US 3922727 A
Apparatus enabling an amputee to attach an artificial limb to a stump without assistance using a reversible motor, with a hand held control, to drive a shaft engaging a stump stocking and allowing easy control of the tension in the stocking and permitting the amputee to stand erect while using his hands to put on the artificial limb.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Bianco 1 1 Dec. 2, 1975  APPARATUS TO ASSIST FASTENING OF AN 2,893,016 7/1959 Zion 3/1 ARTIFICIAL FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1 lnventorl Frank Blane", 30-75 14th Long 617,617 2/1949 United Kingdom 318/282 Island City, N.Y. 11102  Filed: July 17, 1974 Primary ExaminerRonald L. Frinks Appl. No.: 489,235
 U.S.Cl. 3/l;3/1.1;3/17 SS  Int. Cl. A6lF 1/00; A61F 1/02  Field of Search ..3/1,1.l, 17 R, 17 SS;
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,315,997 4/1943 Ginsberg 128/25 R 2,666,927 1/1954 Morheiser 3/1 Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Darby & Darby  ABSTRACT Apparatus enabling an amputee to attach an artificial limb to a stump without assistance using a reversible motor, with a hand held control, to drive a shaft engaging a stump stocking and allowing easy control of the tension in the stocking and permitting the amputee to stand erect while using his hands to put on the artificial limb.
4 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures US. Patent Dec. 2, 1975 FIG. 2
APPARATUS TO ASSIST FASTENING OF AN ARTIFICIAL LIMB BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The task of inserting, aligning and fastening an artificial limb to a stump is often an ardous and painful task for an amputee, particularly an above the knee amputee, to perform by himself. One common type of artificial limb is strapless and hollowed out on the inside to form a cavity that conforms approximately with the stump shape. The resulting fit between the stump and the limb produces a partial vacuum sufficient to hold the artificial limb to the stump. However, the necessity for a precise fit requires that the artificial limb be put on carefully so that the stump and limb are properly aligned to permit a comfortable fit and to insure that the artificial limb will stay on the stump.
With the usual manner of putting on an artificial limb, the necessary precise fit is difficult for the amputee to achieve without assistance, particularly if the amputation was above the knee. The dressing process begins by drawing a stump stocking, made of a soft and elastic material, over the stump and up to the crotch. While the amputee is standing, the lower end of the stocking is put into the cavity in the artificial limb and pulled out through a hole in the side of the artificial limb. The cavity has a shoulder to support the stump and the hole is below the shoulder. The stump is then inserted into the cavity and the stocking withdrawn through the hole to help pull the stump into the cavity.
During the process, while working without assistance, the amputee must bend over to withdraw the stocking from the cavity with one hand while guiding the stump and smoothing the stocking surface with the other hand. This leads to a difficult and fatiguing balancing act. In one proposed prior art device, shown in U.S. Pat. No. 2,666,927, an arrangement was provided to permit the amputee to manually withdraw the stocking through the hole of the artificial limb by a cord attached to the stocking. The cord passed around a pulley and the amputee applied tension to the cord. While this arrangement permitted the amputee to remain standing erect and maintain his balance, it required maintenance of the proper tension on the stocking by the amputee exerting a controlled amount of force on the cord. This is difficult for an amputee to do while attempting to attach the limb. Also, this device did not permit the amputee to have both hands free to be used in aligning the stump and artificial limb while smoothing the stocking. In addition, it required a special stocking having a metal link that was attached to the cord and pulley arrangement.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide apparatus to assist an amputee to put on an artificial limb without assistance.
A further object is to provide such apparatus to permit the amputee to stand erect and use both hands in putting on an artificial limb.
Another object is to provide an apparatus that does not require a special stocking.
Yet another object is to provide such apparatus that uses an electric motor to control the application of tension to the stocking.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the invention an apparatus is provided to enable an amputee to put on an artificial limb of the conventional type, with a cavity having a shape support the stump. without assistance from another person. The apparatus utilizes the conventional stocking, or Stockinette. which is first put on the stump with the lower end of the socking extending through the hole in the cavity below the shoulder. The apparatus includes a reversible motor having an output shaft to which the stocking is attached. A hand control switch is provided for the amputee to control the duration and direction of rotation of the motor. In operation the amputee stump is inserted into the cavity and the motor used to control the tension in the stocking as it is withdrawn through the hole in the limb while the amputee aligns the stump into proper position. This arrangement permits the amputee to stand erect as the limb is put on and allows him to have both hands free to align the limb and stump and to smooth the stocking. This results in a more precise and rapid insertion of the stump without fatigue.
The scope of the invention will be more fully apparent from consideration of the following description of a preferred embodiment of the invention described with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the apparatus and showing the lower limb of the amputee for explanation purposes;
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the motor and its base.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT FIG. 1 shows the left leg stump 10 of an amputee, illustratively shown as amputatedabove the knee, and an artificial limb L. The limb is of conventional construction and includes a lower member 1 and an upper member 4 which are suitably hinged together to permit articulation. Lower member I is shaped to resemble the leg below the knee and upper member 4 is shaped to resemble the thigh. Upper member 4 has a stump cavity 7 shaped generally to conform to stump 10. The interior of stump cavity 7 has a shoulder 8 that provides a stable support for the bottom of stump 10. Opening 13, which is normally on what would be the inside of the thigh, communicates with cavity 7 and provides a path so that a stump stocking 16 may be drawn through cavity 7.
A stump stocking 16, made of a soft elastic material that conforms to the shape of the stump 10, is used with the invention. Stocking 16 may be a conventional stump stocking such as a Stockinette but it needs no special shape or attachment to be used with this invention.
A conventional electric motor 22 is mounted on a base plate 17. Motor 22 is reversible and is controlled by switches 28 on a control box 31 which both turn motor 22 on and off and control the direction of rotation of motor 22. Power cord 23 is connected to any suitable source of electrical current. Control box 31, preferably shaped to be hand held, is connected to motor 22 by a control cord 34 of sufficient length to enable the amputee to stand comfortably erect with both his leg and the artificial limb on base plate 17 while holding control box 31 in either hand.
Motor 22 drives a slotted shaft 19 through a suitable gearing system (not shown) so the shaft 19 turns at a relatively slow speed, for example approximately 25 revolutions per minute in either direction. Shaft 19 should be long enough to permit the stocking 16 to be gathered on it.
The upper end of stump stocking 16 is pulled over stump up to the crotch. The lower end of stocking 16 is passed through opening 13 and stocking 16 is securely engaged to slotted shaft 19. It is to be understood that this method of engagement is only one embodiment and that other mechanical attachments, such as a clamp, can be used. With the amputee standing on base plate 17, switches 28 are manipulated until sufficient stocking material is gathered about rod 19 to create a gentle tension in stocking l6. Stump 10 is then inserted into cavity 7. The amputee may use his hands to smooth stocking 16 and guide stump 10 into cavity 7 while holding control box 31 and manipulating switches 28 so that motor 22 draws stocking 16 downward through opening 13 and onto rod 19. Since motor 22 is reversible, switches 28 may be used to either increase, decrease or maintain constant the tension on stocking 16 as it draws stump. 10 into cavity 7. Use of an electric motor permits maintenance of the desired tension in the stocking without tiring the amputee and use both hands in putting on the artificial limmb.
After stump 10 is comfortably positioned within cavity 7, the amputee uses motor 22 to draw the remainder of stocking 16 out of cavity 7. After stocking 16 is completely withdrawn, the amputee seals opening 13 with a cap (not shown) provided by the manufacturer of the artificial limb. The artificial limb is maintained securely in position by the suction effect created between cavity 7 and the exterior of the artificial limb if the stump begins to withdraw from the cavity.
If motor 22 is sufficiently heavy to remain stable on the floor while the stocking is being withdrawn from the stump, base plate 17 need not be large enough for the amputee to stand on; Motor 22 could be mounted directly to the floor.
What is claimed is:
1. Apparatus for assisting an amputee in fitting to a stump of his amputated limb an artificial limb of the type having a cavity therein with a hole through the limb providing access to the cavity comprising:
an elongated stocking having one end passing through the hole into said cavity and adapted to fit over the end of the stump,
a reversible electric motor having an output shaft,
I means on said output shaft for holding the part of the stocking extending outside of the artificial limb, said stocking being wound or unwound as said output shaft is rotated in one direction or the other,
control switch means electrically connected to said motor to control the operation and the direction of rotation of its output shaft to control the tension on the stocking to draw the stocking off the limb and through said hole of the artificial limb as the stump is fit into the cavity of the artificial limb, and
an elongated control cable electrically connected between said motor and said control switch means so that said control switch means can be held by the hand of the amputee fitting the artificial limb.
2. Apparatus as in claim 1 wherein said means on said shaft for holding the stocking comprises a slot formed on said shaft.
3. Apparatus as in claim 1 further comprises a base plate on which said motor is mounted, said base plate including an extending portion adopted for the artificial limb to be placed thereon.
4. Apparatus as in claim 3 wherein said base plate is large enough to accommodate both feet of the amputee.