Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3911910 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 14, 1975
Filing dateMay 31, 1974
Priority dateMay 31, 1974
Publication numberUS 3911910 A, US 3911910A, US-A-3911910, US3911910 A, US3911910A
InventorsOesau Robert J
Original AssigneeOesau Robert J
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Electro-splint for relieving involuntary muscular spasticity
US 3911910 A
Abstract
A splint structure is provided for attachment to a body limb and includes at least two portions thereof for attachment to limb portions of a patient on opposite sides of an articulated joint connecting the two limb portions. The splint structure includes an electrical switch operatively associated therewith for actuation in response to angular displacement of the pair of limb portions relative to each other in one direction from predetermined relative positions thereof and the switch structure is electrically connected in an electrical circuit including skin attachable electrodes for attachment to skin areas overlying the trigger points of body muscles which control angular displacement of the associated limb portions. The electric circuit includes structure for causing pulsating direct current to be supplied to the electrodes and the underlying trigger points of muscles to be electrically actuated, which muscles are selected by proper placement of the electrodes on the patient's limb to oppose spastic muscles of the patient which cause angular displacement of the limb portions.
Images(3)
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [191 [76] Inventor: Robert J. Oesau, 313 Judson Place,

Bridgeport, Conn. 06610 [22] Filed: May 31, 1974 [21] Appl. No.: 475,248

[52] US. Cl l28/82.l; 128/419 R; 128/423 W; 3/ 1.1

[51] Int. Cl. A61N 1/32 [58] Field of Search 128/82.1, 82, 423, 422,

[56] References Cited I UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,083,712 4/1963 Keegan, Jr. 128/423 W 3,204,637 9/1965 Frank et al 128/423 W 3,344,792 10/1967 Offner et al 128/419 R 3,628,538 12/1971 Vincent et al. 128/422 Primary ExaminerRichard A. Gaudet Assistant ExaminerJ. Yasko Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Clarence A. OBrien; Harvey B. Jacobson Oesau Oct.14, 1975 ELECTRO-SPLINT FOR RELIEVING INVOLUNTARY MUSCULAR SPASTICITY [57] ABSTRACT A splint structure is provided for attachment to a body limb and includes at least two portions thereof for attachment to limb portions of a patient on opposite sides of an articulated joint connecting the two limb portions. The splint structure includes an electrical switch operatively associated therewith for actuation in response to angular displacement of the pair of limb portions relative to each other in one direction from predetermined relative positions thereof and the switch structure is electrically connected in an electrical circuit including skin attachable electrodes for at tachment to skin areas overlying the trigger points of body muscles which control angular displacement of the associated limb portions. The electric circuit includes structure for causing pulsating direct current to be supplied to the electrodes and the underlying trigger points of muscles to be electrically actuated, which muscles are selected by proper placement of the electrodes on the patients limb to oppose spastic muscles of the patient which cause angular displacement of the limb portions.

9 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures US. Patent Oct.14,1975 Sheet10f3 3,911,910

Fig 4 U..S.Patent Oct. 14, 1975 Sheet2of3 3,911,910

Fig. 2

, ELECTRO-SPLINT FOR RELIEVING INVOLUNTARY MUSCULAR SPASTICITY BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION There are certain instances in which muscles that cross a joint become shortened to effect contracture of the associated limb. When this occurs, it is necessary to cause angular displacement of the limb portions on opposite sides of the joint such that will stretch the shortened muscle. However, such stretching of a shortened muscle often results in spasticity in the affected muscle and such spasticity, if unchecked may have serious deleterious effects on the affected muscle.

I-Ieretofore means have not been available for checking such a spastic muscle of a patient who cannot be constantly attended and, in most cases, the treatment of the affected limb by stretching of the spastic muscle must be interrupted in order to terminate spasticity of the muscle.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION The splint of the instant invention is designed to provide the necessary angular relationship of limb portions on opposite sides of a joint in order to stretch an affected muscle. In addition, the splint includes structure by which contracture of the associated joint by spasticity of the affected muscle may be automatically and immediately opposed by electrostimulation of a muscle or muscles opposing the spastic muscle. Electrostimulation of the opposing or antagonistic muscle inhibits the spastic muscle and causes it to relax in order that the related limb portions may again return to the desired relative angular positions thereof for stretching the affected muscle.

The main object of this invention is to provide a splint for yielding biasing limb portions on opposite sides of a connecting joint toward a predetermined angular position in which an affected muscle will be stretched.

Another object of this invention, in accordance with the immediately preceding object, is to provide a splint which will automatically sense contracture and spasticity of the affected muscle by the resultant angular displacement of one associated limb portion relative to the other and cause pulsating direct current to be supplied to trigger points of an antagonistic or opposing muscle to thereby contract the same and inhibit the spastic muscle causing it to relax and enable the related limb portions to return toward the desired relative angular positions thereof.

Another important object of this invention is to provide multiple forms of splints utilizing the basic operational concepts of the invention, whereby splints constructed in accordance with the present invention may be utilized in conjunction with various body joints.

A final object of this invention to be specifically enumerated herein is to provide a splint construction in accordance with the preceding objects and which will conform to conventional forms of manufacture, be of simple construction and easy to use, so as to provide a device that will be economically feasible, long lasting and relatively trouble free in use.

These together with other objects and advantages which will become subsequently apparent reside in the details of construction and operation as more fully hereinafter described and claimed, reference being had to the accompanying drawings forming a part hereof, wherein like numerals refer to like parts throughout.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a first form of splint constructed in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the splint illustrated in FIG. 1 as applied to the lower leg and foot of a patient;

FIG. 3 is a longitudinal, vertical, sectional view, taken substantially upon a plane passing through the longitudinal center of the splint illustrated in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a transverse, vertical, sectional view, taken substantially upon the plane indicated by the section line 44 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of a modified form of splint constructed in accordance with the present invention; and

FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of the splint illustrated in FIG. 5 as applied across the knee joint of the leg of a patient, the leg being illustrated in phantom lines.

Referring now more specifically to FIGS. 1 through 4 of the drawings, the numeral 10 generally designates a first form of splint constructed in accordance with the present invention. The splint 10 includes a first elongated panel-like portion 12 including interconnected top and bottom walls 14 and 16, opposite end walls 18 and 20 and opposite side walls 22 and 24. The panellike member 12 is accordingly hollow and the side walls 22 and 24 include longitudinally spaced and transversely aligned apertures 26.

A second paneHike member 28 including interconnected top and bottom walls 30 and 32, opposite end walls 34 and 36 and opposite side walls 38 and 40 has the end of its top wall 30 adjacent the end wall 34 pivotally attached, by means of a piano hinge 42, to the end of the top wall 14 adjacent the end wall 18. Accordingly, the second panel-like member 28 may be pivoted relative to the panel-like member 12 from the position thereof illustrated in FIG. 1 in end alignment with the panel-like member 12 to the position thereof illustrated in FIGS. 2, 3 and 4, with the free end of the panel-like member 28 swung upwardly and the panellike member 28 disposed substantially 90 relative to the panel-like member 12.

A pair of U-shaped bracing rods 44, including rightangled end portions 46 and 48 have their end portions 48 received through apertures 50 formed in the opposite side walls 38 and 40 of the panel member 28 and their end portions 46 received through corresponding apertures 26 formed in the side walls 22 and 24. Accordingly, the panel-like member 28 may be secured in adjusted angular position relative to the panel member 12.

The opposite ends of a flexible ankle strap 54 are attached as at 56 to the end portions of the side walls 22 and 24 adjacent the end wall 18 and a second restraint strap 58 is attached as at 60 to the side walls 38 and 40 of the panel-like member 28. It may be seen from a comparison of FIGS. 1 and 3 of the drawings that the strap 54 includes a pair of strap sections 62 and 64 whose free ends include Velcro-type fastening means 66 and that the restraint strap 58 includes a pair of strap sections 70 and 72 whose free ends include Velcro attaching means 74. Also, a second restraint strap 76 is secured to the end portions of the side walls 22 and 24 adjacent the end wall 20 as at 78 and the strap 76 likewise comprises a pair of strap sections 80 and 82 whose free ends include Velcro-type fastening means 84.

The end wall 36 of the panel-like member 28 includes a traction anchor lug 86 and one end of a traction line 88 is anchored thereto as at 90. Also, the panel-like member 28 includes an electrical switch assembly 92, including a pair of stationary contacts 94 and a movable bridging element 96 yieldingly biased toward the contact bridging position by means of a compression spring 98. Also, a bridging element 96 includes an actuator shaft portion 100 which is slidably received through an aperture 102 formed in a cover plate 104 for the switch assembly 92, the cover plate 104 overlying a switch accommodating opening 106 formed in the top wall 30 of the panel-like member 28 adjacent the end wall 38 and piano hinge 42.

Accompanying the splint assembly is an alternating current actuated pulsating direct current producer referred to in general by the reference numeral 10% and including an extension cord 110 for connection to a suitable source of alternating current. The producer 108 includes a control 112 for varying the voltage of the direct current developed thereby and also a pair of direct current leads 1 14 and 1 16 including skin contact terminals 118 on their free ends.

In operation, a patients leg, ankle and foot are secured to the splint assembly 10 in the manner illustrated in FIGS. 2, 3, and 4, with the lower leg portion 119 of the patient strapped to the panel-like member 12 by means of the strap 76, the free end of his foot 120 anchored to the panel-like member 28 by the strap 58 and the ankle 122 of the patient secured to the splint assembly 10 by means of the strap 54 with the heel 124 of the patient depressing the actuator shank portion 100 of the bridging element 96 so as to open the switch assembly 92. The terminals or contacts 1 16 are secured over the trigger point of the tibialis anterior muscle.

With the splint 10 in use as illustrated in FIGS. 2 through 4 of the drawings, the plantar flexor muscle is stretched and any contracture or spasticity of this muscle will cause the heel 124 to move away from cover plate 104 and to thus relieve pressure on the actuating shank portion 100 carried by the bridging element 96 thereby allowing the bridging element 96 to bridge the contacts 94 and to cause pulsating direct current generated by the producer 108 to cross the trigger points for the tibialis anterior muscle. This current causes the tibialis anterior muscle to contract in a pulsating manner to inhibit the spastic plantar flexor muscle causing it to relax and thus enabling the heel 124 to again resume the position illustrated in FIG. 3.

Of course, the braces 44 enable the foot 120 to be anchored to the splint in various angular positions according to the adjusted angular position of the panel-like member 28 relative to the panel-like member 12.

With attention now invited more specifically to FIGS. 5 and 6 of the drawings, there may be seen a second form of splint assembly referred to in general by the reference numeral 130. The splint 130 includes a U- shaped tubular member 132 having a pair of tubular legs 134 and 136 interconnected at one pair of corre sponding ends by means of an integral tubular bight portion 138. Also, a second U-shaped tubular member 140 of slightly smaller diameter is provided and includes a pair of tubular legs 142 and 144 interconnected at one pair of corresponding ends by means of an integral tubular pipe portion 146. The legs 142 and 144 are slidingly telescoped into the legs 134 and 136. Also, the ends of the legs 134 and 136 adjacent the bight portion 138. Also, a second U-shaped tubular member of slightly smaller diameter is provided and includes a pair of tubular legs 142 and 144 interconnected at pair of corresponding ends by means of an integral tubular bight portion 146. The legs 142 and 144 are slidingly telescoped into the legs 134 and 136. Also, the ends of the legs 134 and 136 adjacent the bight portion 138 include transversely aligned pivot anchors 148 from which a first pad 150 is oscillatably supported and the ends of the legs 142 and 144 adjacent the bight portion 146 include pivot anchors 152 from which a second pad 154 is oscillatably supported. The pad 150 includes a strap 156 comprising a pair of strap sections 158 and 160 secured at one pair of corresponding ends to the opposite sides of the pad 150 and including Velcro-type fastening means 162 at the other paid of ends. In addition, the pad 154 includes a strap 164 including a pair of strap sections 166 and 168 secured at one pair of corresponding ends to the opposite sides of the pad 154 and including Velcro fastening means 170 on their other pair of corresponding ends.

A third strap is provided and includes a pair of elastic strap sections 182 and 184 secured to {the ends of the tubular legs 134 and 136 remote from the bight portion 138 and one pair of corresponding ends. The strap member 182 includes a free end portion which is adjustably anchorable, as at 186 to a kneecap pad 188 carried by the free end of the strap section 184.

A switch assembly 190 corresponding to the switch assembly 92 and including an actuator 192 corresponding to the actuator shank portion 100 is secured to the tubular leg 136 as at 194 and is serially connected in a conductor 196 corresponding to the conductor 1 14 having the switch assembly 92 serially connected therein and which extends from a pulsating direct current producer 198 corresponding to the producer 108. A pair of conductors 200 and 201 are connected at one pair of ends to the conductor 196 on opposite sides of the switch assembly 190 and the other pair of ends of the conductors include skin contact terminals 202 and 204 similar to terminals 116.

The actuator 192 for the normally closed switch 190 is opposed by a switch actuator rod 206 carried by the tubular leg 144 telescoped into the tubular leg 136 which carries the switch assembly 190. Accordingly, movement of the legs 142 and 144 toward positions further telescoped into the legs 134 and 136 causes the actuator or operator 206 to engage and depress the actuator portion 192 of the switch assembly 190 to open the latter.

In operation, the portions of a persons leg 210 on opposite sides of the knee joint are secured by means of the straps 156 and 164 to the oscillatable pads 150 and 154 and the knee strap 180 is secured over the knee portion of the leg 210. Thereafter, the skin contact terminals 202 and 204 are attached to the desired muscle trigger points on the upper leg. Thereafter, any spasticity of muscles causing the leg 210 to bend will move the knee portion of the leg 210 away from the tubular members 134 and 136 and effectively shorten the distance between the pads 150 and 154 causing the operator 206 to engage and depress the switch actuator 192 thereby opening the normally closed switch assembly 190 and causing pulsating direct current to be delivered to the skin contact terminals 202 and 204 for a'ctuating opposing muscles in a pulsating manner for the purpose of inhibiting the spastic muscle tending to cause the leg 210 to bend at the knee.

It may, therefore, be seen that the splint 130 operates in generally the same manner as the splint in order to overcome muscle spasticity. Of course, the splint 130 is slightly different in construction from the splint 10 in order to provide a structure which may be used on the knee joint as opposed to the ankle joint.

The foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.

What is claimed as new is as follows:

1. In combination, an elongated splint structure, said splint structure including means for clamp anchoring body limb portions, joined by an articulative body joint, to said aplint structure for support of said body portions in predetermined angularly related positions, said splint including switch means for actuation in response to relative angular displacement of said body limb portions in one direction from said predetermined positions thereof, said switch means being electrically connected in an electrical circuit including a pair of skin contact terminals adapted to be disposed upon skin areas overlying trigger points for a muscle bridging said joint and contractable to cause relative displacement of said limb portions in the other direction toward said predetermined positions of said limb portions, and a source of electrical potential connected in said circuit, said splint structure including a pair of elongated members lengthwise slidably supported relative to each other for shifting between extended and collapsed positions, each of said members including clamp means for clamping said upper and lower leg portions thereto with the said leg portions extending along said member, yieldingly expansible means carried by one of said members for engagement with and yieldingly biasing the knee joint connecting said leg portions toward a position with said leg portions substantially aligned.

2. The combination of claim 1 wherein said source of electrical potential includes means for discharging pulsating variable voltage current.

3. The combination of claim 1 wherein said switch means includes actuator means operative to actuate said switch means in response to movement of said elongated members from said extended positions toward the collapsed positions thereof.

4. The combination of claim 3 wherein said elongated members comprise tubular U-shaped members of different diameter tubular stock opening toward each other and with the leg portions of one of said U-shaped members slidingly telescopingly engaged with the leg portions of the other U-shaped member.

5. The combination of claim 4 wherein said means for clamp anchoring body limb portions to said splint structure include limb cradles pivotally supported from the remote end portions of said U-shaped members for oscillation about axes extending transversely of said U- shaped members, adjustable strap means for strapping the corresponding limb portion in each cradle and a flexible and elastic adjustable length strap for strap anchoring said body joint to one of said U-shaped members intermediate said cradles.

6. In combination, an elongated splint structure, said splint structure including means for clamp anchoring body limb portions, joined by an articulative body joint, to said splint structure for support of said body portions in perdetermined angularly related positions, said splint including switch means for actuation in response to relative angular displacement of said body limb portions in one direction from said predetermined positions thereof, said switch means being electrically connected in an electrical circuit including a pair of skin contact terminals adapted to be disposed upon skin areas overlying trigger points for a muscle bridging said joint and contractable to cause relative displacement of said limb portions in the other direction toward said predetermined positions of said limb portions, and a source of electrical potential connected in said circuit, said splint structure comprising first and second pivotally interconnected elongated members relatively angularly displaceable between end aligned positions and positions with said elongated members disposed at generally right angles relative to each other, means interconnecting said elongated members operative to lock said members in adjusted predetermined relatively angularly displaced positions, said switch means including an actuator adapted to be engaged by a portion of said body joint and operated thereby in response to movement of said body joint relative to said splint structure due to angular displacement of said body limb portions relative to each other and said elongated members.

7. The combination of claim 6 wherein said source of electrical potential includes means for discharging pulsating variable voltage current.

8. The combination of claim 6 wherein said means for clamp anchoring body limb portions to said splint structure includes an adjustable length strap carried by each of said elongated members and adapted to be secured about the corresponding body limb portion.

9. The combination of claim 8 wherein said means for clamp anchoring body limb portions to said splint structure also includes a flexible and elastic adjustable length strap carried by one of said elongated members adjacent the other elongated member for strap anchoring said body joint to said one elongated member.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3083712 *Nov 29, 1961Apr 2, 1963Heinicke Instr Co IncDevice for producing electrical muscle trerapy
US3204637 *Feb 7, 1963Sep 7, 1965Frank Erich JStimulating apparatus
US3344792 *Jan 13, 1965Oct 3, 1967Liberson Wladimir TMethod of muscular stimulation in human beings to aid in walking
US3628538 *Sep 4, 1969Dec 21, 1971Nat Res DevApparatus for stimulating muscles controlled by the same muscles
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4398545 *Jun 16, 1981Aug 16, 1983Cyclotechnical Medical Industries, Inc.Pain-blocking bandage
US4421336 *Sep 14, 1982Dec 20, 1983Wright State UniversityVehicle for the paralyzed
US4480830 *Sep 14, 1982Nov 6, 1984Wright State UniversityMethod and apparatus for exercising
US4492233 *Sep 14, 1982Jan 8, 1985Wright State UniversityMethod and apparatus for providing feedback-controlled muscle stimulation
US4499900 *Nov 26, 1982Feb 19, 1985Wright State UniversitySystem and method for treating paralyzed persons
US4520827 *Feb 9, 1984Jun 4, 1985Empi, Inc.NMS aided continuous passive motion apparatus
US4556214 *Aug 24, 1984Dec 3, 1985Wright State UniversityMethod and apparatus for exercising
US4586495 *Jul 2, 1984May 6, 1986Wright State UniversityTherapy system for acute patient care
US5215522 *Apr 5, 1991Jun 1, 1993Ballard Medical ProductsSingle use medical aspirating device and method
US5277177 *Jul 16, 1991Jan 11, 1994Ballard Medical ProductsSingle use medical aspirating device and method
US5330516 *Mar 27, 1992Jul 19, 1994Ben-Gurion University Of The Negev Research & Development AuthorityDevice for generating hand function
US5540735 *Dec 12, 1994Jul 30, 1996Rehabilicare, Inc.Apparatus for electro-stimulation of flexing body portions
US5611336 *Mar 30, 1995Mar 18, 1997Ballard Medical Products, Inc.For aspirating secretions from a medical patient's lungs
US6961622Oct 31, 2002Nov 1, 2005The Russel Group LlcDevice for surface stimulation of acupuncture points
US7162305 *Oct 23, 2002Jan 9, 2007The Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityFunctional electrical stimulation system
US7883479 *Aug 5, 2005Feb 8, 2011The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The Air ForceStability augmentation system
US8070703May 19, 2009Dec 6, 2011Vision Quest Industries IncorporatedElectrically stimulating orthotic device and segmented liner
US8454543Jul 27, 2009Jun 4, 2013Vision Quest Industries IncorporatedElectrodes for orthotic device
DE2800705A1 *Jan 9, 1978Jul 12, 1979Robert SchrieverGeraet zur eindaemmung und/oder verhinderung des koppens bei pferden
EP0103490A2 *Sep 14, 1983Mar 21, 1984Wright State UniversityExercising apparatus
EP0103491A1 *Sep 14, 1983Mar 21, 1984Wright State UniversityMethod and apparatus for providing feedback-controlled muscle stimulation
EP0797421A1 *Dec 12, 1995Oct 1, 1997Rehabilicare, Inc.Apparatus for electro-stimulation of flexing body portions
EP0965360A1 *Jun 17, 1998Dec 22, 1999Correction Pes S.r.l.Apparatus for the bloodless, non-invasive correction of alterartions of the arch of the foot
WO2011146150A1 *Jan 31, 2011Nov 24, 2011Vision Quest Industries Incorporated Dba Vq OrthocareBracing and electrostimulation for arthritis
Classifications
U.S. Classification602/2, 623/24, 607/72, 607/48
International ClassificationA61N1/36
Cooperative ClassificationA61N1/36003
European ClassificationA61N1/36A