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Publication numberUS3928872 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 30, 1975
Filing dateSep 18, 1974
Priority dateSep 18, 1974
Publication numberUS 3928872 A, US 3928872A, US-A-3928872, US3928872 A, US3928872A
InventorsJohnson Albert F
Original AssigneeJohnson Albert F
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Leg support device for skiing
US 3928872 A
Abstract
A skiing device securable to each leg of a skier for providing flexural knee and leg support. An upper support means positionable about the skier's leg above the knee is interconnected by spring means with a lower support means positionable about the skier's leg below the knee. The spring means are securably maintained within coupling means mounted to the upper and lower support means. In this manner, with the skier in a crouched position, part of the upper body weight is supported other than by the knees of the skier, and the skier can more easily absorb bumbs while maintaining better balance and control over the skies.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Johnson i Dec. 30, 1975 LEG SUPPORT DEVICE FOR SKIING [76] Inventor: Albert F. Johnson, 2509 Blueberry Road, Spenard, Alaska 99503 [22] Filed: Sept. 18, 1974 [21] Appl. No.: 507,001

[52] US. Cl. 2/22; 128/80 C; 36/25 AL [51] Int. Cl. A41D 13/00 [58] Field of Search 2/22; 36/25 AL; 128/80 C, 128/80 F [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,446,230 2/1923 Welter 128/80.C

1,510,408 9/1924 Lychou 128/80 C X 2,532,955 12/1950 Shook 2/22 3,084,685 4/1963 Lewis 128/80 C 3,387,305 6/1968 Shafer 2/22 3,665,619 5/1972 Gray 36/25 AL 3,669,105 6/1972 Castiglia 2/22 X 3,678,603 7/1972 Kaufman 36/2.5 AL

Primary ExaminerAlfred R. Guest Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Graybeal, Barnard, Uhlir & Hughes [57] ABSTRACT A skiing device securable to each leg of a skier for providing flexural knee and leg support. An upper support means positionable about the skiers leg above the knee is interconnected by spring means with a lower support means positionable about the skiers leg below the knee. The spring means are securably maintained within coupling means mounted to the upper and lower support means. In this manner, with the skier in a crouched position, part of the upper body weight is supported other than by the knees of the skier, and the skier can more easily absorb bumbs while maintaining better balance and control over th skies.

18 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures US. Patent Dec. 30, 1975 SheetlofZ 3,928,872

US. Patent Dec. 30, 1975 SheetZ 0f2 3,928,872

LEG SUPPORT DEVICE FOR SKIING BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to skiing devices and more particularly to a device which provides flexibility and support for the skiers legs.

2. Description of the Prior Art In the sport of skiing and in particular downhill snow skiing, a skiers knees are quite important inasmuch as they are constantly bent and must support the entire upper body weight. Furthermore, the knees are continually flexed to absorb the shock of bumps as well as to weight and unweight the skis while making parallel turns. Due to this, it is highly desirable to have a device which supports the knees by transferring some of the upper body weight to the lower legs as well as aid the knees in flexing during skiing.

A number of leg and/or knee support devices are known, such as those disclosed in US. Pat. No. 3,055,359, No. 3,589,359, No. 3,669,105 and No. 3,677,265. None of these devices, however, are designed particularly for use in skiing. Furthermore, none of the prior devices aid in knee flexing or provide for weight transference to the lower leg. Rather, these devices are designed to restrict in one fashion or another movement of the knee and/or leg, mainly for medical reasons.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is, therefore, a primary object of the present invention to provide a device for use by a skier which reduces the weight load carried by the knees.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a device for use by skiers which enables the skier to more readily absorb the shocks incurred by bumps and dips in the supporting surface.

It is a final object of the present invention to provide a device for use by a skier which aids in flexing of the knees while simultaneously reducing the strain incurred thereby.

To achieve the above and other objects, in accordance with the present invention, an upper support means which is positionable about the skiers leg above the knee is provided, including means for securing it thereto. A lower support means positionable about the skiers leg below the knee is also provided and includes means for securing it thereto. In a preferred form, the upper support means comprises a substantially rigid concave plate positionable about the rearward portion of the skiers leg above the knee. The upper plate may additionally include a projecting tongue portion extending toward the skiers waist and engaging the rearmost portion of the skiers upper leg when the device is in position, thus providing for maximum leverage. The lower support means comprises a substantially rigid concave plate positionable about the rearward portion of the skiers leg below the knee and in one form is a concave cuff positionable about the ankle portion of the skiers leg exterior to the skiers boot. Spring means interconnect the upper and lower support means, and coupling means, preferably located on both sides of both the upper and lower support means, securely maintain the spring means therein so as to interconnect the upper and lower support means in an intersprung fashion.

In the preferred form, the spring means comprise a pair of beam spring members which pass through orifices located in the coupling means on either side of both upper and lower support plates. In this manner, part of the upper torso weight is transferred directly to the lower leg so as to remove it from the knees. In addition, the elasticity and deflection characteristics of the beam spring members enable the skier to gently bob up and down while skiing so as to provide for easy weighting and unweighting of the skis for turning and balance. Furthermore, the beam spring members also help absorb the shocks of bumps and dips in the snow or like surface so as to enable the skier to more readily maintain and control his balance and weight distribution.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a front perspective view illustrating one embodiment of a pair of devices constructed according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 secured to the legs of a skier and in an essentially unstressed condition.

FIG. 3 is a similar side elevational view of the embodiment of FIG. 2, the device being in a stressed con dition with the skier crouched.

FIG. 4 is a front perspective view illustrating a second embodiment of a pair of devices constructed according to the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a side elevational view of the embodiment of FIG. 4 secured to the legs ofa skier and in an essentially unstressed condition.

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view taken substantially along line 6-6 of FIG. 4 and illustrating one embodiment of the coupling means for the upper support means.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION With reference to the embodiment represented in FIGS. 1 through 3, a pair of flexible leg supports 10 is shown. Each leg support 10 includes an upper support means 12 positionable about the skiers leg above the knee, and a lower support means 13 positionable about the skiers leg below the knee. In the illustrated form, upper support means 12 is a substantially rigid, concave plate 14 sized and shaped to fit snugly against the rear portion of the skiers leg above the knee, the center section of plate 14 being removed so as to reduce the pressure against the skiers leg when plate 14 is in position. In like manner, lower support means 13 is a substantially rigid, concave plate 15 sized and shaped to snugly fit against the rear portion of a skiers leg below the knee, with the center section thereof being removed to reduce the pressure against the skiers calf when in position. Plates I4 and 15 may be constructed from any substantially rigid material, although stainless steel or injection molded plastic are preferred.

Upper and lower support means 12, 13 may be secured to the legs of a skier in any manner. In one form, orifices 16 are provided on each longitudinal edge of plate 14 through which lace 18 may pass. Likewise, orifices 20 are provided along each longitudinal edge of plate 15 through which lace 22 may pass. In this manner, plates 14, 15 are positioned against the rearward portion of the skiers leg above and below the knee, and laces 18, 22 are then passed, respectively, through orifices 16, 20 and over the forward portions of the skiers leg so as to secure plates 14, 15 in place.

Coupling means 24 are ,disposed on both sides of upper support means 12, and coupling means 25 are likewise provided on both sides of lower support means 13. In the illustrated form, coupling means 24, 25 are U-shaped brackets having projecting ear portions 26 and 27, respectively. Brackets 24, 25 are mounted longitudinally on each side of plates 14 and 15, each bracket preferably having an orifice in each projecting ear portion 26, 27. Conveniently, brackets 24, 25 may be constructed from 4130 steel, although any material of sufficient strength may be utilized depending upon the material selected for plates 14, 15.

A second embodiment of a pair of leg supports embodying the invention is shown at FIGS. 4-6. Similar to the previous embodiment, each leg support 10' includes an upper support means 12' positionable about the skiers leg above the knee, a lower support means 13' positionable about the skiers leg below the knee, coupling means 24' disposed on both sides of upper support means 12', and coupling means 25 disposed on both sides of lower support means 13'. In this particular embodiment, upper support means 12' is also a substantially rigid, concave plate 14' sized and shaped to fit snugly against the rear portion of the skiers leg above the knee, the center section of plate 14' being removed. However, plate 14 may additionally include a projecting tongue portion 28 which extends toward the skiers waist and engages the rearmost portion of the skiers upper leg to provide even greater support and maximum leverage for the skier, the extension preferably being about five to 6 inches in length. The lower support means 13' is a substantially rigid, concave plate in the form of a cuff 33 adapted to fit about the rearward ankle portion of the skiers leg exterior to the skiers boot. This particular embodiment is especially preferred when the boots have rigid or plastic shells and are of the high top type (i.e. extend above the ankle), since the plastic boot shell will absorb the downward spring means load.

The upper support plate 14' of this second embodiment may be secured to the leg of a skier in the same manner as illustrated in FIGS. 1 3. However, it may also be secured to the leg of a skier, as illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, by two straps 29 and 30 attached to each edge of plate 14' with buckle means 31 and 32 of conventional design interposed intermediate the lengths of straps 29 and 30. The lower support cuff 33 is preferably secured to the skiers ankle by providing a similar strap 34 attached to each edge of cuff 33 and a buckle means 35 of conventional design interposed intermediate the length of strap 34. This arrangement is preferred due to the short length of the edges of cuff 33.

The coupling means 24' on either side of upper support plate 14 may be as previously described or as illustrated in FIGS. 4 6. In this second embodiment, coupling means 24' include two concave members 36 securely mounted about the upper and lower portions of plate 14 approximately six inches apart. Members 36 may be intermolded into plate 14' or secured about the exterior of plate 14' as illustrated herein. Each member 36 preferably includes a U-shaped wire 38 surrounded by a tubular molding portion 40. Each wire 38 terminates at both ends in a rounded portion 42 to form an orifice or channel at each end through which the spring means'passes, as described below. Conveniently, wire 38 can be 10 gage-0.101 wire or sixteen gage x 1 inch strap stock, although any known conventional material may be used.

Due to the short height of cuff 33 as compared to plate 15, the coupling means 25' of the second embodiment preferably includes tubular members 44 securely mounted to each side of cuff 33 and through which the spring means pass. In preferred form, swage-type fittings 46 are secured about the spring means at both ends of each tubular member 44 to prevent the spring means from slipping through members 44 when a load is imposed thereon.

Referring to FIGS. 1 6, the spring means which interconnect the upper and lower leg support means l2, l3 and 12', 13 of each device 10 and 10', respectively, are preferably a pair of beam spring members 48, 50 which are mounted within coupling means 24, 25 and 24, 25. When devices 10 and 10' are initially positioned on the legs of a skier, members 48, 50 are in an initial position of no stress. Members 48, 50 are constructed from a spring quality metal having deflection characteristics and an elasticity such that deflection of members 48, 50 caused by bending of the knees produces stress therein which tends to relatively straighten members 48, 50 and return them to their initial position of no stress. In preferred form, beam spring members 48, 50 are a pair of rods or bars which pass through the orifices present in coupling means 24, 25 and 24, 25 so as to securely link plates 12, 13 and 12', 13', respectively, together in such a manner that bars 48, 50 are arranged on both sides of a skiers leg and maintained generally parallel with the axis of the skiers leg when device 10 and device 10' are in position. Conveniently, torsion bars may be used for bars 48, 50, although bars 48, 50 are generally not subjected to torsional stress. Ring portions 52, 54 are provided at the upper ends of bars 48, 50 to enable ready removal of the bars from plates l2, l3 and 12, 13 in order to put on and take off the device as well as replace bars 48, S0 with different strength bars. In addition, it is preferred that bars 48, 50 be permanently slightly bent intermediate their lengths between plates 12, 13 and between plates 12, 13' at points 56, 58. In this manner, as indicated in FIGS. 2 and 5, the knees tend to be kept in a flexed or bent position when the devices 10 and 10' are secured to the skiers legs in an unstressed condition. This feature helps the skier avoid inadvertent complete straightening of his legs and consequent loss of control over his skis.

The loading strength of the spring bars 48, 50 utilized in the present invention may vary considerably. The particular strength selected will depend upon the weight and height'of the skier as well as the skiers experience, ability and individual preference. It is believed, however, that a loading strength of between about ten and thirty pounds is adequate for most weight and height ranges. For example, the inventor of the subject invention is 5 feet 10 inches, weighs pounds and finds that torsion bars having a 24 pound loading strength provide good flexibility and support when skiing.

When the present invention is secured to the legs of a skier, it is preferred that a one-half inch foam rubber liner be placed between the inside surface of plates l2, 13, 12' and 13 and the skiers legs in order to avoid any rubbing or chafing which possibly might occur if the plates were to be placed directly against the legs themselves.

In skiing, the downhill skier normally keeps his legs bent at the knees with his weight pressing his legs against the forward top portion of the ski boots. When passing over bumps or moguls, the skier normally time his legs considerably. Furthermore, the skier must weight and unweight his skis by bending and straightening at the knees in order to make efficient parallel turns. All of this action causes the skiers knees to tire and perhaps even weaken. The device of the present invention, however, tends to keep the skiers legs bent at the knees in a proper skiing fashion, and during flexing of the knees and crouching of the skier, weight is transferred directly from the upper support plate to the lower support plate by way of a load imposed on the beam spring members so that the upper body weight carried and supported at the knees is reduced. This weight distribution enables the skier to rest his legs and knees since a portion of the skiers weight is supported by the beam spring members. In addition, the flexing of the beam spring members as the skier moves up and down while skiing aids the skier considerably in this movement, thereby reducing the amount of strain and fatigue to the legs. Finally, when skiing over a series of small bumps and dips, the beam spring members of the present device act as shock absorbers, thereby enabling the skier to more readily maintain his balance, weight distribution and control over the skis by allowing the skier to bob up and down gently.

It will be understood that the invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or central characteristics thereof. The present examples and embodiments, therefore, are to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive, and the invention is not to be limited to the details given herein but may be modified within the scope of the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

1. A leg support device securable to the leg of a skier, comprising:

upper support means positionable to engage the rearward portion and sides of the skiers leg above the knee, and including means for securing said upper support means to the skiers leg; lower support means positionable about the skiers leg below the knee, and including means for securing said lower support means to the skiers leg; and

spring means interconnecting the sides of said upper and lower support means, said spring means being in an essentially unstressed condition when the device is thus secured to the skiers leg and the leg is only slightly bent, and being in a stressed condition when the leg and the spring means are relatively sharply bent, which stressed condition tends to relatively straighten said spring means.

2. The device according to claim 1, wherein said spring means comprises a pair of beam spring members, one arranged at each side of said support means.

3. The device according to claim 2, wherein said beam spring members comprise spring bars maintained generally parallel with the skiers leg when said device is secured thereto.

4. The device according to claim 1, wherein said upper support means comprises a substantially rigid concave plate positionable about the rearward portion of the skiers leg immediately above the knee.

5. The device according to claim 4, wherein said means for securing said concave upper leg plate to said skiers leg comprises lacing means securable to each edge of said upper leg plate for passing over the forward portion of said skiers leg above the knee.

6. The device according to claim 4, wherein said means for securing said concave upper plate to said skiers leg comprises a plurality of straps each secured to each edge of said plate for passing over the forward portion of said skiers leglabove' the knee, and adjustable buckle means interposed intermediate the length of each said strap.

7. The device according to claim 1, wherein said lower support meanscomprises a substantially rigid concave plate securable to the skiers leg below the knee and includes lacing means securable to each edge of said concave lower leg plate for passing over the forward portion of said skiers leg subjacent the knee.

8. For use by securement to the legs of a skier, a pair of leg support devices as claimed in claim 1.

9. A leg support device securable to the leg ofa skier, comprising:

upper support means positionable to engage the rearward portion and sides of the skiers leg above the knee, and including means for securing said upper support means to the skiers leg; lower support means positionable about the skiers leg below the knee, and including means for securing said lower support means to the skiers leg; and spring means interconnecting the sides of said upper and lower support means, said spring means having an essentially unstressed condition when the device is thus secured to the skiers leg and the leg is only slightly bent, and having a stressed condition tending to support a portion of the weight of the skier when the skier is in a crouched position. 10. A leg support device securable to each leg of a skier, comprising:

upper support means including a substantially rigid concave plate positionable about the rearward portion of the skiers leg above the knee, and means for securing said upper support means to the skiers leg, and further including spring member coupling means mounted] on said upper support means; lower support means including a substantially rigid concave plate positionable about the rearward portion of the skiers leg below the knee and means for securing said lower support means to the skiers leg, and further including spring member coupling means mounted on said lower support means; and

beam spring members interconnecting the coupling means on said upper and lower plates and arranged on both sides of the skiers leg when said device is secured thereto.

11. The device according to claim 10, wherein the intermediate portions of said beam spring members located between said upper and said lower plates are permanently slightly bent so that the skier tends to maintain his knees in flexed position when said device is positioned on the skiers leg.

12. The device according to claim 10, wherein said coupling means comprises U-szhaped brackets mounted on each side of each of said upper and lower plates, each of said brackets having projecting ear portions for removably securing said beam spring members to said plates.

13. The device according to claim 10, wherein said coupling means mounted to said upper plate comprises two concave members securely mounted about the upper and lower portions of said plate, each of said members terminating at each end in a channel through which a beam spring member passes.

7 14. The device according to claim 10, wherein said coupling means mounted to said lower plate comprises tubular members disposed along each edge of said lower plate through which said beam spring members pass, each of said beam spring members having swaged fittings disposed immediately above and below said tubular member to prevent slippage of said beam spring member therethrough.

15. For use by securement to the legs of a skier, a pair of leg support devices as claimed in claim l0.

16. A leg support device securable to each leg of a skier, comprising:

upper support means comprising a substantially rigid concave plate positionable about the rearward portion of the skiers leg immediately above the knee and including means for securing such to the skiers leg, and further including a projecting tongue portion extending toward the skiers waist when said device is so secured; lower support means positionable about the skiers leg below the knee including means for securing said lower support means to the skiers leg; and spring means interconnecting said upper and lower support means, the said spring means being in a stressed condition when relatively sharply bent, which stressed condition tends to relatively straighten said spring means, the said projecting 8 tongue portion of the upper support means engaging the rearmost portion of the skiers leg to provide maximum leverage under such stressed condition. 17. A leg support device securable to each leg of a skier, comprising:

upper support means positionable about the skiers leg above the knee including means for securing such to the skiers leg;

lower support means comprising a substantially rigid concave cuff positionable about the rearward ankle portion of the skiers leg exterior to the skiers boot, and including means for securing said lower support means thereto; and

spring means interconnecting said upper and lower support means, said spring means being in a stressed condition when relatively sharply bent, which stressed condition tends to relatively straighten said spring means.

18. The device according to claim 17, wherein said means for securing the lower concave cuff to the rearward ankle portion of said skiers leg exterior to the skiers boot comprises a strap secured to each edge of said cuff for passing over the forward portion of said skiers boot, and adjustable buckle means interposed intermediate the length of said strap.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification2/22, 602/16, 36/117.1, 280/809, 280/11.36
International ClassificationA61F5/01, A63B69/18
Cooperative ClassificationA63B69/18, A61F5/0106
European ClassificationA61F5/01D1B