US 3472224 A
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Oct. 14, 1969 w. J. EWERWAHN 3.472,224
METHOD OF COVERING SPLINTS FOR HUMAN LIIMBS AND COVERINGS FOR THE CARRYING OUT OF THIS METHOD Filed Dec. 12, 1966 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR @wze d [Wham/w ATTORNEY Oct. 14., 1969 w. J. EWERWAHN 3,472,224
METHOD OF COVERING SPLINTS FOR HUMAN LIMBS AND COVERINGS FOR THE CARRYING OUT OF THIS METHOD Filed Dec. 12, 1966 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR ATTORNEY United States Patent Int. Cl. A61f5/04, 5/37 US. Cl. 128-87 7 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE In the treatment of broken limbs, particularly legs, they are frequently placed on special supporting splints for immobilizing the same. These splints generally comprise an adjustable rigid frame, generally made of metal or the like, and contain two parallel spaced apart supporting members between which the broken limb rests. These supporting members are covered by an elastic sheet which extends between the parallel spaced supporting members to form a cradle on which the leg rests. This elastic sheet is provided with hook fasteners along one edge. The sheet is wrapped around the spaced supporting members and then fastened to itself, the hooks penetrating the sheet. The tension of the sheet is adjustable lengthwise of the splint to give varying degrees of support. The elastic sheet preferably has an open mesh structure which permits circulation of air to the supported limb and easy tension adjustment when applying the covering to the splint.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to the supporting of human limbs, more particularly legs, on splints of the type having longitudinal struts extending on each side of the limb for supporting and immobilizing the same and more particularly to a method of covering such supporting struts to form a mat which bears the limb to be immobilized and to coverings for carrying out such method.
Various types of leg immobilizing splints are known, including in particular ones which are adjustable in length and width. As a rule, splints of this type have up to now been covered by wrapping the longitudinal struts with the use of bandages and interposition of other textile materials serving as cushion, in order to form a matlike support. With the advance in the manufacture of bandaging the covering of such immobilizing splints has been effected predominately with the use of gauze bandage, if necessary supplemented by cushion inserts of absorbent cotton or foam, as Well as adhesive tapes or elastic bandages.
When one considers such bandage wrappings for leg splints, it is necessary at the same time to pay attention to the requirements which are made medically on the coverings.
In the region of the thigh, the gauze bandage which wraps the splint must be wrapped firmly and it must also be wrapped very firmly in the region of the knee in order to form an effective support there. In the region of the knee, the gauze-bandage wrapping is supplemented practically exclusively by absorbent cotton or recently also by a foam cushioning, in order to counteract the great danger of sores being caused by pressure on the supported limb in this region.
Due to their textile structure, gauze bandages generally become slack after a comparatively short time, for instance, after about seven days. Therefore, it is also necessary to include in the back of the knee an elastic but firm support, for instance, in the form of elastic band- 3,472,224 Patented Oct. 14, 1969 age strips, such for example as those sold under the trade name Elastoplast.
In the region of the lower leg, the gauze-bandage wrappring must be adapted to the shape of the calf, i.e. it will be first wound loosely and then more firmly towards the foot. It has, therefore, been necessary in preparing the splint to wrap each splint individually, i.e. with a different degree of firmness with each patient, depending on the shape of the leg in question. In the region of the heel in any event, the wrapping must then again be effected very firmly.
In order to take all of these requirements even somewhat into account, it has been necessary to use a large number of gauze bandages until the layers of bandage became thick enough that the leg was properly immobilized medically, in which connection the circumstance had to be taken into consideration that in the case of splinted fractures, the immobilization will and must frequently continue over a very long period of time.
Another difliculty in the previous employed method of covering of the aforementioned immobilizing splints is that care must be taken while wrapping to apply the gauze bandage in such a manner that the warp threads at the edge of the bandage are not tightened too greatly, since this might lead to constriction in the soft parts of the leg. If the multi-layer gauze-bandage is wound only once on the splint in covering the same, the splint will generally also be provided with additional cushioning which is fastened along the struts with strips of adhesive tape in order to avoid slipping of the layers of gauze bandage and additional padding or cushioning material.
The technique of wrapping splints with bandage, as previously described, is used, as a general rule, in the case of all previously known constructions of leg immobilizing splints, both for splints with straight, rigid struts and for splints the struts of which are adjustable and therefore have articulation and fastening devices which must be taken into due consideration upon the wrapping.
The proper wrapping of a splint with the different known materials necessary for this purpose makes considerable demands on the doctor and the hospital personnel. On the one hand the doctor must determine how and how firmly and how loosely the wrapping must be effected and on the other hand the nursing personnel must see to it that the directions given them are properly followed. Furthermore, in any event, the previously known splint wrapping requires a considerable amount of time. Furthermore, the splint wrapping which has been customary up to now can be used only once, whether the immobilization is effected only for a few hours or Whether it continues over weeks or months. In addition to this, the splint Wrapping, after the splint receives the weight of the leg, only remains in the form in which it was originally wound for the first few days. The bandages used up to the present time give and rewrapping, which is painful for the patient, or the inserting of larger and larger cushions is necessary.
Summary The object of the present invention is to eliminate these disadvantages, which reside in particular in the time-consuming, cumbersome manipulations upon the wrapping of immobilizing splints for human limbs, by effecting the wrapping in a basically different way, the wrapping being done with an extensible elastic sheet consisting preferably of fabric woven from threads formed of elastomer filaments, the elastic sheet being air pervious. There is prepared from such an elastic sheet material a rectangular wrap the length of which corresponds to that of the longitudinal struts of a splint and the width of which corresponds to approximately twice the distance between the longitudinal struts. This rectangular wrap is then formed into a tubular sleeve by wrapping the same around the two longitudinal struts and joining the two longitudinal edges of the wrap which are connected by adjustable connecting means.
There are a large number of possibilities for the carrying out of the new method of covering splints and for the construction and development of the covering, which at the same time forms a part of the present invention. Thus, for instance, in'accordance with a further proposal of the invention, the elastic sheet from which the covering is formed can be developed by division, with a longitudinal seam, of two sections of substantially the same width, of which sections the one section which is to be located on top of the splint When installed is formed of a fine-mesh fabric, while for the other section a coarsemesh fabric is used. In this connection, there is preferably arranged at the free edge of the fine-mesh fabric an elastic band with hooks which are spaced apart from each other and adapted to be hooked in the meshes of the coarse-mesh fabric. The hooks may, however, be hooked directly in the free edge of the fine-mesh fabric.
The section consisting of coarse-mesh fabric which is located at the bottom in installed condition can be provided with slits in the region of transverse stirrups of the splint.
In the preferred practice of the present invention there is used as the elastic fabric a material widely known in the clothing industry and particularly in the manufacture of corsets and girdles, which is available on the market under the registered trademark Lycra. This material, which is woven from continuous filament polyurethane elastomers, is particularly well suited for use in the method which forms the subject matter of the invention because it is elastic and adapts itself to the splint without any great requirements as to time or skill and permits a proper immobilizing of the limbs while on the other hand, in case of firm wrapping, it acts rigidly and no longer elastically.
In applying the splint cover or wrap of the present invention, the splint is placed on the wrap and the elastic wrap is then formed into a tube by hooking the hooks arranged on the fine-mesh part of the fabric into the coarse-meshed fabric which serves as a continuous eyelet band, In view of the elastic properties of the fabric, this tube has the possibility of being made free of wrinkles and capable of being adapted to the specific purpose of use as a result of the different elasticity in the different sections of the splint, the elasticity being adjusted by the degree to which the wrap is stretched prior to securing the same. The coarse-mesh elastic fabric can receive a hook at any desired place. In this way it is possible to obtain a very tight covering for instance at the thigh part of the splint, as well as in the region of the knee, while on the other hand by staggering the different hooks in the region of the lower leg a looser covering is obtained.
By the cutting and the size of the different pieces of elastic fabric which are combined into a single piece, it is possible to cover splints of fundamentally different construction. In all cases of use, the invention permits maximum adaptability to the injured leg. Furthermore, the elasticity or firmness of support provided by the splint covering can be easily adjusted during the treatment with respect to the different tightnesses desired in the different sections.
The proposed longitudinally elastic closure as well as the transverse elasticity of the fine-mesh supporting fabricpart of the splint-covering contribute substantially to the formation of a wrinkle-free splint covering.
Another important characteristic of the invention is the forming of the splint covering from only a single piece of elastic sheet material of different density of mesh, in contradistinction to the approximately ten gauze bandages heretofore necessary in addition to other accessories. The saving in time obtained upon the covering of a splint in accordance with the invention is also considerable, since the application of the proposed elastic sheet wrap requires only a short amount of time (1 to 2 minutes).
Another advantage of the invention resides in the possibility of being able to include any fastening screws which may be present within the covering without thereby becoming impossible to operate the screws and fastening devices. The fabric used is namely of such a nature that, despite the covering over the devices, their operation can still be properly effected.
The invention is illustrated, by way of example, in the drawings when used with a type of known leg-immobilizing splint (German Patent 1,124,633).
Brief description of the drawing In the drawing:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of an immobilizing splint in its basic construction without structural details as to fastening and adjusting devices;
FIGURE 2 is a front elevation of the splint with the covering applied;
FIGURE 3 shows a fabric wrap of the invention spread out;
FIGURE 4 shows an example of the covering, in accordance with the invention, of a Braun splint.
FIGURES 5 and 6 illustrate the application of the wrap of FIGURE 3 to the splint of FIGURE 1; and
FIGURE 7 illustrates a covered splint of FIGURE 1 in use with a leg supported thereon.
Description of the preferred embodiment Referring to the drawings the splint consists of longitudinal struts 1 which are provided with articulations 3 the struts 1 being connected with each other by transverse stirrups 2. The fabric wrap 11 in accordance with the invention is placed over and wraps around the longitudinal struts forming a support between the struts on which the limb is placed.
The fabric wrap 11 consists of a fine-mesh part 4 which lies on top in installed condition and of a coarse-mesh part 5. The two fabric parts are connected with each other by a seam 6 and, as far as necessary, provided with marginal seams. They are adapted in width to the distance between the longitudinal struts. The length of the fabric strip corresponds to the length of the longitudinal struts. For reinforcement, for instance in the region of the knee of the patient, a suitably dimensioned strip 7 of the same fabric as the fabric part 4 can be sewed onto said part 4.
The free edge of the fine-mesh fabric part 4 is provided with an elastic band 8 having a large number of hooks 9 or a border which bears the said hooks is attached to said edge.
When the fabric strip is placed on the splint, the hooks 9 are hooked into the meshes of the coarse-mesh part 5, as illustrated in FIGURE 6. Since the hooks 9 can be hooked in all meshes and are not restricted to hooking only in the edge meshes, it is readily possible to adjust the supporting action of the covering as a whole, and in particular in its various sections, to the shape of the leg and, if desired, change it.
When the splint, as shown in FIGURES 1 and 2, has transverse stirrups 2, the coarse-mesh fabric part 5 Which lies at the bottom in installed condition is provided at suitable places with slits 10 which extend to the seam 6 between the two fabric parts 4 and 5. No special measures need be taken on the covering to provide for any adjusting or fastening devices which may be present, since the fabric, due to its elasticity, permits the operating of said devices even when they are covered.
Having thus described my invention, I claim:
1. In the covering of immobilizing splints for human limbs where the splints consist of frames with spaced longitudinal struts as well as transverse stirrups connecting the struts, the method comprising wrapping around the spaced longitudinal struts a rectangular air-pervious elastic sheet having a length approximately that of the longitudinal struts, a width approximately twice the distance between the longitudinal struts and a plurality of spaced independent fasteners along one longitudinal edge thereof, stretching said air-pervious elastic sheet until the edge of said sheet containing said spaced fasteners overlaps the opposing edge of said sheet to provide the support tension desired in any particular portion of said covering and individually fastening said fasteners to the overlapped portion of said air-pervious elastic sheet to maintain said sheet in said stretched position to form a tubular covering surrounding the two longitudinal struts said tubular covering having area of varying degrees of support determined by the extent to which said air-pervious elastic sheet was stretched in said areas.
2. The method of claim 1 in which said elastic sheet is a woven fabric, the yarn of said fabric being formed of a polymer elastomer.
3. The method according to claim 2, wherein the airpervious elastic fabric sheet used has an open mesh and is subdivided widthwise by a longitudinal seam with approximately one half being formed of a fine-mesh fabric having an elastic band secured along the edge thereof with hooks spaced apart from each othersecured to said elastic band and the other half being formed of a coarsemesh fabric the fine-mesh fabric half of said air-pervious elastic sheet being placed on the top of said immobilizing splint with the coarse-mesh fabric half of said air-pervious elastic sheet being placed on the underside of said splint the air-pervious elastic sheet being held in stretched position by securing said hooks into the mesh of the coarsemesh fabric part.
4. A splint wrap comprising air-pervious perforate rectangular elastic sheet having a first half extending lengthwise of said sheet and a second half extending lengthwise of said sheet said second half being formed of an openmesh fabric formed of elastomeric yarn and said first half of said sheet having individual spaced fasteners secured along the free longitudinal edge of said first half said fasteners having projecting portions of diameter smaller than the open mesh in said second half of said air-pervious elastic sheet and adapted to enter the mesh of said second half for securing the free longitudinal edge of said first half to the second half of said sheet for forming a tubular wrap of varying tension around spaced longitudinal struts of a splint.
5. A splint wrap of claim 4 in which both the first half and the second half of said elastic sheet are of a woven fabric formed of elastomeric yarn the mesh in said first half of said sheet being substantially finer than the mesh in the second half of said sheet and said fastening means being in the form of hooks adapted to enter the mesh of said sheet in forming said sheet into a tubular wrap.
6. A splint wrap of claim 5 in which the second half of said sheet has spaced slits for extending said second half around supporting splint stirrups when applying said wrap to a splint and in which said first half has a knee supporting area extending crosswise thereof formed of several plies of said finer mesh woven fabric.
7. A splint Wrap of claim 6 in which the elastomeric yarn is formed of a polyurethane elastomer.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,609,248 11/1926 Harkins 128579 XR 2,280,025 4/1952 Bollinger 128l65 2,319,609 5/1943 La Crosse l28-84 2,630,288 3/1953 Eubanks 12894 XR 3,115,879 12/1963 Kaplan 128165 XR OTHER REFERENCES DePuy Velcro Fastening Elastic Rib Belt, DePuy Fracture Appliances Catalog, DePuy Mfg. Co., Inc., Warsaw, Ind., 1964, p. 86.
RICHARD A. GAUDET, Primary Examiner R. L. FRINKS, Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R.