US 3219032 A
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Nov. 23, 1965 Filed May 3l, 1962 M. R. LEVITT BUNION SPLINT 2 Sheets-Sheet l /l lIIIIIII I INVENTOR. Ma 70A/ e iV/77 Nov. 23, 1965 M. R. LEvlTT 3,219,032
BUNION SPLINT Filed May 31, 1962 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 /9 INVENTOR A W4 ra/v e fw/ff United States Patent O 3,219,032 BUNION SPLINT Milton R. Levitt, New Brunswick, NJ., assiguor to The Scholl Mfg. Co., Inc., Chicago, Ill., a corporation of New York Filed May 31, 1962, Ser. No. 199,026 2 Claims. (Cl. 12S- 81) This invention relates to improvements in a bunion splint, and more particularly to a device highly desirable for use at night during sleeping, -or at other times when articles of footwear are not w-orn, for the purpose of alleviating or correcting a condition of hallux valgus with or without an associated bunion, although the device may have other uses and purposes as will be apparent to one skilled inthe art.
In the past, various forms of bunion splints have been developed primarily for use at night -or at other times when articles of footwear are not worn to maintain an adducted toe in its normal or in a slightly abducted position. These formerly known devices, however, were diicult to properly attach to the foot and particularly so when the patient himself endeavored to attach the article, such procedure usually being accompanied by severe pain. This was in the main owing to the fact that such devices were made or fabricated from numerous pieces of material of differing degrees of flexibility and stiffness and the devices involved laces, straps to be buckled, and required extreme care to properly adjust. Equal care and caution was required for the removal of the device in -order to minimize the pain to the patient. Further, devices of this character heretofore known were objectionably expensive and if the foot of the patient was inclined t-o perspirc or there was some exudation from the bunion, the devices could not be properly and satisfactorily cleansed when desired, and either from lack of proper cleansing, or by virtue of wearing of parts, such devices were objectionably short lived. In addition, it may be mentioned that these formerly known devices had to be made for right and left feet and would of necessity be provided in several ditferent sizes for each of men, women and children.
With the foregoing in mind, it is an important object of the instant invention to provide a bunion splint which is simple in construction, easily attachable to the foot of a user without undue caution to avoid pain, and which device maintains itself upon the foot of the user without the need of lacing, straps, buckles, and the like.
Also a feature of this invention is the provision of a bunion splint capable of being utilized 4on either a right or left foot.
Another object of this invention is the provision of a bunion splint easily attached to the foot of the user, and which is held to the foot by the inherent resiliency of the splint itself with no other aid.
Still another desideratum of this invention is the provision of a bunion splint adjustable as to size in a'simple manner, whereby a single bunion splint for each -of men, women, and children should suice for substantially all such sizes.
It is also an object of this invention to provide a bunion splint made of a plastic material inert to perspiration, body acids and exudations, cleansing compounds, and the like, whereby the splint may be thoroughly cleaned whenever desired.
It is a still further object of this invention to provide a bunion splint having no parts subject to any material wear, whereby the splint is extremely long lived.
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 folent invention.
Patented Nov. 23, 1965 lowing disclosures, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIGURE 1 is a fragmentary top plan view of a human foot illustrating a condition of hall-ux valgus with accompanying bunion, which condition is one the instant invention is designed to correct;
FIGURE 2 is a fragmentary top plan view of a human foot with a bunion splint embodying principles of the instant invention applied to the foot in operative position;
FIGURE 3 is a side elevational View of the bunion splint alone;
FIGURE 4 is a transverse sectional view through the splint taken substantially as indicated by the line IV-IV of FIGURE 3, looking in the direction of the arrows, and with parts removed;
FIGURE 5 is -a fragmentary plan View of a bunion splint embodying principles of the instant invention of a slightly different construction;
FIGURE 6 is a rear elevational view of the Istructure of FIGURE 5;
FIGURE 7 is a fragmentary plan View of the human foot showing a bunion splint embodying principles of this invention but of a still different construction in operative position upon the foot; and
FIGURE 8 is a vertical sectional view through the splint of FIGURE 7 taken substantially as indicated by the line VIII- VIII of FIGURE 7.
As shown on the drawings:
FGURE 1 illustrates an adverse foot condition of a type the instant invention is designed to correct. In this instance, a foot 1 has a bad condition of hallux valgus with the great toe 2 adducted and underlying the second toe 3, such condition having given rise to the development of a buni-on 4 opposite the first metatarsal head or in the region of the rst metatarsophalangeal articulation. It is of no moment, of course, whether the adducted toe underlies or overlies the next adjacent toe, both conditions being prevalent in cases of halluX valgus.
In FIGURE 2 there is shown the same foot 1 with the great toe 2 maintained in its normal or in a slightly abducted position by means of a splint embodying the pres- Such slight over correction by way of abduction is desired in many cases particularly while the patient is asleep to expedite proper correction of the condition. l
While the bunion splint itself may be made in -one piece, it is preferably made in two pieces, as shown, in order to accommodate various sizes of feet. Preferably each piece of the device is molded as a single unitary piece from a suitable plastic material, a methyl methacrylate polymer being highly satisfactory since in its formed stateit is semi-rigid but resilient, among others, for this purpose.
The form of the invention seen in FIGURES 2, 3 and 4 embodies two pieces, a forward piece generally indicated by numeral 5, and a rear piece generally indicated by numeral 6. The forward piece 5 includes a shank 7, an outwardly extending dome formation 8 providing a cavity on the inner side for the reception of the lbunion 4, and an inwardly extending toe loop or partial loop 9 at the forward end of the piece. The rear piece 6 includes a shank 10, terminating at its forward edge in a line line 11 to prevent gouging into the foot, and being turned at its rear end to provide a heel clip 12. This rear piece is also provided with a pair of integral loops 13 and 14 which receive the shank 7 of the forward piece.
The two pieces are so shaped that when the shank 7 of the forward piece is inserted in the loops 13 and 14, the entire splint is bowed when in its normal position as indicated by the dotted lines 15 in FIGURE l. When the splint is placed on the foot, the loop 9 is placed over the adducted toe, and the heel clip is passed around the narrow portion of the foot just above the heel as best seen in FIGURE 2. This causes the device to straighten along the inner edge of the foot, and consequently by the resiliency of the device itself will abduct the great toe and hold it in its normal or a trifle abducted position. It is a simple expedient to slide the shank 7 of the forward piece more or less through the loops 13 and 14 to t the device to a particular foot, and when the device is placed upon the foot and straightened against its inherent resiliency, there will be no tendency of the shanks 7 and 10 and slip relatively to each other. The resiliency of the heel clip 12 permits it to t feet of different sizes as well. Consequently, the entire splint can be made substantially in one universal size for each of men, women, and children.
It will be noted that the splint is easy to place in proper position upon the foot, this being done substantially in one smooth motion after the device has been adjusted for the proper size, and with a minimum of pain to the user. There are no buckles, laces, fasteners, or the like to adjust, the device being handled as though it were one single piece of material. The device is also simple to remove, it being only necessary to hold the forward end adjacent the toe loop or the loop itself, release the heel clip, and gently slide the device off the great toe. Either putting the device on or taking it olf may be done with a minimum of pain to the user, When in position, the device effectively maintains the great toe in its proper or a slightly abducted position, again painlessly, and will not cause the user any discomfort, but in effect eliminate to a great extent the discomfort already present by virtue of the hallux valgus and bunion. At the same time, the device prevents contact of bed clothing and the like with the bunion itself. The splint may be laundered as frequently as desired and is extremely long lived.
In FIGURES and 6 I have illustrated how an additional heel seat may be provided on the device if so desired. In this instance, the shank of the rear piece has a downward extension 16 integral therewith, and integral with this extension and extending inwardly spaced below the heel clip 12 is a cupped heel seat 17. While the heel seat may be preferred in some cases as may be indicated by the condition of a particular foot, it is not preferred in general because it tends to limit the size of the device, since fewer heels of different sizes can be used with one seat, than can the splint be used for sizes of feet without the heel seat.
In FIGURES 7 and 8 I have shown another form of the invention. In this instance the splint comprises a normally straight shank 18, preferably longitudinally beaded or fluted as indicated at 19 to better resist bending when applied to the foot. The shank is provided with a bunion dome 20 and the forward end of the shank extends freely alongside the great toe. The rear end of the shank has an integral and resilient heel clip 21 of the same character previously described. When this device is put to use, a separate ring or toe loop 22 is placed over the great toe 2 and also over the forward end of the straight shank 18. With this form of the invention, the shank is normally straight and remains straight, so that it is necessary to physically move the great toe over against the shank of the splint and then apply the ring or loop 22 over both the toe and splint shank. Sizing of the splint of FIGURES 7 and 8 may be obtained to a reasonable degree, since it makes no difference if the shank of the splint projects beyond the toe, although the spl-int of FIGURES 7 and 8, due to the fixed location of the bunion dome 20 will not accommodate as many various sizes as the device shown in FIGURES 2, 3 and 4. Of course, the device of FIGURES 7 and 8 may be provided with the heel seat above described, if so desired, and this splint could also be made into two pieces for telescopic association as seen in FIGURE 3.
The application of the splint of FIGURES 7 and 8 is simple, the heel clip being rst positioned on the foot, then the great toe physically abducted and the ring 22 slipped in position. Pain to the user is at a minimum during this procedure, and also at a minimum during removal of the device. Again, all buckles, laeings, fastening means, or the like are eliminated and the splint is quickly attached and removed, no special skill being required.
I will be understood that modifications and variations may be effected without departing from the scope of the novel concepts of the present invention.
I claim as my invention:
1. A bunion splint of semi-rigid but resilient material comprising a front member including a shank, and
a toe loop on and extending to one side of the forward end thereof, a rear member member including a shank, and a resilient heel clip on the rear end thereof, means for frictionally holding said shanks in a position of relative adjustment, and said Shanks being bowed with the convexity to the same side as said toe loop when the device is not in use and parallelling the inner side of the foot when in use to resiliently hold the great toe in substantially normal position. 2. A bunion splint comprising a normally straight shank, a resilient heel clip on the rear end of said shank, and a loop longitudinally slidably engaging the forward end portion of said shank whereby to embrace the great toe, said shank and clip being molded in a single piece from non-stretchable thermoplastic material, and said shank having a bunion receiving recess near the forward end thereof.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 643,068 2/1900 Pond 12S- 81 1,213,786 1/1917 Wilms 128-81 1,240,286 9/1917 Wood 128-81 1,665,030 4/1928 Hartwig 12S-81 2,370,892 3/1945 Trombla 128-87 2,492,312 12/1949 Muller 12S-81 2,646,794 7/1953 Baer 128--85 FOREIGN PATENTS 369,381 2/1923 Germany. 454,875 1/1928 Germany. 456,514 11/1936 Great Britain. 1,045,725 7/1953 France.
RICHARD A. GAUDET, Primary Examiner.
JORDAN FRANKLIN, Examiner.