US 3750659 A
An orthopedic upright leg brace which enables a person to stand in an upright manner and in which the individual can be easily secured. A free standing parallel bar support is also provided and used in conjunction with the leg brace.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 11 1 Loomans 1 Aug. 7, 1973 ORTHOPEDIC APPARATUS FOR LEGS TO ENABLE STANDING  Inventor: David C. Loomans, 410 Hawthorn Dr., West Bend, Wis. 53095  Filed: May 1, 1972  Appl. No.: 249,351
 US. Cl 128/80 R  Int. Cl. A6lf 3/00  Field of Search 128/80 R, 80 A, 80 B,
128/80 c, 80 E, 80 F, 80 o, 80 11, so J, 83, 83.5, 87; 272/70.1-7o.4; 3/4
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,557,782 1/1971 Wafer 128/80R 12/1956 Swiech et a]. 128/80 F 2,772,674 2,573,866 11 1951 Murphy 128/80 F 2,827,897 3/1958 Pawlowski 3 4 x Primary Examiner-Richard A. Gaudet Assistant Examiner-J. Yasko AttorneyJames E. Nilles [5 7 ABSTRACT An orthopedic upright leg brace which enables a person to stand in an upright manner and in which the individual can be easily secured. A free standing parallel bar support is also provided and used in conjunction with the leg brace.
3 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures PATENIED 3.750.659
sum 2 or 4 49 51 Mi; a
ORTHOPEDIC APPARATUS FOR LEGS TO ENABLE STANDING BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Many orthopedic devices have been proposed for supporting various parts of the body and including those for supporting the legs or lower portions of the body. Examples of the prior art devices of this general character are shown in U.S. Pat. No. 2,772,674 issued Dec. 4, 1956 and entitled Orthopedic Torsion Leg Brace; U.S. Pat. No. 2,413,634 issued Dec. 31, I946 and entitled Caliper Brace; U.S. Pat. No. 3,230,952 issued Jan. 25, 1966 and entitled Orthopedic Apparatus having an Improved Joint Construction; and U.S. Pat. No. 3,596,298 issued Aug. 3, 1971 entitled Lifting Device.
While these prior art devices proved successful for the purposes for which they were designed and used, certain of them did have shortcomings from the standpoint that they were difficult and time-consuming for the user to install, and they furthermore oftenrequired the removal of clothes to permit their installation. In addition, many of these devices did not permit a drainage system to function.
Spinal cord injuries in the United States number one out of every 1,000, with war, accidents with automobiles, motorcycles, and diving being the primary causes for broken necks or backs. A spinal cord injury results in the loss of feeling as well as loss of control of the paralyzed area. There is a loss of bladder and bowel control, but with suitable training these functions can be controlled. Muscles in the paralyzed area are often spastic at times, and circulation of blood in the paralyzed area is also poor because the once active muscles no longer aids in returning the blood to the heart. Consequently, the poor blood circulation, together with the lack of feeling makes the paralyzed areas of the body subject to break-down, for example, whenever it is subjected to pressure for any sustained period of time, the blood does not reach these areas, consequently the cells die. Healing of these areas is extremely slow and oftentimes they never fully recover and are therefore all the more subject to damage. Under these circumstances, tendonsbecome stiff and shortened through the lack of use and body function as well as the range of motion of the paralyzed parts are diminished if proper therapy is not received.
It is essential that persons with this type of affliction stand in an upright weight-bearing position once or twice each day for periods of 20 minutes to one hour or as otherwise directed by their doctor or therapist to: (1) reduce the chance of development of pressure areas in the pelvic area; (2) permit a weight-bearing bone-on-bone situation which keeps the bone joints from deterioration and permits the bones of the legs, hips and pelvis to maintain their health and range of motion; (3) stretch the tendons of the legs as the legs are required to support the weight of the body in an upright position; (4) cause the muscles of the legs to become spastic thereby exercising them and preventing them from deteriorating completely. Circulation in the lower extremities is thus improved due to action of the spastic muscles. The muscles are fatigued during the period of standing thereby reducing spastic action during the balance of the day and eliminating undesirable shaking and jumping of the legs while in a wheelchair or while sleeping; (5) permit improved function of the kidneys and bladder as well as other body functions affected by a spinal cord injury. It is important that the bladder functions properly and empties properly to prevent infection and damage to the kidneys; (6) offer psychological benefit to the person by his ability to stand upright; (7) permit exercising of the upper arms while standing.
For these and other reasons, it is important that the individual be able to stand and any apparatus which enables him to do so should be installed easily and be usable without the removal of any clothes. Furthermore, these orthopedic devices must permit urinary drainage systems to be used and which are generally worn on the leg area.
Certain types of prior art braces are impractical for use with spinal cord injuries and the daily wearing of such braces also impedes the ability of the person while using a wheelchair and makes the transferring to a car or chair, etc., as well as sitting and moving about more difficult. In addition, there is a possibility of sores caused by rubbing of the paralyzed areas; as a result, the use of such braces by spinal cord injured people is generally restricted to occasions when the person wants to stand, and are not suitable because the braces take too much time and effort to put on, assistance is usually required to install them, urinary drainage systems are disrupted, and they require dressing and undressing of the person. Therefore, as a result, the required daily standing by the individual is not always accomplished.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides an orthopedicbrace fo the lower part of the body and which brace is selfsupporting and and in which the wearer can be easily secured. The device is easily adjustable and comfortable to the wearer and there is no necessity of removing clothes for its installation. It takes only a matter of minutes for the brace to be fully installed and when installed there is no disruption of urinary drainage systems.
The improved orthopedic brace provided by the present invention is inexpensive to build, and can usually be installed with no assistance. While in use the brace permits the user to shift his weight, thereby accomplishing the exercising of muscles as well as the stretching of the tendons. It permits the legs to bear body weight and function in the capacity that keep the range of motion, muscle tone and bone conditions healthy. The construction of the brace is such that it is generally universal in applications and does not require special fitting or custom building to fit any particular wearer.
Another aspect of the invention relates to a freestanding and completely self-supporting parallel bar device for use with the above mentioned orthopedic brace, and this parallel bar device minimizes the danger of falling or damaging the paralyzed area. The device can be readily installed, is compact and designed to fit into normal living quarters and is furthermore inexpensive and within the economical reach of those who need them, The device prevents pressure ulcers on the bottom of the heels of the wearer which may otherwise occur due to standing for a period of time without moving and shifting of his weight. By the use of the parallel bar device, this problem can be avoided when used in combination with the orthopedic brace because the user is able to continually move.
The brace and a parallel bar device provided by the present invention permits the user to maintain range of motion as well as maintain body functions at a healthy level.
These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will appear hereinafter as this disclosure progresses, referenece being had to the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an orthopedic brace made in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken generally along the line 22 in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken generally along the line 3-3 in FIG. 1',
FIG. 4 is an enlarged, fragmentary view of a portion of the device shown in FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken generally along the line 5-5 in FIG. 1;
'FIG. 6 is a perspectiveview of the parallel bar device made in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 7 is a side elevational view of the device shown in FIG. 6;
FIG. 8 is another side elevational view of the parallel bar device together with a side elevational view of the orthopedic device as being used therewith;
FIG. 9 is a fragmentary, exploded view of the adjustable attaching means for the knee supporting means shown in FIGS. I and 3; and
FIG. 10 is a fragmentary, exploded view of the chest support means shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.
DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The orthopedic brace B shown in FIG. 1 includes an upright member 1 which is usupported by a lower, floor engaging support member 2. A pair of foot-engaging members 3 are rigidly attached, one at either end of the support member 2 and these members 3 each include a generally U-shaped heel engaging portion 4, a forwarding extending foot supporting plate 5, and a flexible web'strap 6 with adjusting web slide 6a which strap is supported at one end in a loop 7 at one side of the U-shaped member 4, and a snap fastener 8 at the other side of the member 4. A snap receiving button 9 is also attached to each side of the lower end of the vertical support 1 and thereby the straps 6 can be fastened to the snap receiving button 9 when the device is not in use. In this manner, it is an easy matter for the user to simply slip his foot into the U-shaped portion 4 and then remove the web straps 6 from the snap 9 and secure it across his foot onto the snap 8 of the foot engaging members 3. The plates 5 act to furnish support to the foot and thereby prevent it from dropping.
Adjustably slidable in the upper end of the tubular member 12 is a vertical support rod 10 having a cross bar 10a which is adapted to abut against the front side of the wearer and this adjustable chest support 10 provides a guiding support and stability for the user. It can be vertically adjusted by thumb screw means 11.
A tubular member 12 is adjustable vertically on the member 1 and telescopes in respect thereto and is held in any one of a number of adjustable positions by two bolt means 13. Knee supporting means 15 are adjustable vertically on the member 12 and secured by the two bolts 13. This means includes a rigid steel plate member 17 having two generally curved portions 18 and 19 and a flexible web member 20 which is secured to the outer ends of members 17 by bolt means 22 and blocks 23. The central portion of the flexible web belt 20 is secured at its midpoint by a block 24 through which the two bolt means 13 extends. The generally U- shaped, central portion 25 of the steel member 17 embraces the vertical member 12 and thus by tightening the nuts 26 of the bolt means 13, the knee supporting member 15 can be vertically positioned in accordance with the measurements of the user. It will be noted thatthe knee engaging portions of the flexible member 20 are curved so as to generally conform to the metal portions 18 and 19 and thereby providing an air space between the web and metal members adjacent the knee area, and in effect forming a soft cushion for the knees.
The orthopedic brace also includes a hip or midsection supporting member 30 which includes a laterally extending metal frame 31 having an opened U-shaped end 32 at each of its ends, these open ends are adapted to receive a loop or web belt 34 which is adjustable as to its length by the adjusting buckles 36. Thus, the loop 34 can be easily slipped or removed from the open ends 32 and easily adjusted to the size of the user whereby the user can then be snugly strapped into the mid portion supporting section 30.
With the brace provided by the present invention, it will be noted that it is only necessary for the user to stand adjacent one side of the orthopedic device,'then slide his feet into the feet engaging members 3, and snap the straps over his feet. It is then only necessary for him to adjust the belt 34 around his midsection and thus, good support is provided at the foot, knee, posterior and waist or chest areas.
As shown in FIG. 8, the orthopedic brace can be used in conjunction with the parallel bar arrangement and the user and brace are adapted to be located within the U-shaped upper portion 40 of the parallel bar arrangement which has two free-standing arms 41 and 42 that can be readily grasped by the user. The legs 43, 44 are telescopingly adjustable by set screws 45 as to their height so that when in use, the arms 40 and 41 can be readily grasped by the user. Floor engaging members 46, 47 are rigidly secured to the lower ends of legs 43, 44 respectively, and other members 48, 49 are slidably, telesco'pingly and adjustably engaged in members 46, 47 by set screws 51. A laterally extending support member 50 is secured between and to the free ends of member 48 and 49 and thereby the effective length of the device can be varied.
With the brace provided by the present invention, the feet are secured in the bottom of the brace with the straps and the knee pads keep the legs from bending while the upper strap or belt holds the top of the brace near the waist. As a result, the legs are kept straight and will hold the legs of the wearer even if he is paralyzed from the waist down. Standing by means of the present invention helps the paraplegic's body functions to be more normal and helps maintain the bones in the legs in a health condition. By leaning forward and backward, the muscles and tendons keep their tone and their range of motion. In general standing, which is a necessity for parapleg'ics, is accomplished more easily and minimizes the effort and time by means of the brace and parallel bar arrangement provided by the present invention.
1. An orthopedic brace for supporting the lower por tion of a person and comprising, an upright support member having a floor engaging member, a pair of foot engaging members mounted on said floor engaging member and each including a generally U-shaped heel engaging portion, a foot supporting plate, and a strap means for holding the foot in said foot supporting means; a knee supporting portion on said upright member for engagement with the front side of the knees of said person, a midsection supporting means on said upright member and including a flexible belt for encircling the person, and a chest support adjacent the upper end of said upright support member for bearing against the front side of said person.
2. An orthopedic brace for supporting the lower portion of a person, said brace comprising an upright support member having a laterally extending and floor engaging member fastened thereto, said floor engaging member having a pair of foot engaging members laterally spaced thereon; said foot engaging members each including a generally U-shaped heel engaging portion,
means including a flexible belt for encircling the person, and a chest support adjacent the upper end of said upright support member for bearing against the front side of said person.
3. An orthopedic brace for supporting the lower portion of a person, said brace comprising, an upright support member having a laterally extending and floor engaging member fastened thereto, said floor engaging member having a pair of foot engaging members laterally spaced thereon; said foot engaging members each including a generally U-shaped heel engaging portion, a foot supporting portion, and a strap means for holding the foot in said foot supporting means, a tubular member slideably mounted on said upright support members, means for detachably securing and adjusting the position of said tubular member on said upright support member, a knee supporting portion mounted on said tubular member and for engagement with the front side of the knees of said person, a midsection supporting means mounted on said tubular member and including an adjustable flexible belt for encircling the person, and a'chest support secured to and adjacent the upper end of said upright support member for bearing against the front side of said person.