US 3765410 A
The device acts as a pliable prosthetic nail in establishing the normal anatomical relationship between the defective lateral and distal nail margin and the normal groove adjacent to a normal nail fold of skin. The device, in a flat, extended configuration, has a generally rectangular outline. When viewed in profile, one side of the device has a smoothly formed ridge generally centered on the lateral axis of the rectangle. In operation, the device is applied to the ingrown nail such that the ridge is forced between, and in contacting relationship with, both the nail and the adjoining soft tissues. The remaining portions of the device provide a means for securing the device. The ridge exerts pressure to segregate the ingrown portion of the lateral nail margin from the adjoining inflamed soft tissues and thereby permits the nail to grow out without digging into or otherwise painfully disturbing the adjacent tender skin area.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
O United States Patent 1 Berens PROSTHETIC NAIL  Inventor: James J. Berens, 44 East Pierson Street, Phoenix, Ariz. 85012 22 Filed: Aug. 23, 1971  App]. No.: 173,936
 US. Cl 128/81 A  Int. Cl. A61t' 5/00  Field of Search 128/81 A, 81 R  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,499,851 3/1950 Cronholm 128/81 A 2,342,530 2/1944 Coates 128/81 A 2,542,324 2/1951 Gibbons.... 128/81 A 2,818,062 12/1957 Braxton 128/81 A 2,920,621 H1960 Fettig 128/81 A Primary Examiner-Richard A. Gaudet Assistant Examiner-J. Yasko Attorney-William C. Cahill et al.
[ Oct. 16, 1973 57 ABSTRACT The device acts as a pliable prosthetic nail in establishing the normal anatomical relationship between the defective lateral and distal nail margin and the normal groove adjacent to a normal nail fold of skin. The device, in a flat, extended configuration, has a generally rectangular .outline. When viewed in profile, one side of the device has a smoothly formed ridge generally centered on the lateral axis of the rectangle. In operation, the device is applied to the ingrown nail such that the ridge is forced between, and in contacting relationship with, both the nail and the adjoining soft tissues. The remaining portions of the device provide a means for securing the device. The ridge exerts pressure to segregate the ingrown portion of the lateral nail margin from the adjoining inflamed soft tissues and thereby permits the nail to grow out without digging into or otherwise painfully disturbing the adjacent tender skin area.
2 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures PATENIEBncnsms 3.765.410
INVENTOR. JAMES J BERENS ATTORNEYS PROSTI-IETIC NAIL The present invention relates to devices suitable for relieving pressure, pain, and possible subsequent infection of toes and fingers caused by ingrown nails.
1 The ingrown nail is a common malady responsible for a great deal of unnecessary pain and disability. One of the major causes of ingrown nails, particularly toenails, is that of improperly fitted shoes which initiate and may perpetuate ingrown toenail problems by producing abnormal pressure between adjacent toes or between the great toe and the top or side of the shoe. A second source of ingrown toenail problems arises due to improperly trimmed toenails. In the latter case, when the borders of the nail are improperly shortened, the delicate soft tissues of the nail plate and nail fold impinge upon the nail by the upward pressure exerted with each step of walking or running. As these tissues become tender and swollen, further trimming becomes more inadequate and a barb may result from tearing or improperly cutting the lateral edge of the shortened nail. In either case, the pain and discomfort arises from the soft tissue due to lack of a normal groove adjacent to the normal nail fold of the skin.
One of the popular existing programs in curing the problems of ingrown nails consists of packing a small pledget of absorbent cotton to separate the nail from the adjacent inflamed swollen soft tissues. This tech nique is effective in eliminating the painful inflammatory phase and will carry the patient over to the period when he can achieve a normal length of nail in normal relation to the adjacent soft tissues. The basic problem with this method of treatment is that it requires a persistent and continuing effort by the patient and thus is doomed to failure in all but a minority of cases. If the patient belongs to an older age group, there are additional mechanical problems of obesity, tremulousness, poor eyesight and lack of good physical co-ordination which may further impair the efforts of the patient.
It is therefore a primary object of the present invention to provide a device which may be used to effectively reduce the inflammatory edema and pain resulting from an ingrown nail.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a reduction of the inflammation, swelling and pain by gentle compression of the affected soft tissues adjacent the nail.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a device which reduces the repeated irritation and trauma between the soft tissues rubbing against the nail during exercise.
A further object of the present invention is to provide a device which may be skin colored and trimmable to simulate the general outline of the toe or finger and thereby be practically unnoticeable.
A still further object of the present invention is provide a device which may be used by the patient will full and trauma between the soft tissues rubbing against the shoe during exercise.
These and other objects of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art as the description thereof proceeds.
The present invention may be described with more specificity and clarity with reference to the following figures, in which:
FIG. 1 illustrates a device incorporating the teachings of the present invention.
FIG. 2 illustrates the positional relationship of the device to a toenail.
FIG. 3 illustrates a cross section of the device positioned on a toenail.
FIG. 4 illustrates a cross section of the application of two devices to a toenail.
FIG. 5 illustrates a profile of a toe with the device attached thereto.
Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown a preferred embodiment of the prosthetic nail. A basic form of the invention may be that of a device formed of a flexible strip having a generally rectangular outline with rounded corners. When viewed in profile, the generally uniform thickness of the device 1 is interrupted by smoothly formed ridge 2 transverse to the longitudinal axis of the rectangle. For best results, the ridge 2 and the remaining portions or flaps 3, 4 of the device 1 should be molded from pliable non-toxic materials such as medical grade silicone rubber or other similar material. The flaps may also be slightly flattened or tapered to blend" into the nail or flesh and facilitate taping the device without bulky ridges under the tape where the device ends.
The operation of the device may best be explained with reference to FIGS. 2 and 3. In the right foot 5 shown in FIG. 2, it is assumed that the left lateral nail margin 6 in the big toe 7 is an ingrown toenail causing inflammation of the adjoining soft tissues.
To reduce the inflammation and relieve the pain, the device 1 is placed upon the toe 7 in such a manner that the ridge 2 'or raised portion interacts with the defective lateral nail margin 6 of the nail 8 and the adjacent soft tissue comprising the nail fold 9. The interaction will have the effect of separating the nail fold 9 from the nail 8 and preserve the normal nail groove 10. Thenail 8 will, of course, continue to grow and, in due time, will extend toward the extremity of the toe 7 without contacting and irritating the soft tissues. When the nail 8 has grown until the lateral nail margin 6 can be seen, the prosthetic device 1 may be removed. At that time, the lateral nail margin 6 will lie in the normal nail groove 10 without discomfort or pain.
When seating the prosthetic device, one flap 7 extends over the adjacent soft tissue of the toe 7 and pre vents a repetitive irritative contact between the shoe or other footwear against the inflamed soft tissues during walking or other motion of the foot 5. The other flap 3 acts as a prosthetic nail to simulate the normal length and shape of a toenail 8. If desired, this flap 3 may be cut or trimmed to form any desired toenail configuration for either aesthetic or practical purposes.
During the period of use, the prosthetic device 1 performs several physical and physiological functions for the patient. First, by soft gentle pressure on the inflamed swollen and painful tissues adjacent to the ingrown lateral nail margin 6, the inflammatory edema is decreased. Second, the reduction of the inflammatory edema is followed by a reduction of the pain secondary to the inflammation. Third, the normal nail groove 10 may be formed without painful interference from the defective lateral nail margin 6. 7
As the device 1 is preferably made of material such as medical grade silicone rubber, it may be cleansed with water, antiseptics, boiled or autoclaved. The device 1 may be colored to simulate the normal skin color, rendering it less noticeable. It may be held in place by one of two basic methods. First, adhesive may be used to secure the device 1 to the toenail 8 and the side of the toe 7. Second, the device may be held in place by adhesive tape 11 wrapped about the toe 7 as shown in FIG. 5, and in cross section in FIG. 4. These figures also illustrate the compactness of the device and its securing means, whereby it does not create sufficient additional bulk to prevent the user from wearing his normal footwear. Because of the simplicity by which the device may be attached and the lack of bulk, there should be little, if any, problem for any of the intended users in attaching it and in it remaining in place through a variety of activities. In severe cases, it has been found that application of the device to the inflamed toe and subsequent immerson of the toe or foot in warm, soapy water has brought about prompt relief and the patient may, within a very short time, resume his normal activities, including such strenuous activities as athletic competition.
FIG. 4 illustrates a further aspect of the multiple benefits available by the teaching of the invention. The cross section of the toe 12 shown is assumed to have each lateral nail margin 13, 14 interfering with the adjacent soft tissues causing an inflamed edema with attendant irritation and trauma. In this situation, two
prosthetic nail devices 15, 16 would be employed. The Y first device 15 would be placed so thatits ridge 17 would separate the left nail margin 19 from the adjacent nail fold 20 and nail groove 21. The flap 22 would be placed adjacent the nail 23 and flap 24 would be placed adjacent the left side 25 of the toe 12. The second device 16 would be placed so that its ridge 18 would separate the right nail margin 26 from the adjacent nail fold 27 and nail groove 28. The flap 29 would be placed adjacent the nail 23 and overlap flap 22. Flap 30 would be placed adjacent the right side 31 of the toe 12. The previously discussed adhesive or medical adhesive tape 32 may be wrapped about the toe as shown in FIG. 5 to secure the devices 15, 16in place.
As the device, according to the teaching of the invention, maybe applied to either toenails or fingernails, there must be available a selection of sizes and shapes of the device 1. It is conceivable that the height and thickness of the ridge 2 may be varied to suit a particular application. Similarly, the width, length and thickness (including tapered thickness) may be varied, or the general outline may be altered. However, it is believed that these variations lie within the ambit of the teaching of the invention.
1. A prosthetic nail device, comprising: a soft, resilient, medical grade, silicon rubber strip having top and bottom fiat surfaces and having a ridge extending upwardly from one of said surfaces and transversely of said strip intermediate the ends thereof, said ridge for placement along the nail margin of an ingrown nail; a first flap extending from said ridge for contacting and extending over the top of the nail; a second flap extending from said ridge for contacting skin tissues adjacent said ingrown nail and extendingover said skin tissues; and means for securing said first flap to the nail and said second flap to the skin tissue adjoining the nail to position said ridge between the lateral edge of the nail and the adjacent soft tissues and to maintain said ridge in place.
2. The combination set forth in claim 1, wherein said first and second flapsare tapered toward the respective ends thereof remote from said ridge, said tapering being achieved by said first and second flat surfaces approaching each other.