Attesting Officer Commissioner of Patents

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Classifications
U.S. Classification602/65
International ClassificationA61F5/01
Cooperative ClassificationA61F5/0111
European ClassificationA61F5/01D1D