US 3277889 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 11, 1966 PALMER 3,277,889
GLAVICLE BRACE Filed May 20, 1963 INVENTOR. 441 250 /i P444452 QM. wad
United States Patent 3,277,889 CLAVICLE BRACE Alfred M. Palmer, 8857 Sunset Crest Place, Los Angeles, Calif. Filed May 20, 1963, Ser. No. 281,676 2 Claims. (Cl. 128-37) The present invention relates generally to surgical splints and braces, and more especially to a clavicle brace for the effective treatment of fractures of the clavicle or collar bone.
Various types of braces have been devised in the past to treat a fracture of the clavicle. One such device is a rigid, board-like brace applied to the back of the patient and held in place by suitable straps or bandages. A brace of this character is extremely uncomfortable when worn for the long period of time required for such a fracture to heal, and makes it very difficult for the patient to sleep lying on the brace because of the discomfort produced.
Other types of braces .involve the use of straps or a harness applied over the chest and which are drawn tight in order to hold the clavicle in place. Devices of this character generally are objectionable because of the fact that they produce pressure on the nerves and blood vessels of the axilla when the straps pass underneath the arm. Nerves and blood vessels on the outside of the chest cage are compressed by these straps and produce a high degree of discomfort in the patient wearing a brace of this type.
Consequently, it becomes a general object of the present invention to provide a simple form of clavicle brace, for the effective treatment of a fracture of the clavicle, that can be worn in comfort.
A more particular object of the present invention is to provide a clavicle brace of this general character that can be worn without applying pressure at the axilla which compresses nerves and blood vessels in that area, thus relieving the patient of discomfort produced by such pressure.
A further object of the present invention is to provide an effective clavicle brace which is light as to weight, simple in construction and easy to keep clean while in use.
These objects of the present invention have been achieved in a clavicle brace by providing a pair of individual hoops, each hoop being adapted to encircle one shoulder of a patient and pass under the axilla with sufficient clearance to avoid pressure on nerves and blood vessels in that area, there being strap means interconnecting the two hoops at the back of the patient to pull the hoops together and thus apply rearwardly directed pressure on the anterior aspect of each shoulder. Each hoop is sufliciently rigid to maintain its shape and not deform under stresses applied to it during normal activity while the brace is being worn.
How the above objects and advantages of the present invention, as well as others not specifically mentioned herein, are attained, will be more readily understood by reference to the following description and to the annexed drawing, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective View of a brace constructed according to the present invention, as it appears when off of the patient;
FIG. 2 is a front view of the brace as applied to a patient;
FIG. 3 is a .rear view of the brace as applied to a patient;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged side elevation of one of the hoops of the present brace;
FIG. 5 is a front view thereof showing the shoulder pad in front elevation;
FIG. 6 is a further enlarged fragmentary section on line 66 of FIG. 5;
Patented Oct. 11, 1966 FIG. 7 is a fragmentary section on line 7-7 of FIG. 6;:and
FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the wire frame of a hoop of the clavicle brace.
Referring now to the drawing, and particularly to FIG. 1, it will be seen that the clavicle brace of the present invention comprises a pair of individual hoops, each generally indicated at 10, and which when in use are interconnected by strap means, indicated generally at 11 and located at the back of the patient.
The construction of each of hoops 10 is shown in greater detail in FIGS. 58 where it will be seen that each hoop comprises a wire frame 12. The frame may be made from a single wire, as shown in the drawing, or it may be made from a plurality of smaller wires twisted together. In either case, the frame is made of wire of relatively small diameter, thus avoiding any large, uncomfortable body between the arms and the chest cage. The overall diameter of each hoop is sufficiently great that the hoop can pass upwardly over an arm and encircle the shoulder of a patient Where it passes under the axilla with substantial clearance, thus avoiding the nerves and blood vessels at the axilla and eliminating any pressure upon them from the hoop. Although the invention is not limited to any precise overall diameter of the hoop, and the brace may be made with hoops of different sizes better to fit patients of different sizes and builds, a typical dimension for the hoop is about eight inches.
A convenient manner of making the hoop is to bend a length of wire into a generally circular outline as shown in FIG. 4, overlapping the terminal sections 14 of the Wire, as shown in FIG. 8. These terminal sections are bent outwardly to spread them apart as indicated, while each end of the wire is attached to the wire at points spaced from the other end in any suitable manner, as by spot welding indicated at 15.
The overlapping portions 14 of the Wire frame provide the foundation on which the pad 18 is placed. The pad may be of any suitable construction, a typical one being indicated at FIGS. 6 and 7. Here the pad comprises a soft, pliable layer 19 of felt, sponge rubber, or other similar material, and a cover 20 which is preferably a washable, waterproof material such as a synthetic resin or plastic sheet material. While this same material 20 may cover both sides of pad body 19, it may be preferable to provide a front layer 21 of a semi-rigid material which is also washable and waterproof but which is sufficiently rigid to distribute to some extent the pressure applied by the wire frame 14 to the pad.
As shown in FIG. 4, pad 18 is curved in profile when viewed from the side, thus conforming to the natural curvature of the anterior aspect of the shoulder. Viewed from the front, each pad 18 is more or less elliptical or oval in shape in order to give a substantial area to the pad, thus distributing the pull of the brace over a suitably large area on the patients shoulder. This makes the brace more comfortable to wear and avoids restriction of circulation that would occur if the pressure of the brace were concentrated over a narrow, limited area.
In use, one hoop is applied to encircle each shoulder, with the pad 18 adjusted rather high on the anterior portion of the shoulder. The wire hoop passes over the shoulder, resting on top of it, and under the axilla but with sufficient clearance that it avoids pressure on any of the nerves or blood vessels of the axilla.
The two hoops are connected by suitable strap means 11. This means preferably comprises a pair of straps 22, each provided with an adjustable buckle 23 by which the hoops may be drawn together at the back of the patient, thus producing a rearwardly directed pull on the anterior aspect of the shoulder, bringing the shoulders back. The adjustable nature of the buckles 23 not only permits the adjustment of the clavicle brace to persons of different size, but also adjustment of the pull applied to the brace by the strap means. If desired, wire frame 12 may be bent in a suitable manner, as indicated at 25, to keep the two straps separated.
The size and stiffness of the wire frame 12 is preferably such that the hoop has sufficient rigidity that it resists deformation under all normal stresses applied to it while the brace is being worn. At the same time, the wire is preferably not so rigid but that it can be manually bent and manipulated by the doctor fitting the brace, that the hoop can be fitted to a particular patient in a manner to conform as desired to the build of the patients body.
Thus, it will be seen that the clavicle brace of the present invention avoids pressure at positions on the body where such pressure produces substantial discomfort on the part of the patient using the brace. The brace is also light in weight, cheaply and easily constructed, and easily adjusted to fit any patient.
While specific structural details have been shown and described, it should be understood that changes and alterations may be resorted to without departing from the spirit of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
1. A clavicle brace comprising: a pair of individual circumferentially extending hoops formed of stiff wire, each adapted to encircle one shoulder of a patient and having a diameter to permit the lower part thereof to pass under the axilla with clearance, said Wire hoops being bendable to assume a general form corresponding to the form of the shoulder of the patient and being sufficiently stiff as to resist bending under normal forces applied thereto during use by the patient; strap means for interconnecting the hoops; and each of said hoops having a substantially ovate pad interconnected with said hoop along the major axis of said pad and located on the front of each hoop in a position for bearing against the anterior aspect of the patients shoulder generally laterally of the clavicle when worn said pads being marginally reinforced but pliable within their margins to conform to the patients 4 shoulders; said strap means being connected to the hoops in generally diametrical relation to said pads.
2. A clavicle brace comprising: a pair of individual circumferentially extending hoops formed of stiff wire, each adapted to encircle one shoulder of a patient and having a diameter to permit the lower part thereof to pass under the axilla with clearance, said wire hoops being bendable to assume a general form corresponding to the form of the shoulder of the patient and being sufficiently stiff as to resist bending under normal forces applied thereto during use by the patient; strap means for interconnecting the portions of the hoops that extend back of the patient; each of said hoops having a substantially ovate pad interconnected with said hoop along the major axis of said pad and located on the front of each hoop in a position for bearing against the anterior aspect of the patients shoulder generally laterally of the clavicle when worn; each of said hoops being formed from a single continuous piece of wire having terminal portions substantially overlapping and flared away from one another so as to be spaced apart at the overlap; the ends of the wire being secured to said wire at locations spaced from one another; and said pad being composed of soft pliable material and being marginally supported on the spaced apart overlapping portions of said wire.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 124,473 3/1872 Banning 12878 370,055 9/1887 Haley 12878 X 887,389 5/1908 Haas 12878 1,026,758 5/1912 McKay l28111 2,187,323 1/1940 Kelton et al. 12887 2,450,298 9/1946 Peterson et al 128-87 FOREIGN PATENTS 182,820 8/1955 Austria.
190,219 9/ 1907 Germany.
110,008 5/ 1925 Switzerland.
J. W. HINEY, Assistant Examiner.