US 3298365 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Jan. 17, 1967 H. E. LEWIS 3,298,365
ANKLE BRACE Filed Dec. 23, 1963 INVENTOR.
United States Patent Office 3,298,365 Patented Jan. 17, 1967 3,298,365 ANKLE BRACE Hector E. Lewis, Cincinnati, Ohio, assignor to Surgical Appliance Industries, Inc, Oincinnati, Ohio, a corporation of Ohio Filed Dec. 23, 1963, Ser. No. 332,476 3 Claims. (Cl. 128-80) The present invention relates to ankle braces or supports and is particularly directed to an ankle brace of the type adapted to hold the wearers foot in a substantially horizontal position.
The principal object of the present invention is to provide an ankle support effective to hold a wearers foot in a horizontal attitude so that a wearer suffering drop foot, or the like, is able to walk in a relatively normal manner. As is well known by those in the orthopedic appliance field, various diseases such as poliomyelitis and certain types of injuries can result in a persons being unable to raise the forward part of his foot. This dropping tendency of the toes is called a drop foot condition. Persons suffering from this condition are unable to walk normally.
In the past, various types of orthopedic appliances have been devised to aid persons with a drop foot condition to walk. These devices have generally involved the provision of a rigid clamp which engages the wearers calf or upper ankle and extends down the rim of the ankle and engages the wearers shoe or the bottom of his foot. These drop foot braces, while providing some help, are not completely satisfactory since in many instances they cannot be used except when the wearer is wearing specially constructed shoes. Moreover, the braces are uncomfortable and are exposed to view so that they present an unsightly appearance.
One of the principal objects of the present invention is to provide a brace which is effective to elevate a persons toes so that he can walk normally; and which eliminates the need of any other special wearing apparel, such as shoes. Thus, the present brace can be used when a wearer is wearing his regular street shoes, athletic shoes, slippers or is even barefoot. Moreover, the present brace can be worn under socks and conventional shoes so that the brace is hidden from view.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide a brace which is effective to immobilize the wearers foot not only in a vertical direction, but also in a horizontal direction. Thus, the brace may be worn by athletes requiring a substantial amount of immobility at the ankle while at the same time requiring a high degree of freedom of other body movements.
Specifically, the present invention is predicated upon the concept of providing an ankle brace comprising a sleeve effective to surround a wearers ankle and including a band positioned to pass under the wearers instep. The sleeve carries at its upper or front portion at least one rigid stay having a contour corresponding to that of the wearers upper ankle and foot when the foot is extended horizontally. The sleeve is effective to pull the wearers foot up against this rigid stay member which thus con trols the angulation of the wearers foot.
In a preferred embodiment, the sleeve is slit up the front and the rigid curved stay is carried in a tongue member disposed beneath the opposing edges of a slit. The tongue is held in position by laces which also are effective to draw the sleeve together tightly around the wearers ankle. This preferred embodiment also includes rigid stays on opposite sides of the wearers foot for holding his foot immobile against sideways bending.
These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will be more readily apparent from the following detailed description of the drawings illustrating a preferred embodiment of the invention.
In the drawings:
FIGURE 1 is a side view of an ankle brace of the present invention showing the manner in which the brace is worn.
FIGURE 2 is a front elevational view of the brace shown in FIGURE 1.
FIGURE 3 is a front elevational view of the tongue of the present brace, the tongue being partially broken away to show details of construction.
FIGURE 4 is a cross sectional view taken along line 44 of FIGURE 3.
One preferred form of brace 1t constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention is shown in FIGURE 1. As there shown, the brace comprises a sleeve 11 formed of a woven, substantially nonstretchable fabric, or a material having a very limited degree of stretchability. The sleeve member 11 is vertically slit along the front thereof as indicated at 12 in FIGURE 2. The sleeve is dimensioned so that it fits around the wearers ankle and extends upwardly an appreciable distance above his ankle bone. The sleeve further includes a cutout portion 13 at the rearward lower end thereof for receiving the wearers heel. An instep engaging band portion 14 is formed forwardly of the heel cutout 13. This instep engaging portion 14 passes under the wearers foot and terminates at its forward end at approximately the ball of the wearers foot.
It is to be understood that the brace is symmetrical about a vertical plane passing rearwardly through the slit 12. Vertical pockets 15 and 16 are disposed on each side of the slit 12. Each pocket is formed from a strip of fabric stitched about its periphery to the underlying sleeve member 11. The pockets 15 and 16 are left open at their upper edges 17, however, in order to permit the insertion and removal of rigid metal stays.
The brace also includes a second pair of vertical pockets 2020 disposed on opposite sides of the brace rearwardly of the forward pockets 15, 16. One of these pockets 20 is shown in FIGURE 1 and it is to be understood that the pocket 20 on the opposite side is similarly positioned relative to forward pocket 16. Each of the pockets 20 is formed of a flexible fabric and is stitched about its periphery to sleeve 11. The pockets 20 are also left with an open slit at the upper edge to receive rigid metal stay members.
As is best shown in FIGURES 1 and 2, body member 11 further includes a cloth binding 21 which extends completely about the periphery of the sleeve and about the periphery of heel opening 13. A plurality of eyelets 22 are disposed in conventional fashion adjacent to the edges of front slit 12. These eyelets are adapted to receive a lacing 23.
In addition to these elements, the present ankle brace comprises a tongue member 24. The tongue member is preferably formed of a woven fabric similar to that used in sleeve 11. The undersurface, or inner surface, of the tongue is preferably padded or provided with a brushed flannel lining 25 to increase the wearers comfort. The tongue member 24 is provided with a binding 26 and two spaced eyelets 2727 are formed in the center portion of the tongue adjacent to the lower edge thereof. A lace receiving loop 28 is stitched to the forward face of the tongue at approximately the center thereof.
Tongue member 24 is provided with two vertical pockets 30 and 31 formed adjacent to each elongated edge of the tongue. These pockets extend the full length of the tongue and are formed by stitching outer cloth strips to the main tongue strap along vertical lines 32 and 33 as well as along the bottom and outer edges of the pockets. The upper edges of the pockets are left open to receive elongated rigid shaped metal stays 34-34. These metal stays are preferably formed from steel of the order of of an inch wide and & of an inch thick. The stays are ent, as is shown in FIGURE 4, to a shape corresponding to the upper contour of the wearers ankle and foot when the foot is in its normal horizontal position, i.e., its position when the wearer is standing.
The tongue is held in place by threading the lowermost run of lace 23 through eyelets 27-27 at the bottom portion of the tongue. The lace is then crisscrossed through the eyelets 22 formed on opposite edges of the slit 12. Two portions of the lace cross one another beneath retaining loop 28 to hold the upper portion of the tongue in place.
In use, the wearer may, before putting on the brace, remove one of the two tongue stays 34 to increase the comfort of the brace. The stay so removed is generally the interior stay when the brace is worn. Thus, when the brace is to be worn on the right leg the left stay is frequently removed, and when the brace is to be worn on the left leg the right stay is frequently removed. The provision of the slot at the top of the tongue pockets and the loose connection of the tongue and sleeve 11 facilitate the removal and insertion of these tongue stays.
After removing the stays the wearer loosens the lacing and inserts his foot in the sleeve 11 in the manner shown in FIGURE 1. The lacing is then pulled up tight to force the instep band portion 14 against the bottom of the wearers foot. This in essence lifts or holds the wearers foot against tongue stay 30 or 31. The rigid contour of the stay is thus effective to constrain the wearers foot in a normal horizontal position. Thus, the present brace provides an effective appliance for people with drop foot, allowing them to walk in a manner approaching normal.
It will be appreciated that a wearer can place a sock over the present brace and can wear almost any type of shoe over the sock so that the ankle brace is completely hidden. The brace provides a high degree of immobilization of the wearers foot, not only in the vertical direction but also in the sideways direction. Immobilization against sideways bending is provided by the rigid side stays in pockets 15, 16 and 20. Thus, the brace can be worn to great advantage by athletes having relatively serious ankle injuries requiring substantial immobilization. While the present brace provides the requisite support, it does not otherwise impede the players activity. For example, a player can wear the present brace beneath basketball shoes and play basketball.
From the foregoing disclosure of the general principles of the present invention and the above detailed description of a preferred embodiment, those skilled in the art will readily comprehend various modifications to which the invention is susceptible. Therefore, I desire to be limited only by the scope of the following claims.
Having described my invention, I claim:
1. An ankle brace comprising a sleeve member for surrounding a wearers ankle, said sleeve having a vertical slit formed in the front portion thereof, said sleeve fur ther including an instep engaging band disposed for engagernent with the bottom of the wearers foot, said sleeve having a plurality of spaced eyelets formed on opposite sides of said slit, a lacing in engagement with said eyelets for drawing said sleeve portions together, a tongue member disposed beneath said lacing, a pocket formed in said tongue member, a rigid stay disposed in said pocket, said stay having an arcuate configuration corresponding to the contour of the wearers ankle and upper foot when the foot is disposed in a horizontal plane, said tongue having two vertically spaced lacing receiving elements, whereby said lacing is effective to hold said tongue in position.
2. An ankle brace comprising a sleeve member for surrounding a wearers ankle, said sleeve having a vertical slit formed in the front portion thereof, said sleeve further including an instep engaging band disposed for engagement with the bottom of the wearers foot, said sleeve having a plurality of spaced eyelets formed on opposite sides of said slit, a lacing in engagement with said eyelets for drawing said sleeve portions together, a tongue member disposed beneath said lacing, two pockets formed on opposite edges of said tongue member, .a rigid stay disposed in at least one of said pockets, said stay having an arcuate configuration corresponding to the contour of the wearers ankle and upper foot when the foot is disposed in a horizontal plane, said tongue having two vertically spaced lacing receiving elements, whereby said lacing is effective to hold said tongue in position.
3, An ankle brace comprising a sleeve member for surrounding a wearers ankle, said sleeve having a vertical slit formed in the front portion thereof, said sleeve further including an instep engaging band disposed for engagement with the bottom of the wearers foot, said sleeve having a plurality of spaced eyelets formed on opposite sides of said slit, a lacing in engagement with said eyelets for drawing said sleeve portions together, a tongue member disposed beneath said lacing, a pocket formed in said tongue member, a rigid stay disposed in said pocket, said stay having an arcuate configuration corresponding to the contour of the wearers ankle and upper foot when the foot is disposed in a horizontal plane, said tongue having two, vertically spaced lacing receiving elements, whereby said lacing is effective to hold said tongue in position, and a plurality of spaced rigid side stays extending vertically on opposite sides of said slit.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,081,366 12/1913 Collis 128-166 1,253,777 1/1918 Bromlsy 3654 1,692,896 11/1928 Hilgert 362.5
FOREIGN PATENTS 1,148,641 12/1957 France.
856,728 11/ 1952 Germany.
23,547 1889 Great Britain. 739,111 10/1955 Great Britain.
RICHARD A. GAUDET, Primary Examiner. J. W. HINEY, ]R., Assistant Examiner,