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Publication numberUS3526221 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 1, 1970
Filing dateDec 13, 1968
Priority dateDec 13, 1968
Publication numberUS 3526221 A, US 3526221A, US-A-3526221, US3526221 A, US3526221A
InventorsRichard D Garber
Original AssigneeRichard D Garber
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Hip joint protective appliance
US 3526221 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [72] Inventor Richard D. Garber Osseo, Wisconsin 54758 [21] Appl. No. 783,580 [22] Filed Dec. 13, 1968 [45] Patented Sept. 1, I970 [54] HIP JOINT PROTECTIVE APPLIANCE 6 Claims, 3 Drawing Figs.

[52] 11.8. CI 128/95, 128/99, 128/132, 128/522 [51] Int. Cl A6lf5/28 [50] Field of Search 128/522, 132,155,156, 157, 82, 94, 96, 99; 2/95, 44, 45

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,240,308 4/1941 Mahe 128/96 2,539,290 l/l951 Wellbom 128/99 2,889,830 6/1959 Raymond 3,171,409 3/1965 Cetrone 128/99 Primary Examiner-Adele M. Eager Attorney-Anthony A. OBrien posterior elastic band which assumes a position under the curvature of the buttocks, each pad including a pocket having its major end open to receive a removable insert composed of a concavo-convex vinyl plate having a resilient inner facing.

Patented Sept. 1, 1970 ATTORNEYS HIP JOINT PROTECTIVE APPLIANCE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention generally appertains to novel improvements in prophylactic devices designed for the prevention of injury to the appendicular skeleton of the human body and more particularly relates to a new and novel prophylactic appliance adapted to be worn as a protective device for the prevention of hip joint fractures and dislocations.

The hip joint is constituted in the appendicular skeleton by the head or upper extremity of the femur, or thigh bone, fitting closely into the cup-shaped cavity in the hip bone known as the acetabulum. Adjoining the head and connecting it with the shaft of the femur is an obliquely placed neck. The weight of the body is transmitted to the shaft in a slanting buttress-like fashion while the angular arrangement retains the upper end of the shaft sufficiently clear of the hip bone to permit of a wide range of movement. Where the cylindrical shaft joins the neck the shaft is expanded into two prominences known as the great trochanter and the lesser trochanter. The trochanters afford attachment to important muscles with the prominences on the bone increasing the leverage of the muscles. The hip or haunch bone of the pelvic girdle consists of three parts, continuous in adults but held together by cartilage in children, namely, the ilium, the ischium and the pubis. On the outer side of each is the articular cup, known as the acetabulum, which receives the head of the femur and whereby the lower limb is joined to the body. The trochanters are built up of comparatively thin shell of compact bone continuous with that of the shaft.

When the head of the femur is forced out of the acetabulum, it travels in one of four directions; in obturator dislocation, forward and downward; in pubic dislocation, forward and upward; in dorsal dislocation, backward; and in sciatic dislocation, backward and upward. Such dislocations result most frequently from direct violence applied to the joint itself or applied at a distance and displacing the joint by acting on the limb as a lever. In the instances, especially of dislocations forward or to one of the other side, such almost always occur with fracture. Any dislocation of the hip joint is a serious injury and any delay in relieving it can result in serious consequencesv The hip joint may be fractured in many ways but most commonly it is fractured, especially in elderly people, as a result of a fall. In most fractures, the neck of the bone is broken either outside or inside the joint.

In order to rectify the hip fractures, it is necessary to resort to surgical procedures. Such surgery is usually accomplished, even in the elderly, without mortality. However, many elderly patients will die in the post operative period from such complications as thrombophlebitis, pneumonia, anorexia and loss of the will to live. Pulmonary embolism is not an infrequent complication and does often lead to death. The patients are confined to long bed ridden periods of recuperation and are plagued with constipation problems related to bed rest. Urinary retention frequently leads to indwelling catheters and this not uncommonly leads to urinary infection. Other complications include decubitus ulcers, where the patient tends to remain in one prone position for prolonged periodsof time, as well as the development of stiffjoints through inactivity. Such inactivity also produces thinning of the bones (osteoporosis) which is already a problem in many of the elderly patients who are victims of hip fractures.

This brief resume of the complications resulting from surgical correction of hip injuries, especially in the old, can but convince those in the art of the need for some type of secure, but comfortable prophylactic device that can be worn by elderly people so as to prevent such hip injuries from occurring. Not only will such prevention overcome the high mortality rate attendant with hip surgery in the elderly but also it will avoid the morbidity associated with these injuries and the permanent, uncorrectable damage done to the limbs either as a result of the injury or the operative procedure.

While the problem of hip injuries, as a result of falls, is one that is most prevalent in the elderly, it does occur in the young, particularly in the instance of neophyte ice or roller skaters. Therefore, the optimum aim is the provision of an adjustable hip joint protector that can be worn with assurance, ease and comfort by people of all ages and which will not be cumbersome or bulky so as to lead people to dread wearing an unnatural feeling brace or harness type contraption.

The protection of vulnerable hip areas by the use of pads that are disposed protectively over the hip joint in contact with the hip prominences and of a size and formation to accommodate the great trochanters has been recognized in the prior art. Probably the best illustration of the known types of hip protectors is to be found in US. Pat No. 2,889,830, issued June 9, 1959, to Raymond. Such patented structure does embody the provision of cushioned pads that have surfaces adapted to contact the hip prominences and accommodate the great trochanters so that the pads will absorb the shock of a blow against the side of the hip joint. However, the overall structure, incorporating hold-down thigh encircling straps on the lower ends of the pads and complicated attachments of the upper ends of the pads to a waist encircling belt, is so complicated and so cumbersome that while it is effective, if worn, more than likely it will not be used because of the necessarily high purchase price associated with the complicated construction and the unnatural body anchoring elements associated with the pads. Further, such patented structure fails to offer the necessary attractiveness to a potential user so that the user wears the same in the same natural way that the user would wear an article of under apparel.

The latter point is probably the most important consideration that must go into the designing of a protective article-of this nature. While many people will succumb to the wearing of a cumbersome and bothersome protective device when they venture forth out of doors, just as a woman will wear a corset or girdle when she dresses up to make an outside the house appearance, such people, especially the elderly who require the hip pad protection the most, will avoid wearing such a protective article around the home or the immediate environments of the home. And yet it is in andaround the house where the' greatest number of hip fractures and dislocations occur. Consequently, a hip protector, in order to serve its purpose at all times, must be of such a nature that it is put on and worn by a person in the same natural and habitual manner as a pair of underpants. It must be simple, fit naturally so as not to prey on the subconscious of the wearer and must remain in place during all physical movements, such as walking, bending, sitting etc., of the wearer with the hip protective pads always remaining in a stable position of the hip area and being held in direct and immediate contact with hip prominences.

SUMMARY lt is an object of the present invention to provide an extremely simple but most effective hip joint protector that is designed so that it is extremely comfortable in use whereby a' user will quite naturally develop a habit of putting it on and wearing it in the same natural mode of dressing as putting on an article of under apparel.

In line with the foregoing objective, it is a further object of the present invention to provide a waist encircling body attachment means that is adjustable, secure for supporting the upper major ends of hip pads at the proper overlying position in relation to the hip areas, and properly arranged so as not to interfere with normal physical movements.

Another important object of the present invention is to avoid any thigh encircling or engaging attachments for anchoring the lower ends of the hip pads and retaining the lower ends in proper contact with the hip areas and, in this respect, to provide an inferior-posterior elastic band joined to the lower ends of the pads and adapted to-assume a position under the curvature of the buttocks of the wearer. Such band will assure proper positioning of the pads and will give the wearer the feeling of added'security while not giving such wearer a subconscious feeling of being harnessed-up. The inferior-posterior band holds the pads close to the hip bones or great trochanter areas and prevents the pads from flailing outward during a fall by the user and also prevents the pads from riding or creeping up on the wearer.

Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is an elevational view of the hip protective appliance of the present invention showing the same in an expanded or open position;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view on an enlarged scale of the protective appliance; and

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the protective appliance on a smaller scale showing the same as applied to a human figure and illustrating how the hip protective appliance looks when it is worn by a person.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now more particularly to the drawing with the aid of reference numerals that refer to the same integer throughout, the hip joint or hip area protective appliance or device of the present invention is generally designated by the reference numeral 10. Such appliance is composed ofa pair of identical pads 12 and 14 which are adapted to be disposed over and in protective immediate contact with the left and right hip joints of a user, as illustrated on the human body 16 in FIG. 3. Each of the pads is of substantially triangular configuration presenting an elevational configuration, as shown in FIG. I, ofa major upper end portion 18 and a lower minor end portion 20. The upper end portion has a substantially straight edge 18a while the lower minor end portion 20 has a rounded edge 20a. The side edges of the pads between the upper and lower edges are curved outwardly. Such design is in keeping with the anatomical appearance of the hip joint area and the hip prominences thereof, as aforedescribed and as shown generally in FIG. 3. Thus, the pads, as can be seen from a consideration of FIG. 3, are designed to hug and overlyingly contact the hip joint with the upper end portions thereof encompassing the ilium and the lower end portions extending down to and overlying the acetabulum and protectively overlying the lesser trochanter while the pads overlie the great trochanter and are made of a concavo-convex cross-sectional form to have an inner concave face 22 in receptive conformance to the configurations of the hip area and to the hip prominences with the trochanters being accommodated in the inner surfaces or faces 22 of the pads.

Each of the pads 12 and 14 is composed of a pocket or envelope 24 formed from a suitable plastic material with the upper straight major edge of the pocket being open, as at 26, so as to receive a removable insert 28 formed from a suitable resilient cushion 30 of rubber, either natural or synthetic. The resilient cushion 30 forms the front face or liner of a formfitted concavo-convex semi-hard plastic plate 32 to which it may be bonded. The insert 28 is thus concavo-convex and has a relatively hard outer surface of vinyl or the like plastic and a resilient inner surface with the insert giving the desired hip hugging concavo-convex formation to the pads 12 and 14.

The pads 12 and 14 are held in proper placement over the hip areas in contact with the hip prominences by an adjustable frontal belt buckle type connection or rig 34 which includes a strap 36, formed from leather or suitable fabric or plastic, and having one end attached, as by stitching, to the free end of an elastic strap 38 which is sewn or otherwise attached to the front edge of the upper end portion 18 of the pocket 26 of the pad 12. The free end portion of the strap 36 is formed with a series of longitudinally spaced and aligned openings 36a so as to receive the tongue 40 of a conventional buckle 42. The buckle edge 44 is carried by the closed looped end of a strap 48 which has its other end secured directly to the frontal edge of the upper end portion of the pocket for other pad 14. The strap 48 may be formed from leather or from any suitable elastic material.

A posterior elastic strap 50 is provided to transversely overlie the back of the wearer and cooperates with the frontal strap rig or connection 34 in constituting a waist encircling, adjustable attachment means for the pads 12 and 14 in mounting and supporting the pads. The posterior strap 50 has its opposing ends attached, as by stitching, to the rear edges of the upper end portions of the pockets for the pads 12 and 14 and is provided with a conventional adjustable loop and buckle arrangement 52.

The lower or minor ends of the pads 12 and 14 are connected at their rearward edges by an inferior-posterior elastic band 54 which is so positioned in relation to the pads and to the waist encircling means for the pads that it lies beneath the curvature of the buttocks of the wearer, as shown in FIG. 3. The band 54 has its opposing ends stitched or otherwise secured to the rear side edges of the minor lower ends of the pockets for the pads 12 and 14 with the band ends being disposed just above the lower rounded edges 20a.

The inferior-posterior elastic band 54 is arranged in such a manner as to exert a force, along with frontal strap connection 34, that will tend to hold the pads close to and in immediate contact with the hip bones and over the trochanter areas. In connection with the entire waist encircling means, such band 54 will prevent the pads from flailing outwardly during a fall. The inferior-posterior band 54 will also, by the inward force created, prevent the pads from riding or creeping up along the thighs of the wearer.

As seen from FIG. 3, the inferior-posterior band 54 will naturally lie beneath the curvature of the buttocks B of the wearer l6 and in so doing will tend to keep the pads in proper placement over the hip prominences and prevent the pads from slipping out of immediate and direct secure contact with the hip joint areas during bending, sitting or any other type of body motion. This will assure a stable position of the pads during a fall by the wearer or in the event the wearer should in any other manner come into contact with a force directed toward or at the hip region ofthe body.

The positioning of the inferior-posterior band 54 in relation to the wearers body 16 and its relative placement with respect to the pads 12 and 14 and the waist encircling means 34 and 50 for the upper end portions of the pads will enable a person to wear the protective appliance 10 under a dress or pair of a pants or any other garment without the necessity of anchoring the pads to some lower point of the person's body, which latter requirement is felt to be the major factor that tends to discourage an individual from wearing any known type of hip protective device. Due to the band 54, the protective device 10 can be put on as simply as one puts on a pair ofunderpants. Thus, a user of the device 10 will very readily acquire the habit of putting on the device as a matter of regular course of dressing for any occasion.

When putting on the pads 12 and 14, the band 54 assures proper positioning of the pads as soon as it has been placed under the curvature of the buttocks B and the waist rig 34 is fastened in front by the belt and buckle arrangement. A user does not have to be overly concerned about the proper positioning of the pads 12 and 14 after application. In fact, the band 54 will actually give the wearer a feeling of added security in relation to wearing the protective device 10 without the wearer encountering any psychological feelings of unnaturalness or uneasiness.

The band 54 will freely adjust to the size and shape ofthe individual, while the front rig 34 and the posterior elastic strap 50 can be easily and dependably adjusted so that the protective device 10 can be adjusted to fit persons of any size or age. It may be desired, especially in the instance of use of the device 10 by children for protective purposes while engaged in strenuous activities that could lead to an accidental fall, to make the pads in small, medium and large sizes.

The simplicity and comfort of the device on the body of the wearer can best be appreciated from a consideration of the illustration in FIG. 3 showing the device 10 on the body 16 and in relation to an underlying pair of underpants P, shown in dotted lines. In addition, the entire protective device 10 is washable after simple removal of the inserts 28.

Inasmuch as the present invention is subject to many variations, modifications and changes in detail, it is intended that all matter contained in the foregoing description or shown in the accompanying drawing shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.

I claim:

1. A hip joint protective appliance adapted to be worn by an individual so as to prevent fractures and dislocations of the hip joint which occur from outside forces imposed accidentally on the joint comprising:

a pair of hip pads having a size and shape to overlie protectively the hip bones of the pelvic girdle and the trochanters of the femur at the acetabulum of the hip bones;

a frontal adjustable connection joining the pads and adapted to overlie the abdomen ofa wearer;

an adjustable posterior strap connecting the pads and adapted to overlie the lower back region of the wearer; and

an inferior-posterior elastic band connecting the pads and adapted to assume a position beneath the curvature of the buttocks of the wearer.

2. The invention of claim 1 wherein said pads are of substantially triangular shape having upper major end portions and lower minor end portions.

3. The invention of claim 2 wherein said pads are composed of pockets having openings at the upper end portions and removable inserts positioned in the pockets, said inserts including semi-hard plastic plates having a concavo-convex cross-sectional configuration and resilient cushion liners providing the inner faces of the plates and facing toward the wearers body.

4. The invention of claim 2 wherein said inferior-posterior band has opposing ends attached to the pads adjacent the lower end portions thereof and the frontal adjustable connection and the adjustable posterior strap are attached to the pads adjacent the upper end portions of the pads and constitute a torso encircling means in association with the upper end portions of the pads.

5. The invention of claim 4 wherein said frontal adjustable connection includes separable straps having a belt buckle type connection with at least one of the straps being elastic.

6. The invention of claim 4 wherein said adjustable posterior strap is composed of a single elastic strap joined at its ends to the pads and having an adjustable buckle arrangement disposed intermediate its ends.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
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U.S. Classification128/95.1, 128/889, 128/99.1, 450/98
International ClassificationA41D13/05, A63B71/12
Cooperative ClassificationA41D13/0568, A41D13/0506, A63B71/12, A63B2208/12
European ClassificationA41D13/05P2C, A41D13/05B, A63B71/12