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Publication numberUS3517678 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 30, 1970
Filing dateDec 31, 1968
Priority dateDec 31, 1968
Publication numberUS 3517678 A, US 3517678A, US-A-3517678, US3517678 A, US3517678A
InventorsRobert B Gilsdorf
Original AssigneeRobert B Gilsdorf
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Hand grip for crutch
US 3517678 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

June 30, 1970 B- GILSDORF 3,517,678

HAND GRIP FOR CRUTGH Filed Dec. 51, 1968 2 Shets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR. w ROBERT B. GIL 500m- FIGZB ORNE' Y June 30, 1970 R. B. GILSDORF 3,517,578

HAND GRIP FOR CRUTCH Filed Dec. 51, 1968 2 sheets-sheet 2 I N VENTOR.

B08597: B. G/Lsoom' ATTORNEY Y United States Patent 3,517,678 HAND GRIP FOR CRUTCH Robert B. Gilsdorf, 4020 Bryant Ave. S., Minneapolis, Minn. 55407 Filed Dec. 31, 1968, Ser. No. 788,147 Int. Cl. A61h 3/02 US. Cl. 135-51 7 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A crutch comprising a ground-engaging support memher, at least one vertical support strut extending from said ground-engaging support member, a body support member disposed in an anterior and posterior direction so as to receive a crutch users axilla and positioned on the upper end of said vertical support strut, and a shaped hand grip attached to said vertical support strut, said hand grip having (a) A generally horizontally disposed upper surface shaped to accommodate substantially the entire palmar surface of the users hand including the metacarpal-phalangeal pad, the mid-palm area, the thenar pad and the hypo-thenar pad thereof,

(b) A maximum horizontal dimension at least twice that of its maximum vertical dimension,

(0) An overall size sufiicient to prevent the users ulnar fingers from wrapping completely around said grip, thereby facilitating dorsi-flexion of the hand at the Wrist and distributing the bodys weight evenly over the palmar surface during use, and

(d) One side converging anteriorly so as to form an angle of between about and about 45 with the plane defined by the said body support member and the said vertical support strut, said side having a length sufficient to accommodate the users four ulnar fingers.

The present invention relates to improvements in crutches; more particularly it relates to crutches which include improved hand grips which are shaped and situated so as to provide maximum comfort to the user.

Heretofore, the use of conventional crutches has been the source of considerable discomfort and even pain to the user. This discomfort is often the result of a number of unnatural stresses and strains on the bones and muscles of the hand and forearm during the often prolonged periods during which crutches must be employed for support as Well as a localized concentration of the bodys weight on the heel of the hand. For example, the hand grips on conventional crutches generally extend in a fore and aft direction between the vertical support struts of the crutch, that is, they are situated parallel to the sagittal plane of the users body when in use. This results in a forced, unnatural positioning of the hand parallel to said plane while the natural and more comfortable position for the hand is that in which the transmetacarpal axis thereof forms an angle (generally about 2045) with the bodys sagittal plane. This angular disposition is the more natural position for the hand since the hand is normally anatomically so disposed when.

hanging at the side in its relaxed, dependent position. Thus, the unnatural disposition of the hand parallel to, or in many cases even outward from, the sagittal plane, under the force of the bodys weight, is source of discomfort usually in the form of fatigue and cramping of the hand muscles as well as those of the forearm.

Furthermore, the hand grips of conventional crutches are usually dowel-shaped, or at least do not provide a generally flat surface to receive the palm of the hand and, as such, are not adapted to distribute the bodys weight over a large area of the palm but rather concen- 3,517,678 Patented June 30, 1970 trate the weight in the area of the heel of the palm (i.e., the thenar and hypo-thenar pads). This lack of a generally flat surface, in addition to causing a concentration of weight on the heel of the palm, further causes the wrist to be held in a generally straight and unfiexed position in which the fingers wrap completely around the underside of the grip and envelop it thus preventing or impeding dorsi-flexion of the hand at the Wrist. Such preclusion of dorsi-flexion further adds to the localized concentration of the Weight on the heel of the palm to the exclusion of the mid-area of the palm and the metacarpalphalaugeal pad. Often, too, conventional hand grips are shaped and situated such that the dorsal aspect of the metacarpal-phalangeal joint of the thumb and the ulnar side of the wrist are forced against the anterior and posterior vertical support struts of the crutch, respectively, when the grips are grasped firmly under the weight of the body, thus causing pain to, and abrasion of, said areas of the thumb and wrist.

It is, therefore, an object of this invention to provide an improved crutch which includes a hand grip shaped and mounted in said crutch so as to minimize cramping and fatigue of the bones and muscles of the hand and forearm of the user during use. A further object of the invention is to provide a hand grip for use in a crutch which allows the users hand to grasp the grip at an angle with the bodys sagittal plane which closely approximates the angle formed by the transmetacarpal axis of the hand with the sagittal plane when the hand is hanging at the side disposed in its normal, relaxed, dependent position; Another object is to provide a hand grip for use in a crutch whose surface is large enough to allow for even distribution of the bodys weight over substantially the entire palmar area and to prevent abrading contact of the thumb and the ulnar side of the wrist with the vertical support struts of the crutch. Other objects and advantages will be evident from the discussion which follows.

By means of the present invention there is provided a crutch comprising a ground-engaging support member, at least one vertical support strut extending from the groundengaging support member, a body support member disposed in an anterior-posterior direction so as toreceive a crutch users axilla and positioned horizontally on the upper end of the vertical support strut, and a shaped hand grip attached to the vertical support strut. The novel hand grip has a generally flat uppensurface shaped to accommodate substantially the entire palmar surface of the users hand including the metacarpal-phalangeal pad, the mid-palm area, the thenar pad and the hypo-thenar pad thereof. The grips maximum horizontal dimension is at least twice that of its maximum vertical dimension thus providing an overall size sufiicient to prevent the users ulnar fingers from wrapping completely around the grip. This adequate size and flat shape facilities dorsifiexion of the hand at the wrist during use and tends to distribute the bodys weight evenly over the palmar surface during use. One side of the grip (the side farthest to the outside of the users body) converges anteriorly to form an angle of between 20 and 45 with the plane defined by the body support member (to engage the axilla) and the vertical strut; this side has a length sufficient to accommodate the users four ulnar fingers.

In many cases, other than the hand grips, the crutch comprises a ground-engaging support shaft which bifurcates into two vertically extending support struts having a body support member to engage the bodys axilla extending transversely of the support struts at their upper ends. It is to be understood, however, that the present invention is not limited to a crutch having two vertical support struts and that the improved hand grip thereof may be effectively employed in other body supporting 3 orthopedic devices, e.g., a crutch having only one vertical support strut.

A particular feature of this invention is the provision of a hand grip which is shaped and situated so as to allow the transmetacarpal axis of the users hand to form an angle with the sagittal plane which closely approximates the angle formed with said sagittal plane by the transmetacarpal axis of the hand when hanging at the side disposed in its normal relaxed dependent position. Another feature is that the grip is generally fiat and has a large enough horizontal area to distribute the weight of the users body over substantially the entire palmar surface so as to include the mid-palm area and the metacarpal-phalangeal pad as well as the thenar and hypothenar pads. Still another feature of the invention is that the grip has sufficient horizontal surface area to prevent the fingers from wrapping completely around the underside of the grip so as to envelop it. Thus, dorsi-fiexion of the hand at the wrist is facilitated which further contributes to maximum palmar contact with the horizontal surface area of the grip which in turn contributes to an even distribution of weight thereon. Additionally, it is a feature of the invention that the grip is of such a shape and size so as to prevent abrading contact of the dorsal aspect of the metacarpal-phalangeal joint of the thumb and the ulnar side of the wrist with the vertical support struts of the crutch when the grips are grasped firmly under the weight of the body.

It is a still further feature of the invention that the grip can be simply made from inexpensive materials and employed by the public with otherwise conventional crutches.

Further features and objects of this invention will become evident in the following detailed description.

The invention may 'be more clearly illustrated by the accompanying non-limiting drawings which show one embodiment of the invention and modifications thereof.

FIG. 1 is an elevational view in section of one embodiment of the hand grip of the invention;

FIG. 2 is an elevational view in section of a modified embodiment of the hand grip of FIG. 1 wherein the edges are rounded and the surfaces are contoured so as to more comfortably fit the palm of the users hand;

FIG. 3 is a view in perspective of the hand grip illustrated in FIG. 2 mounted between the vertical support struts of a crutch, parts thereof being broken away;

FIG. 4 is a top view of a person using hand grips of the invention with some parts thereof shown in section and some parts shown in phantom;

FIG. 5 is a view as shown from the line 55 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is a view as shown from the line 6-6 of FIG. 2 of a hand grip of the invention in use showing dorsiflexion of the users hand, the users hand being shown in phantom;

FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken through the line 7-7 of FIG. 2 of a hand grip of the invention in use showing dorsi-flexion of the users hand, the users hand being shown in phantom.

Referring now in more detail to the drawings, the hand grip of FIGS. 1 through 7 is a left hand grip and is identified generally by the reference numeral 11. FIG. 1 illustrates the hand grip of the invention in one of its simplest embodiments wherein the grip comprises a block of structural material such as wood, plastic or hard rubber generally in the shape of a truncated triangle whose maximum horizontal dimension is at least twice that of its maximum vertical dimension. The truncated edge of the block serves as the anterior point of attachment 12 to the anterior vertical support strut 14 of the crutch. The posterior point of attachment 17 is located on the aft edge of the block and is preferably recessed to form a notch the size of the posterior vertical support strut 18 so that the twisting force of the weight of the body is exerted on the said strut rather than on the means for securing the block in place (normally a bolt 20 passing through a hole 21 in the block and nut 22). The two points of attachment 12 and 17 lie along the anterior-posterior axis 28 of the block. The blocks upper and lower surfaces are generally flat and lie along its horizontal plane and are situated generally perpendicular to the said struts when attached thereto. Portions 24 and 26 of the horizontal plane extend both laterally and medially respectively from the axis 28 between the two struts providing a large enough upper surface area to accommodate substantially the entire palmar surface of the hand including the metacarpal phalangeal pad and the mid-area of the palm, as well as the thenar and hypo-thenar pads. (By the word laterally is meant extending outward of the axis 28 while the word medially means extending inward of the axis 28 or toward the users body.) Thus, according to the parts of the palm it accommodates, the upper surface of the grip may be said to include a metacarpal-phalangeal area A, a mid-palm area B, a thenar area C, and a hypo-thenar area D as shown in the drawings.

The generally flat, horizontal surfaces of the grip are large enough so that the fingers do not wrap completely around the under surface so as to envelop the grip and so that the hand is dorsi-flexed during use, thus, further facilitating weight bearing contact of its upper surface with substantially the entire palmar area as is demonstrated in FIGS. 6 and 7.

Other than the truncated edge, which serves as the anterior point of attachment 12 to the vertical support strut 14, the grip has three major sides or edges. The outward facing side (or edge) 30 (i.e., the edge being most laterally removed from the sagittal plane of the users body when in use) gradually converges anteriorly to the anterior point of attachment 12 so as to form an angle 0 during use with the anterior-posterior axis 28 closely approximating the natural angle formed by the transmetacarpal axis 32 of the hand with the sagittal plane 34 when the hand is disposed in its relaxed dependent position. This angle 0 is normally approximately 20-45 as is shown in FIGS. 1 and 4. Element 36 represents the body support member for the axilla and is included in FIG. 4 to further illustrate the angle 0 between the outward facing edge 30 and the said body support means 36 which is generally in a parallel relationship with the sagittal plane 34. The inward facing side (or edge) 38 (i.e., the edge closest to the user) preferably is provided with a concavity 40 just aft of the anterior point of attachment 12, thus forming a notch to receive the users thumb. The aft or backward facing edge 42 has located thereon the posterior point of attachment 17 for the posterior vertical support strut 18.

Preferably the grip is contoured so as to fit comfortably in the users palm and fingers and its surfaces and edges are rounded and smoothed. Also the horizontal surfaces are preferably slanted downward laterally at a gradual angle (preferably about 5 to about 15) as demonstrated in FIG. 5 and the lower surface is provided with an eminence 46 to receive the volar pads of the middle and distal phalangeal portions of the four ulnar fingers in a comfortable position, while the rounded surface of the outer edge 30 serves as an abutment for the volar pads of the proximal phalangeal portions of the said fingers. The said downward slant of the lateral surfaces facilitates a comfortable angle of dorsi-fiexion of the hand at the wrist as illustrated by FIG. 7.

The grip may be removably secured to the vertical support struts and normally a bolt 20 and wing nut 22 are used to fit through holes 44 drilled into the struts to secure the hand grip therebetween. It will be understood that holes may be provided in the struts at varying levels to receive the bolt at varying levels so as to alter the effective lengths between the hand grip and the body support means 36 engaging the bodys axilla so that individuals can obtain the proper adjustment for their arm lengths. Further, in order to prevent slippage of the palm due to perspiration while using the grip, the surfaces thereof may be abraded, or otherwise coated, covered or modified so as to provide a slip-resistant surface thereon. Also the grip may be constructed of a light-weight material or it may be hollow so as to reduce its weight and rubber or the like coatings may be incorporated on the surfaces to provide additional comfort to the user. It is also to be understood that, while the hand grip described herein is of a size to accommodate a normal adult hand, the grip may be made with smaller or larger dimensions for use by, for example, children or persons with other than normal sized hands. Various other changes and modifications may be made within the scope of this invention as will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art. Such changes and modifications are within the scope and teaching of this invention as defined by the following claims.

What is claimed is:

1. A crutch comprising a ground-engaging support member, at least one vertical support strut extending from said ground-engaging support member, a body support member disposed in an anterior and posterior direction so as to receive a crutch users axilla and positioned on the upper end of said vertical support strut, and a shaped hand grip attached to said vertical support strut, said hand grip having (a) a generally horizontally disposed upper surface shaped to accommodate substantially the entire palmar surface of the users hand including the metacarpal-phalangal pad, the mid-palm area, the thenar pad and the hypothenar pad thereof,

(b) an overall size suflicient toprevent the users four ulnar fingers from wrapping completely around said grip, thereby facilitating dorsi-flexion of the hand at the wrist and distributing the bodys weight evenly over the palmar surface during use, and

(c) one side converging anteriorly so as to form an angle of between about 20 and about 45 with the plane defined by the said body support member and the said vertical support strut, said side having a. length sufiicient to accommodate the users four ulnar fingers.

2. The crutch of claim 1 wherein the hand grip is contoured so as to complement the natural contours of the users hand.

3. The crutch of claim 1 wherein the hand grip is provided with a concavity at its anterior end to receive the users thumb.

4. The crutch of claim 1 wherein the upper and lower surfaces of the hand grip are slanted downward laterally with respect to the said vertical support strut at a gradual angle and the lower surface is provided with an eminence.

5. A crutch comprising a ground-engaging support member which bifurcates into an anterior vertical support strut and a posterior vertical support strut, a body support member disposed to receive a crutch users axilla extending horizontally and transversely of the support struts at their upper ends, and a shaped hand grip secured between said struts, said hand grip having:

(a) a generally horizontally disposed upper surface shaped to accommodate substantially the entire palmar surface of the users hand including the metacarpal-phalangal pad, the mid-palm area, the thenar pad and the hypo-thenar pad thereof,

(b) a maximum horizontal dimension at least twice that of its maximum vertical dimension,

(0) an overall size sufiicient to prevent the users four ulnar fingers from wrapping completely around said grip, thereby facilitating dorsi-flexion of the hand at the wrist and distributing the bodys weight evenly over the palmar surface during use, and

(d) one side converging anteriorly so as to form an angle of between about 20 and 45 with the plane defined by the said body support member and the said vertical support strut, said side having a length sufficient to accommodate the users four ulnar fingers.

6. The crutch of claim 5 wherein the hand grip is contoured so as to complement the natural contours of the users hand, and is provided with a concavity at its forward end to receive the users thumb, and the upper and lower surfaces of the grip are slanted downward laterally with respect to said vertical support struts at a gradual angle.

7. The crutch of claim 5, wherein said hand grip has the general overall shape of a truncated triangle when viewed from above having three major sides, a first major side facing medially with respect to the plane defined by said vertical support struts and the said body support member, a second major side facing laterally with respect to said plane, and a third major side facing backward and a smaller truncated side facing forward, the second major side converging anteriorly so as to form an angle of between about 20 and about 45 with the plane defined by the said vertical support struts and the body support member, said second major side having a length suflicient to accommodate the users four ulnar fingers, said first major side having a concavity at its anterior end to receive the users thumb, the surfaces and edges of said hand grip being contoured so as to complement the natural contours of the users hand.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,390,544 12/ 1945 Lamb 16126 3,122,774 3/1964 Lamb 161 10 3,174,494 3/1965 Maguire -51 X 3,269,399 8/1966 Smith 135-51 FOREIGN PATENTS 1,101,212 4/1955 France.

1,112,170 11/1955 France.

J. KARL BELL, Primary Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R. 16-110

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2390544 *Jan 1, 1944Dec 11, 1945Thomas LambHandle
US3122774 *Aug 8, 1961Mar 3, 1964Lamb ThomasHandles
US3174494 *Jun 5, 1961Mar 23, 1965Maguire Jr Roderick HArm contoured crutch
US3269399 *Aug 3, 1964Aug 30, 1966Alfred A SmithCombined handle and hand grip for crutches
FR1101212A * Title not available
FR1112170A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4572227 *Oct 1, 1984Feb 25, 1986W. K. Wheeler, Inc.Handgrip for a crutch
US4862165 *Feb 12, 1988Aug 29, 1989Samuel GartErgonomically-shaped hand controller
US5331989 *Jul 30, 1992Jul 26, 1994Stephens Thomas PWalking aid
US5339850 *Jan 14, 1992Aug 23, 1994Guardian Products, Inc.Orthopedic hand grip for ambulation aids, tools and other implements
US5606985 *Jun 7, 1995Mar 4, 1997Tubular Fabricators Industry, Inc.Crutch with adjustable inclined hand grip
US5711334 *Dec 18, 1996Jan 27, 1998Roux; ChristianAmbulatory aid
US6537117 *Feb 21, 2001Mar 25, 2003Brad J. LarsonErgonomic paddle grip
US6724366Apr 3, 2001Apr 20, 2004Peter James CrawfordThumb actuated x-y input device
US7104271Oct 10, 2003Sep 12, 2006Millennial Medical Equipment, L.L.C.Ergonomic collapsible crutch
US7434592Oct 7, 2004Oct 14, 2008Millennial Medical Equipment, L.L.C.Ergonomic collapsible crutch
US7487788 *Feb 13, 2007Feb 10, 2009Baker William HHandle assembly for an adjustable multi-purpose crutch
US7591275Feb 13, 2007Sep 22, 2009Baker William HHandle body for an adjustable multi-purpose crutch
US8082936 *Sep 29, 2010Dec 27, 2011Kineticane, LlcWalking cane
US8393342Sep 29, 2010Mar 12, 2013Kineticane, LlcWalking cane
US8707975Dec 8, 2011Apr 29, 2014Millennial Medical Equipment, LlcCrutch
US8800579 *Apr 6, 2012Aug 12, 2014Propel MobilityHandgrip for a crutch
US9320671Nov 2, 2012Apr 26, 2016Lightbulb, LlcErgonomic crutch grips
US20050076940 *Oct 10, 2003Apr 14, 2005Brad LarsonErgonomic collapsible crutch
US20050076941 *Oct 7, 2004Apr 14, 2005Brad LarsonErgonomic collapsible crutch
US20070062006 *Sep 20, 2005Mar 22, 2007Wright William K JrErgonomic handle and handle sizing method
US20080035191 *Feb 13, 2007Feb 14, 2008Baker William HHandle assembly for an adjustable multi-purpose crutch
US20080035192 *Feb 13, 2007Feb 14, 2008Baker William HHandle body for an adjustable multi-purpose crutch
US20080053503 *Sep 13, 2007Mar 6, 2008Millennial Medical Equipment, LlcErgonomic forearm crutch
US20080173340 *Mar 24, 2006Jul 24, 2008Johnnie RobbinsHand grip for crutches, walkers, canes and other ambulatory devices
US20090004316 *Jun 29, 2007Jan 1, 2009Aniello CostagliolaIce Cream Holder
US20090266392 *Oct 29, 2009Campbell David MCrutch cushion, crutch system and kit
US20100024857 *Feb 4, 2010Millennial Medical Equipment, LlcCrutch
US20110073144 *Mar 31, 2011Kineticane, LlcWalking cane
US20110073145 *Sep 29, 2010Mar 31, 2011Kineticane, LlcWalking cane
USRE40324 *Apr 20, 2006May 20, 2008Dhol New Ventures, LlcThumb actuated X-Y input device
WO2013067336A1 *Nov 2, 2012May 10, 2013Lightbulb, LlcErgonomic crutch grips
Classifications
U.S. Classification135/72, 16/430, 16/DIG.120
International ClassificationA61H3/02
Cooperative ClassificationY10S16/12, A61H3/02
European ClassificationA61H3/02
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 24, 1983AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Owner name: ROBERT B. GILSDORF
Owner name: WHEELER, WILLIAM K. 48 HORACE GREELEY ROAD, AMHERS
Effective date: 19830114
Mar 24, 1983ASAssignment
Owner name: WHEELER, WILLIAM K. 48 HORACE GREELEY ROAD, AMHERS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:ROBERT B. GILSDORF;REEL/FRAME:004105/0345
Effective date: 19830114