US 3543765 A
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D United States Patent [1113,543,765
 Inventor Georg Alzner 3.135.265 6/1964 Holzman 128/619 Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 3,306,967 2/1967 Turkewitsch.. 264/321  Appl. No. 498,866 3,333,353 8/1967 Garcia... 36/68  Filed Oct. 20, 1965 2,486,653 1 1/1949 l-lukill l28/615X  Patented Dec. 1,1970 3,081,774 4/1963 Lelyueld 128/615  Assignee Alznner National Arch Supports Ltd. Primary Examiner kichard Gaudet Vancouver, Bl'lllShFEOllll'llblfl, Canada Assistant Yasko a corporatlon of Bntlsh Columbia, Canada Attorney smart & Biggar  ARCH SUPPORTS ABSTRACT: An arch support in the form of: an elongated 2 Claims, 5 Drawing Figs. one-piece molded shape of firm, resilient plastic for supportmg the transverse, metatarsal arch as well as the longitudinal  US. Cl 128/588, arch The Shape has a Substantial upward curvature in the 1 28/615 gitudinal direction and an area of raised convex configuration 1 at the forward region a d extending into the intermediate re.  Field of Search 128/586, gion fthe rt, a d an upwardly extending margin around 588591611617 621 the back and the sides of the support for forming a dishsha ed heel receiving region and longitudinal trou hs for the  References Cited first and fifth metatarsal bones. Wafflelike indent ations are UNlTED STATES PATENTS provided on the underside of the molded shape underneath 2,408,792 8/1946 Margolin 128/588 the area of raised convex configuration and perforations ex- 2,821,032 1/1958 Helfet 128/595 tend from the indentations to the upper surface ofthe support.
Patented Dec. 1, 1970 Sheet INVENTOR GEORG ALZNER swwvg ATTORNEYS.
Patented Dec. 1, 1970 Sheet of 6 INVENTOR GEORG ALZNER ATTORNEYS.
Pa tented Dec. 1, 1970 Sheet INVENTOR GEORG .ALZNER BY ATTO'RN YS Patented Dec. 1 1970 Sheet INVENTOR GEORG ALZNER BY V ATTORNEYS.
ARCH SUPPORTS This invention relates to orthopaedic arch supports.
In the past many different types of arch supports have been proposed and used. All such supports have, however, displayed one or more of a number of serious deficiencies. In some cases a support would be provided for only the plantar (or longitudinal) arch of the foot, with no provision being made for adequate support of the metatarsal (or transverse) arch. Alternately, other designs have provided only for support of the metatarsal arch without adequate provision for support of the plantar arch. Neither of these arrangements will, in general, be satisfactory because of the necessity of supporting both arches simultaneously and preserving the proper spacing therebetween. Moreover, in many prior designs, the support is so rigid that it fails to flex adequately with the foot during walking or running and is thereby prevented from adequately supporting the foot in its various modes. In other cases, where a support of material which is too soft has been used, the device really amounts to no more than a pad which itself conforms to the shape of the foot rather than vice versa and accordingly does not give adequate support to the wearer. In neither case will the desirable massaging action of the foot be obtained. In the cases of rigid, relatively hard supports, further complications will follow such as acute irritation or calluses. Finally, prior arch supports do not support the foot correctly in the sense that they fail to cause the foot to maintain its proper shape during its various movements and as a result fail to give optimum support.
I have found that it is possible to provide an orthopaedic arch support overcoming many of the disadvantages referred to above by using a removable, single piece of molded resilient plastic so shaped as to form a rear region, an intermediate region, and a forward region. An upwardly extending margin or wing is disposed around the rear portion and extends forwardly along the sides of the support so that they form, at the rear portion, a cup-shaped area which is adapted to accommodate the heel and, forward of the heel region, the margins are adapted substantially to prevent transverse movement of the support with respect to the foot when it is being worn. The margins adjacent the forward end of the support merge into a relatively thin, forwardly extending and horizontally disposed, lip member whose outer periphery defines the forward extremity of the support, which lip member is adapted, when the support is properly fitted, to extend up to but not past the ball of the foot. I provide on the upper side of the support an area of raised, generally convex configuration, which extends, longitudinally of the support, from the inner end of the lip and into the intermediate region and, transversely of the support, between the margin or wing members. This area of raised, convexed configuration includes the thickest area of the device and provides adequate support for the metatarsal arch. Finally, the whole of the support is provided, in the longitudinal direction, with a substantial upward curvature whereby, when in unstressed condition, the lower surface of the intermediate portion is located at a distance substantially above the plane which extends between the lower surface of the ends of the support. I also provide a plurality of preferably wafilelike indentations on the under surface of the support, in at least the forward region and preferably into the intermediate region as well, these indentations being such as to providefor adequate air entrapment within' the body of the support. Smaller perforations are then provided between the upper surface of the support and the indentations so as to permit air flow therebetween. The arrangement thus provided is such as to produce a unitary, orthopaedic support adapted to give adequate support to both arches of the foot and at the same time cling thereto during wearing in a way which provides for adequate massaging and ventilation of the foot.
The invention will be described in detail in connection with the following FIGS. of drawings, in which an embodiment of my invention is disclosed having dimensions (shown on the drawings in millimeters) appropriate for about the middle-size of a range of sizes necessary to fit adequately a normal cross section of foot lengths and widths, both male and female:
FIG. 1 is an isometric view, looking from the top, of an arch support made in accordance with my invention;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the arch support;
FIG. 3 comprises a series of cross-sectional views (labeled 10, 20, 30, etc.) taken on the lines 10, 20, 30, etc. up to 170, respectively, of FIG. 2;
FIGS. 4 and 5 comprise longitudinal cross sections (labeled I, II, III, etc.) taken on the section lines I, II, III, etc. up to Vlll, respectively of FIG. 2.
Referring initially to FIGS. 1 and 2, it will be noted that my arch support comprises an elongated, unitary plastic molded shape having a rear region 20 adjacent the heel, extending from the right end of the outline shown in FIG. 2 to about the line 21, an intermediate region 22 extending between the line 21 and the line 23, and a forward region 24 extending (as in FIG. 2) to the left of line 23 to the forward extremity of the support at 25. As best shown in FIG. 1, and in the various cross sections illustrated in FlGS. 3, 4 and 5, the outer periphery of the support, other than the forward end, is provided with an upwardly extending margin or wing 30 which defines, at the rear end of the support, a generally dish shaped area 31 adapted to accommodate the heel. At the forward end of the support, the margins or wings 30 merge into a forwardly and horizontally extending relatively thin lip portion 32 whose outer periphery defines the forward extremity of the support at 25 and which, when the support is properly fitted, is intended to be disposed immediately below the ball of the foot.
As is best shown in the cross sections 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 of FIG. 3, my support is so molded that an area 33 of raised, generally convexed configuration is disposed on the upper side of the support in the forward region thereof, such raised area extending rearwardly into the intermediate region 22. As will be apparent particularly from cross sections referred to, the raised region 33 curves downwardly on each side to form, together with the margins 30, a hollow or trough 34 on each edge. This arrangement is such that the raised region 33 forms an adequate support for the metatarsal arch and in particular the second, third and fourth metatarsal bones whereas the extreme bones l and 5 on each side are properly accommodated in the hollows or troughs 34. As will be apparent from the cross-sectional drawings referred to, the thickest region of my arch support is located in this convexed area.
As is shown in the drawings, a plurality of wafflelike indentations 35 are disposed on the lower side of my support in the central part of the forward region, and in the forward part of the intermediate region. In the particular embodiment of the invention illustrated, these indentations are of a generally rectilinear configuration, except for the most forward and rearward sides thereof, and they are separated by longitudinal ribs 36 and transverse ribs 37 as shown. From about the midpoint of the bottom of each of the indentations extends a small hole or perforation 38 which runs through to the upper surface of the support. This arrangement is such that the wafflelike indentations 35 provide the requisite amount of flexibility in the thickest region of the support and at the same time cause a certain amount of air to be entrapped in the region under the support and forced through the small perforations 38 so as adequately to ventilate the foot when the support is being worn.
Finally, as is apparent from the several sections of FIGS. 4 and 5, the whole device (when in the unstressed condition) has, in the longitudinal direction, substantial upward curvature, with the result that the intermediate portion 22 is located a substantial distance above the ends of the support when it is free" and not being worn. As will be apparent to persons skilled in the art, this flexible curvature contributes substantially to the massaging and ventilating action of the support when in use.
In order to secure proper results from the wearing of a support made in accordance with my design, it is necessary to fabricate the same from a plastic having suitable characteristics. Such a plastic must be relatively firm but nevertheless flexible and resilient so as to possess good snap-back" characteristics over a substantial temperature range and must also, of course, be satisfactory for the molding process by which arch supports in accordance with my design are best made. It will be obvious to persons skilled in the art that there are a number of plastic materials capable of yielding the required characteristics. In general, I have found as satisfactory for use in connection with my invention acetate and acrylate copolymers such as those sold by Union Carbide in association with the trade mark Bakelite. More particularly, I have found satisfactory the Bakelite acetate copolymer of ethylene and vinyl acetate sold under the code number DQD-l 868 Natural 7 used with or without the addition of up to an equal proportion of polyethylene. Similarly, good results have been obtained from use of Bakelite acrylate copolymers of ethylene-ethyl acrylate designated by the code number DPD-6l68 and DPD-6l69, with or without the addition of polyethylene. These plastics yield the desired firmness and also satisfactory resiliency resulting from relatively low secant modulus stiffness and they also possess relatively high flexcracking resistance so as to yield arch supports having a very long usable life.
With an arch support made from material having the characteristics just specified, and in the shape described above, it is possible to secure both adequate support of the foot in a manner which causes the foot to conform to the support rather than vice versa, and at the same time provide a valuable massaging and ventilating effect. Because of the tendency of the foot to conform to a properly fitted support of my design, and because of the resiliency of my arch support, the support will stay with the foot during both the upstep and downstep movements thereby giving continuous and suitable support to both the transverse and longitudinal arches.
Although no particular difficulty is to be encountered in securing a proper fit of my support design to the human foot, it is essential that an appropriate size support be selected for each individual foot. In making such a selection, I use a standard foot print machine well known in the art and then select a size of support, in the configuration disclosed above, in which the lower portion of the heel is in registry with the corresponding part of the heel print and the forward end of the lip 32 is disposed immediately below the ball of the foot. By so sizing my support design to each individual foot, adequate support thereof is obtained 'and proper spacing between the horizontal and longitudinal arches of the foot is secured and maintained during use of the support. I have found that a range of lengths, each with a narrow and wider version, is sufficient to meet the requirements for the majority of human feet. In general, the smaller, narrower sizes are useful for ladies feet whereas the larger, wider sizes are normally for men. My arch support is not satisfactory for use in association with ladies shoes having heels higher then about 2 inches. Apart from this one limitation, however, my arch support, when properly fitted, is useful in association with all other types of shoes.
I set out in the table hereunder a set of dimensions in millimeters relating to the overall lengths (measured from inside the heel area to the forward end of the support i.e. between sections 0 and 170 of FIG. 2) and the widths at the representative cross sections 40 and 120 as shown on FIG. 2, in respect of each of a set of arbitrarily designated sizes 2 to 12 inclusive. The widths given are for the narrower" size for each length;
the wider size has the same length but is about 10 percent wider than the dimensions given in respect of each of the cross sections 40 and 124).
Width (mm.) at
Length Size designation (mm 40 (front) (heel) Iclaim:
1. An arch support made of firm, resilient plastic, said support having a rear region adapted to accommodate the heel, a forward region adapted to be disposed below the ball of the foot and an intermediate region therebetween, an upper surface and a lower surface, said upper surface being of substantially convex configuration in the longitudinal direction of said intermediate region and said lower surface being of substantially concave configuration in the longitudinal direction of said intermediate region, whereby when in unstressed condition, said intermediate portion is positioned above both the forward and rear portions; an area of raised convex configuration disposed on the upper side of the support at the forward region and into the intermediate region; a plurality of indentations disposed on the bottom of said support opposite said area; and perforations extending between said indentations and the upper surface of the support,
2. A removable arch support consisting of relatively firm and resilient plastic, said support comprising: a rear region, an intermediate region and a forward region; an upwardly extending margin disposed around the rear region and along the sides of the support whereby said rear region forms a cupshaped area adapted to accommodate the heel and said margins are adapted substantially to prevent longitudinal or transverse movement of the support with respect of the foot when being worn; said margins adjacent the forward end of the support merging into a relatively thin forwardly extending, horizontally disposed lip member whose outer periphery defines the forward extremity of the support; an area of raised, generally convex configuration disposed on the upper side of the support and extending, longitudinally thereof, from the inner end of said lip and into said intermediate region, and transversely thereof, between said margins; the upper and lower surfaces of said intermediate region being respectively convex and concave in the longitudinal direction whereby when in unstressed condition, the intermediate region of the support is raised above both the forward and rear regions, a plurality of wafflelike indentations formed on the underside of at least the forward regions, and wherein perforations extend between said indentations and the upper surface of the support.