US 3680551 A
An ankle hitch for use by ambulance operators, doctors and others whenever it is required to place a leg under traction, the hitch providing for quick and easy attachment of the tensioning means to the ankle and foot of the injured leg. The hitch also avoids twisting or pulling the forward part of the foot into an unnatural position.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Bell et al.
[151 3,680,551 [4 1 Aug. 1,1972
 ANKLE HITCH  Inventors: Oran M. Bell, 5623 Dorothy Way, San Diego, Calif. 92115; Joseph J. Walker, 2517 Montgomery St., Cardifi, Calif. 92007 22] Filed: Nov.27, 1970 211 Appl. No.: 93,031
52 U.S.Cl. .;.l28/84R,128/l66 51 Int. Cl. ..A61f5/04  FieldofSearch ..l28/84, 85, 75,l66,l66.5
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,319,609 5/1943 La Crosse ..128/84R 3,407,811 10/1968 Stubbs ..l28/166 3,073,305 1/1963 Biggs, Jr. et a1 128/1 66 1,773,127 9/1930 Auster 128/1665 Pn'mary Examiner-Richard A. Gaudet Assistant Examiner-.1. Yasko Att0rneyl(nox & Knox  ABSTRACT An ankle hitch for use by ambulance operators, doctors and others whenever it is required to place a leg under traction, the hitch providing for quick and easy attachment of the tensioning means to the ankle and foot of the injured leg. The hitch also avoids twisting or pulling the forward part of the foot into an unnatural position.
2 Clains, 4 Drawing Figures ANKLE HITCH BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Emergency splinting of broken legs, as well as traction splinting in hospital treatment, is recognized as helpful in preventing further injury to surrounding tissue, nerves and bloodvessels by the rough ends of the fractured bones when the patient moves or is moved, the tensioning of the injured leg being an important feature in this regard. Splinting, especially traction splinting, also alleviates pain and reduces shock and ordinarily improves blood circulation. In nearly all such leg fracture cases splinting makes patient handling much more efficient. However, such splinting, in cases where multiple injuries have been sustained must be very quickly achieved so there is a need for an ankle hitch capable of attachment in seconds and almost foolproof against twisting or bending the leg in such a manner as to cause pain.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The claimed ankle hitch fills the aforesaid need with its provision for a proper straight-line pull localized at the heel and avoiding prior art, pain-producing, bending of the foot and/or ankle, and the hitch is extremely easy and quick to apply efficiently. This is accomplished by provision of a hitch in H-configuration with a heel web as the cross bar of the H carrying the tension cable attachment element near the rear extremity of the patients heel. Quick fastening means such as Velcro makes an ankle-encircling band and an instepencircling band, the remaining portions of the H, very easy to apply by simple wrap-around manipulation.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the ankle hitch;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged sectional view taken on line 2- 2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged sectional view taken on line 3- 3 ofFlG. l; and
FIG. 4 is a side elevation view of the hitch applied to an ankle.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT An economical yet completely efficient embodiment of our invention, as illustrated, comprises a fabric structure which, when laid flat prior to use, is H- shaped. The cross member or heel web is a strap of sturdy, stretch-resistant, flexible material of a length corresponding to the size of the foot whereon it is to be placed and in all cases of a length equal to the distance from the ankle, around the heel and forward on the foot to the arch. Otherwise stated, the heel web must have a length sufficient to span the foot from a point just above the heel area to a point below the foot and just forward of the heel area.
The heel web 10 may be of single layer construction but at least the central portion thereof has a second layer 12 stitched or otherwise secured thereto to hold a cross bar 14 disposed transversely of the central portion of the web 10. The second layer 12 is cut away at 16 to accommodate a loop 18 for quick connection to tension applying apparatus which may be a cable or the like in a traction splint or similar equipment, diagrammatically indicated at 20 in FIG. 4.
At one end of the web 10 there is stretched or otherwise secured an ankle band 22 which extends transversely of the web 10 and is dimensioned to wrap around an ankle and overlap as necessary for fastening. A preferred construction is that indicated diagrammatically at 24 and 26 and merchandised under the name Velcro, the multiple hook structure 24 complementing the multiple loop structure 26 for quick positive interlocking action when the ends of the ankle band are overlapped as indicated at 28.
At the other end of the web 10 an instep band 30 is stitched or similarly secured. This instep band is also transverse to the web 10 and is dimensioned to wrap around the instep and overlap in the same manner as at 32 and with the same provision for fastening as the ankle band.
The operation of this invention will be clear from a consideration of the foregoing description and the relationship to the foot will be obvious from an inspection of FIG. 4 which indicates the hitch applied to a foot. The web 10 extends from the ankle 34 down around the rear of the heel 36 and forward on the underside of the foot to the beginning of the arch 38. The band 22 encircles the arch-instep portion 38 of the foot. Such structure and arrangement assures a non-twisting, straight-line pull on the leg from a point adjacent to the rear of the heel 36 which minimizes pain and simplifies the entire splinting procedure, even obviating the necessity for heel stands in the splint apparatus because the foot is retained above the general plane of the splint and the splinted limb may be layed flat on a stretcher or other generally flat surface.
It is understood that minor variation from the form of the invention disclosed herein may be made without departure from the spirit and scope of the invention, and that the specification and drawings are to be considered as merely illustrative rather than limiting.
We claim: 1. An ankle hitch for use in applying traction to a fractured leg, said hitch comprising:
a strap-shaped heel web dimensioned to extend from the rear of the ankle, around the heel to the arch of a human foot;
an ankle band disposed transversely of said web and having an intermediate portion thereof secured to one end of said web and being dimensioned to extend around the ankle;
an instep band disposed transversely of said web and having an intermediate portion thereof secured to the other end of said web and being dimensioned to extend around the instep;
said heel web and bands defining a substantially H- form when the ankle bitch is layed flat prior to use, and said web being flexible to bend into a position around the heel;
complementary fastening means on said bands for releasably securing the same in place on the ankle and instep, respectively;
said heel web having attaching means for attachment of the hitch to tensioning apparatus.
2. An ankle hitch according to claim 1 wherein said attachment means is a cross bar extending transversely across and secured to said heel web, said bar having a centrally disposed loop to facilitate the attachment of tensioning apparatus.
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