US 3316900 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
May 2, 1967 1.. M. YOUNG LEG BRACE HINGE GUARD Filed Aug. 18, 1964 INVENTOR. L////a/ M Young BY 5 Voang am Thompson flTTO/PNEYS United States Patent 3,316,900 LEG BRACE HINGE GUARD Lillian M. Young, 1830 S. Joplin Ave., Tulsa, Okla. 74112 Filed Aug. 18, 1964, Ser. No. 390,305 4 Claims. (Cl. 128-80) The present invention relates to a leg brace hinge guard, more particularly of the type designed to prevent sharp portions of a leg brace hinge from damaging the clothing or causing discomfort to the wearer of a leg brace.
It is an object of the present invention to provide a leg brace hinge guard which can be readily attached to and detached from the region of the hinge of a leg brace.
Another object of the present invention is the provision of a leg brace hinge guard which adapts itself readily to the shape of the leg brace hinge.
Still another object of the present invention is the provision of a leg brace hinge guard which occupies a minimum of space when in use.
Still another object of the present invention is the provision of a leg brace hinge guard that fits readily onto any of a variety of leg braces.
Finally, it is an object of the present invention to provide a leg brace hinge guard which is relatively simple and inexpensive to manufacture, easy to utilize, and rugged and durable in use.
Other objects and advantages will become apparent from a consideration of the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawing, in which:
FIGURE 1 is an enlarged perspective view of a leg brace hinge guard according to the present invention;
FIGURE 2 is a perspective view of a leg brace with hinge guards according to the present invention in use thereon; and
FIGURE 3 is an enlarged fragment showing the hinge region of a leg brace in a partially bent condition, and showing the guard of the present invention in place thereon but partially broken away for clarity of illustration.
Referring now to the drawing in greater detail, there is shown a leg brace indicated generally at 1 and comprising a pair of spaced parallel upper brace members 3 and a pair of spaced parallel lower brace members 5. Upper brace members 3 are designed to correspond generally to the position of the upper leg and lower brace members 5 generally to the position of the lower leg of the wearer. Accordingly, a strap 7 is provided at the top of the brace 1, which encircles and can be tightened against the thigh of the wearer; while a lower strap 9 embraces and can be tightened against approximately the lower leg of the wearer. An instep strap 11 interconnects the lower ends of lower brace members 5 and is articulately interconnected therewith about a horizontal pivot axis.
The upper and lower brace members 3 and 5 are interconnected for swinging movement relative to each other about a horizontal axis, about coaxial hinges 13, one on either side of the brace. Lock rings slide one on each upper brace member 3. Hinges 13 are disposed below the upper ends of lower brace members 5, so that the upper end of each lower brace member 5 projects above the associated hinge 13. Therefore, when brace members 3 and 5 are in alignment with each other, lock ring 15 can be slid down over the upper end of lower brace member 5 to hold the leg brace rigidly in extended position as seen in FIG. 2. But when lock rings 15 are slid upwardly until they clear the upper ends of lower brace members 5, then upper and lower brace members 3 and 5 are free to swing relative to each other about hinges 13. This relative swinging movement of upper and lower brace members 3 and 5 is useful not when the wearer is walking, but rather when the wearer is seated and desires to alter the position of his leg as by bending it, or when the leg brace is not being worn and it is desired to fold it for shipment or storage.
The hinges 13 and lock rings 15, or like structure, are largely unavoidable in a well made brace. It is also inevitable that such hinge structure presents protruding surfaces or portions which tend to damage the clothing of the wearer or reduce the comfort of the brace. Therefore, the present invention provides a leg brace hinge guard indicated generally at 17, and comprising an elongated sleeve 19 of flexible material, and preferably of woven relatively stiff but flexible strands that are spaced apart in the woven material of the sleeve much in the manner of wire insect screening. The strands from which sleeve 19 is woven may be for example metal wire or plastic-impregnated fiber glass or nylon or the like. The object of providing sleeve 19 of such material is to render sleeve 19 flexible to the extent that it can be applied to and removed from the hinge region, but nevertheless sulficiently resistant to deformation that it will not conform to the contours of the hinge and therefore will reduce the wear on the clothing of the user and will contribute to the users comfort.
Sleeve 19 is characterized by opposite ends 21 and by side edges 23 that extend between and interconnect end 21. Guard 17 is also characterized by a loop 25 of reinforcing material that extends entirely about the side and end edges of sleeve 19 and is secured thereto as by stitching or cementing or riveting or the like, and is of closed configuration. Loop 25 is of a reinforcing material such as leather or a flexible plastic or heavy fabric or the like.
Loop 2 5 is characterized by a pair of opposed relatively straight longitudinally extending side portions 27 that are secured to and border theseparable side edges 23 of sleeve 19. At the ends of edges 27, loop 25 is characterized by bights 29, which are closed in configuration and secured at their ends to the ends of side portions 27.
It is important to note that the material of loop 25 is of substantially greater width than its thickness, so that the material of loop 25 could be characterized as flat. The material of loop 25 is also relatively stiflly flexible. It should also be noted that bights 29 are not in line with side portions 27 but rather are disposed at opposite obtuse angles to side portions 27.
Also, it should be noted that ends 21 of sleeve 19 are gathered adjacent and are secured to bights 29, so that the peripheral extent of ends 21 and bights 29 is substantially less than the peripheral extent of sleeve 19 intermediate ends 21, that is, adjacent the mid-portion of sleeve 19.
Guard 17 is provided with fasteners 31 along side portions 27 of loop 25. Fasteners 31 are preferably of the snap fastener type with opposed halves of the fasteners on opposite side portions 27 of loop 25.
In use, therefore, when the brace is in its extended or operative position as seen in FIG. 2, guards 17 can be easily applied thereto by deforming them about the hinge regions of the brace and snapping fasteners 31 closed, with fasteners 31 on the outer side away from the wearers leg. The guards will then protect the clothing and the comfort of the wearer in use. If it is desired to articulate the brace, as in FIG. 3, then a considerable degree of bending will be tolerated by the guards thanks to their flexibility.
From a consideraton of the foregoing disclosure, therefore, it will be evident that all of the initially recited objects of the present invention have been achieved.
Although the present invention has been described and illustrated in connection with preferred embodiments. it is to be understood that modifications and variations may be resorted to without departing from the spirit of the invention, as those skilled in this art will readily understand. Such modifications and variations are considered to be within the purview and scope of the present invention as defined by the apended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. A leg brace hinge guard, comprising a sleeve of flexible material having separable longitudinally extending edges, reinforcing means bordering the sleeve, the reinforcing means comprising a closed flexible loop of reinforcing material, the loop having a pair of longitudinally extending portions bordering said separable edges, and closed bights at the ends of the edges, each bight extending at an angle to the edges of the sleeve and bordering an end of the sleeve, the bights gathering the ends of the sleeve into reduced end portions of lesser peripheral extent than the mid-portion of the sleeve, and means for releasably securing together said longitudinally extending portions of the loop.
.2. A leg brace hinge guard as claimed in claim 1, the bights being disposed at oblique angles to said edges.
3. A leg brace hinge guard as claimed in claim .1, the sleeve being Woven of stilt but flexible strands.
4. A leg brace hinge guard as claimed in claim 1, the last-named means comprising snap fasteners spaced along the length of said longitudinally extending portions of the loop.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,088,207 7/1937 Kaiser 128 -87 FOREIGN PATENTS 9,761 6/1890 Great Britain.
RICHARD A. GAUDET, Primary Examiner.
J. HINEY, Assistant Examiner.