US 3804084 A
A knee support which comprises a pad to be wrapped about the knee and which includes an opening for the knee cap and an elastic strip to be stretched over the central portion of the knee cap and an upper and lower elastic strip to extend about the knee cap above and below it, to provide support for an injured knee while healing and which includes stays to reinforce the support in use, which are preferably, adjustable.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
UnitedStates Patent 1191 Lehman 1111 3,804,084 1 Apr. 16, 1974 3,046,981 3,194,233 7/1965 Peckham 123 80 Primary EJraminerRichard Gaudet Assistant ExaminerJ. Yasko 5 7 ABSTRACT A knee support which comprises a pad to be wrapped about the knee and which includes an opening for the knee cap and an elastic strip to be stretched over the central portion of the knee cap and an upper and lower elastic strip to extend about the knee 'cap above and below it, to provide support for an injured knee while healing and which includes stays to reinforce the support in use. which are preferably, adjustable.
7 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures; v
7/1962 Biggs. Jr. ct a1. 1228/80 6 PATENTEDAPR 16 m4 I 3.804.084
SHEET 2 0F 2 KNEE SUPPORT BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION As is perhaps well known, injuriesto' the joint of a limb, such as the knee, are quite common among athletes; and perhaps, not as well publicized, such injuries are quite common among the general public, because of falls, auto accidents and the like. These type injuries are quite troublesome, because of the mechanical characteristics of a human limb joint.
The knee zone, for example, must bear the stress and elastic belt stretched within the elastic limit of the belt about the waist of a wearer. Such a belt will provide support circumferentially about a wearers girth when he is standing; yet, when the same person is laying down, and, although theactual girth is distributed difnerically quick release fabric fastener means of the J strain of the human body all of which are concentrated in a small area in a normal function of carrying the weight of the body compounded by ever changing force direction in walking, bending, etc.'For this reason the effectof knee injuries is notoriously longlasting.
In the past, as the healing process of a knee injury progresses, it has been difficult to provide support and bracing which is adjustable to meet the condition of a wearer from the initial several days of growing swelling, to the following days when swelling decreases gradually, and, later, over the ensuing weeks when gradually less bracing and support of the knee are required. Moreover, as the healing process takes place about a joint injury to a limb, various amounts of support are required on the lateral and medial side of the joint,-as well as front and rear support which is yieldable upon bending of the knee so as to permit a gradual increase in the amount of bending permitted of the joint.
PRIOR ART In the past, there have been many patents and attempts to make knee supports and braces with varying degrees of success. Many of the prior art devices have 7 been characterized by hinges on the lateral and medial side of the knee; some have been characterized by straps, while others have employed belts and others have utilized spiral wrappings extending above and below the knee cap. I
. Representative recent prior art is that of the patent to Spiro, U.S. Pat. No. 3,473,527. This patent provides a panel with posterior ribs or stays. The panel is wrappedsubstantially about, but not completely around, the knee zone of a wearer there being an opening to nest about the knee cap. The Spiro brace includes lateral straps to fasten the panel about the knee zone, the straps being connected at one end to the side edge of the panel above and below the knee with the extending end being adapted to connect to theopposite edge of the panel to keep it about the knee joint.
As will be apparent from the following description,
the knee permitting supported movement in a predetermined range of permitted movement controlled by other featuresof this invention.
The effect of the improvement of the straps being of elastic material is best understood by considering an hook and nap type, are provided to easily adjust the tightness of the strap.
Secondly, the present invention provides an elastic overlock for the knee cap in the form of a central elastic strip which releasably connects the central zones of the side edges of the panel and overlies the knee cap opening, providing the knee cap with an elastic superimposed support which is adjustable. Furthermore, the central elastic overlook strip is applied using a stretch force applied in an opposite direction to that of the elastic strips above and below i the knee cap, which serves to equalize the stretch forces on the elastic and brace generally and results in a firm overall even sup-- port to the wearers knee.'
icantly different from other prior elastic knee support designs because, while elastic bands are known for use in providing support'about a knee, it is necessary to size them smaller than the circumference of the injured knee in order to provide an elastic support and,
moreover, it is necessary to pull them up and stretch them over an injured, often swollen, knee joint which limits the support that can be obtained and precludes adjustabilityto say nothing of the pain caused by pulling it over; and, while elastic strips are known to be wrapped about an injured knee as a support bandage, they are difficult to put on or to keep in place because some expertise is required to properly apply such a bandage and, once applied, in use, the convolutions of the wrapping or bandage slip about and support is lost.
The present invention overcomes the problems of the prior art one-piece elastic knee supports heretofore known because it is applied without pain and the central elastic strip is anchored to the body of the knee support and, in use, remains in place while elastically yielding and adjusting to conform to the joint as his used and which remains in place in such use and, furthermore, a heavier elastic support can be used in contrast to the lighter weight relatively low strength elastic knee bandages of the prior art. In summary, this invention has the advantages of combining the particular advantages of the two prior art type of knee supports in that the circumferential pull of the instant invention, which is an advantage of the 'elastic strip bandage but which does not have the disadvantage of slippingor displacement of the convolutions in use and, it avoids the painful application of one-piece elastic knee bands which in order to avoid pain in applying them are generally thinner and provide less support than is desirable.
.Other features of the instant invention include relatively short lateral and medial stays or reinforcements for the knee cap zone which are replaceable, and carried in vertical pockets, so that as the knee heals the attending physician can apply different stays having different flex characteristics to vary the resistance and also the amount of support applied. And, as mentioned above, Velcro, that is soft nap and J-hook means, are used-to releasably attach the strips used in the support to the panel body for use when securing it to a wearers leg. By reason of this type attachment means, the support and brace is quickly and adjustable to vary conditions in use and changes in the condition of the joint as healing takes place.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a vertical elevation view of the exterior of the support and brace; I
FIG. 2 is a view similar to FIG. 1 showing the inside surface of the support and brace;
FIG. 3' is a view taken in cross section on the plane indicated by the line 3--3 in FIG. 2; v
FIGS. 4 and 5 are views illustrating the attachment of the support and brace to the knee zone of a waearer; and
FIG. 6 is a view of the posterior side of a support and brace applied to the knee zone of a wearer.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Referring to the drawings wherein like reference characters designate like or corresponding parts throughout the several views, there is shown a knee support generally designated by the numeral 12 which includes a panel of soft relatively thick pad material 14 having a main interior and exterior surface 16 and 18 and a top, bottom and side edges 20, 22, 24 and 26, said top edge being sized to extend substantially, but not completely around the girth of the thigh of a wearer above a kneecap as shown in FIGS. 4 through 6 and with the bottom edge being sized to extend substantially, but not completely, around the girth of the leg of a wearer below the knee cap, again with reference to FIGS. 4 through 6. The side edges converge from the top to the bottom edge and there is provided a cut out 30 and 32 in the side edges in the central portion defining a knee cap opening 36, see FIG. 4, between the side edges when the panel is arranged about the knee of a wearer.
Pocket means generally designated by the numeral 40 are provided on the panels exterior surface. These pocket means extend substantially between the top and bottom edge, see FIGS. 1 and 2, in the central zone between the side edges of the panel and, as seen in FIG. 6, overlay the rear of the legof a wearer. Stay means 46, 48 and 50 composed of flexible material of predetermined flex characteristics are provided and sized for receipt in the pocket means previously described and thesestays are of a length to extend substantially between the top and bottom edges.
The panel is also provided with-a first and a second set of additional stay means designated by the numerals 54 and 52 in FIG. 2. Each of the pocket means are adjacent one of the side edges and extend upwardly and downwardly from the lateral centerline, that is the lateral line midway between the top and bottom edges respectively. This pair of pocket means eachreceive in the respective pockets stays which are. sized to nest within them to provide lateral and medial support for the knee of a wearer, see FIG. 4.
' Attachment means are provided to hold the support about the knee of a wearer. These attachment means comprise an upper and a lower elastic strip designated by the numerals and 62. The upper elastic strip extends laterally from'the upper portion of one of the side edges as at 64 adjacent the top edge and is of a length to span the gap between the side edges-when the support is placed about the thigh of a wearer as shown in FIG. 5 The lower elastic strip62 extends from the lower portion of one of the side edges as at 66 adjacent the bottom edge and is of a length to span the gap between the side edges of the panel when the support is placed about the leg of a wearer below the knee cap, again see FIG. 5. Mutually intercooperating connector means are provided on the terminal ends 68 and 67 of the upper and lower elastic strips and on the exterior surface of the panel adjacent the side edge opposite to the side edge on which the strips are arranged, the latter being designated by the numeral 70 and 72.
Additionally there is provided a central laterally extending elastic strip connected at one end to the central zone of the panel generally designated by the numeral 92. This strip is of a heighth such that it extends above and below the lateral centerline of the panel about 3 inches. It is of a lateral length sufficient to extend from the center zone outwardly of the panel side edge sufi'icient to overlap the exterior surface of the panel when the support is placed about the leg of a wearer, with the strip overlaying the knee cap and in a stretched condition, as shown in FIG. 5. Connector means are provided on the terminal end, such as the connector means designated by the numeral of the central elastic stripwhich cooperate with companionate connector means on the exterior of thepanel and provide means to connect the terminal endzone of the central elastic strip to the panel when the central elastic stripoverlays the knee cap opening.
The panel of the brace or support is preferably of relatively thick felt, in the order of about Vs to If; inches.
The v mutually intercooperating "m'eans preferably comprise what is commercially available and known as Velcro, which comprise soft knap loops comprising keeper means on the face of the strip facing the panel and a companionate array of hook means on the exterior surface of the panel which confronts the strips when'the strips are in overlaying relation of the knee zone of a wearer, the hook means comprising a pattern of outwardly projecting commonly oriented, hook members in upstanding relation whichare adapted in response to pressure against the knap loops to intermesh with the loops and releasably cling to the knap of the pads to be separated therefrom in response to a peeling quick yankingforce. In this manner the elastic strips are stretched longitudinally from the respective zones of attachment to the panel and wrapped inwardly and forwardly about the knee zone of a, wearer and hooked up with the knap loops.
In a preferred embodiment, to provide strength and tension to the panel when it is of felt material a flexible reinforcing sheet of woven cloth may be provided,
which effectively strengthens it for use. In the pre-I preferred embodiment the first pocket means are open adjacent the upper edge so that stays may be replaced with different flex characteristic to be adjusted in this girth of the thigh of a wearer above the knee cap,
said bottom edge being sized to extend substan tially, but not completely, around the girth of the leg of a wearer below the knee cap, said side edges converging from the top edge to the bottom edge and having a cutout in the central portion defining 'a knee cap opening between 'the side edges when the panel is arranged about the knee of a wearer;
first pocket means on. the exterior surface of the panel extending substantially between the top and bottom edge in the central zone of the panel between the side edges to overlay the rear of the leg of a wearer,
first stay means comprising an elongate. length of flexible material of predetermined flex characteristic in said first pocket means and extending substantially between the top and bottom edges;
a pair of second pocket means, one of said pairs adjacent each of the side edges and extending upwardly and downwardly from the lateral center line of the panel about one-half the distance between said lateral center line and the top and bottom edges respectively;
a plurality of elongate second stay means nested within the second pocket means to provide lateral and medial support to the knee of a wearer;
attachment means to hold the support about the knee of a wearer comprising,
an upper elastic strip laterally extending from the upper portion of one of the side edges adjacent the top edge and of a length to span the gap between the side edges when the support is placed about the thigh of a wearer;
a lower elastic strip laterally extending from the lower portion of one of said side edges and adjacent the bottom edge and of a length to span the gap between the side edges of the panel when the support is placed about the leg of a wearer below the knee cap;
first mutually intercooperating connector means on the terminal end-of the 'upper and lower elastic strips and on the exterior surface of the panel adjacent the side edge opposite to said one of the side edges;
a central laterally extending elastic strip connected at one end to the central zone of thepanel of aheight extending above and below the lateral center line of the panel about three inches and of a lateral length extending (about 5 inches) from the intersection of the lateral center line and the side edge opposite to said one of said side edges-sufficient to overlap .the exterior surface of the panel when the support is placed about the leg of a wearer with the strip overlaying the knee cap and in a stretched condition; 1
second connector means on the terminal end of the central laterally extending strip and on the exterior of said panel to connect the terminal end zone of the central elastic strip to said panel with said central elastic strip overlaying said knee cap opening.
I 2 The device as set forth in claim' 1 wherein the maranged medially on the face of the strips facing the panel and a companionate array of hook means on the exterior surface of the panel which confronts the strips when the strips are in overlaying relation of the knee zone of aweare-r, said hook me anscomprising a pattern of outwardly projecting, 'common'ly oriented, hook members in upstanding relation adapted in re sponse to pressure against said nap loops to. inter-mesh with said loops and releasably cling to the nap of said pads to be separated therefrom in response to a peeling or quick yanking force, whereby, when the elastic strips are stretched longitudinally from their respective zones of attachment to the panel and wrapped inwardly and forwardly about the knee zone of a wearer, said hook means are adapted for hooked-up engagement with said nap loops.
4. The-device as set forth in claim 1 wherein flexible reinforcing means in sheet form are provided and connected to the exterior surface of the panel to strengthen the same. 4
5. The device as set forth in claim 1 wherein the convergenceof the side edges traces a curve from the bottom edges toward but not to the top edgesand the curve traced by said side edges is generally vertical between the top edge and the intersection with the curved portion. v
6. The device as set forth in claim 1 wherein said first pocket means are'open adjacent the upper edge to facilitate-removal of the first stay means and replacement with stay means of different flex characteristics.
, 7. The device as set forth in claim 1 wherein the pair of second pocket means are open at their upper end zones to remove said second stay means and replace the same with stay means of different flex characteris-.