Title:
MECHANICAL EXERCISING DEVICE
United States Patent 3661149


Abstract:
A mechanical exercising or physical therapy device for the controlled progressive stretching and exercise of the legs of persons afflicted by diseases characterized by contracture of tendons and muscles of the legs and back. The device includes a table on which the patient may lie. It is provided with a pivoted back rest which can be raised and lowered mechanically and two individual leg rests which can be raised and lowered and also swung to either side, either individually or together. Each leg rest includes a frame in which the leg is supported. At its extremity, there is a mechanism for shackling the foot. An adjustable bridge member over the knee permits application of pressure to the knee in controlled increments to force the knee down to straighten the leg and stretch the muscles. A further adjustable mechanism is provided for pivoting the foot on its ankle to stretch the heel cords.



Inventors:
FERRIES CHARLES A
Application Number:
05/040864
Publication Date:
05/09/1972
Filing Date:
05/27/1970
Assignee:
CHARLES A. FERRIES
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A61H1/02; (IPC1-7): A61H1/02
Field of Search:
128/24,25,33
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3450132MOTOR-DRIVEN EXERCISING APPARATUS1969-06-17Ragon et al.
3060926Therapeutic table1962-10-30May



Primary Examiner:
Trapp L. W.
Claims:
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows

1. A mechanical exercising device comprising:

2. A mechanical exercising device comprising:

3. A mechanical exercising device according to claim 2 further characterized in that said brace means comprise:

4. A mechanical exercising device according to claim 3 further characterized in that:

5. A mechanical exercising device according to claim 4 further characterized in that:

6. A mechanical exercising device according to claim 2 further characterized in that said brace means comprise:

7. A mechanical exercising device according to claim 2 further characterized in that said limb supports are leg supports and a pair of said supports are mounted on said platform in parallel side-by-side relation for pivotal rotation through vertical arcs on aligned transverse horizontal axes parallel and adjacent to the axis of rotation of the back support.

8. A mechanical exercising device according to claim 7 further characterized in that said brace means comprise:

9. A mechanical exercising device according to claim 8 further characterized in that:

10. A mechanical exercising device according to claim 7 further characterized in that said brace means comprise:

11. A mechanical exercising device according to claim 9 further characterized in that:

12. A mechanical exercising device according to claim 9 further characterized in that:

13. a resilient pad,

14. a holder for said pad,

15. force applying means for exerting controlled vertical pressure against said holder, and

16. swivel mounting means between said holder and force applying means; and

17. a transverse horizontal bar underlying said knee press,

18. a resilient pad on said bar, and

19. means for vertically adjusting said bar.

20. A mechanical exercising device comprising:

21. A mechanical exercising device according to claim 1 further characterized in that:

22. A mechanical exercising device according to claim 14 further characterized in that said knee rest comprises:

Description:
This invention relates to a mechanical exercising or physical therapy device for the controlled progressive stretching and exercise of the limbs, primarily the legs of persons afflicted by diseases characterized by contracture of tendons and muscles of the legs and back. Broadly stated, the device comprises a table on which the patient may lie. It is provided with a pivoted back rest which can be raised and lowered mechanically and two individual leg rests which can be raised and lowered and also swung to either side, either individually or together. Each leg rest includes a frame in which the leg is supported. At its extremity, there is a means for shackling the foot. An adjustable bridge member over the knee permits application of pressure to the knee in controlled increments to force the knee down to straighten the leg and stretch the muscles. Further adjustable means are provided for pivoting the foot on its ankle to stretch the heel cords.

The invention is illustrated in the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a left side elevation of the exercising device shown in neutral at-rest position, with parts broken away to reveal hidden structure;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view shown without leg braces, and partly broken away to reveal hidden structure;

FIG. 3 is a transverse vertical section on the line 3--3 of FIG. 2 and in the direction of the arrows;

FIG. 4 is a plan view of the left movable leg brace on an enlarged scale and shown with foot shackling means and knee press;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary elevation, partly in section, of the mounting means for the foot shackling device;

FIG. 6 is an elevation partly in section on the line 6--6 of FIG. 1 and in the direction of the arrows, and on an enlarged scale showing structure of the knee press;

FIG. 7 is a longitudinal fragmentary section on an enlarged scale showing means for mounting the leg brace and supporting frame on the movable leg rest;

FIG. 8 is a further enlarged fragmentary section showing a detail of the structure of a sliding guide means for the leg brace, taken on the line 8--8 of FIG. 4 and in the direction of the arrows;

FIG. 8A is a detail on a slightly smaller scale of locking means for the leg brace as an alternative to the guide means of FIG. 8 under some circumstances;

FIG. 9 is a fragmentary end elevation of the foot end of the leg brace;

FIG. 10 is a side elevation of a knee rest for use when exercising from a prone position; and

FIG. 11 is an end elevation of the knee rest of FIG. 10.

Referring now to the drawings and particularly to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, the mechanical exercise or physical therapy device, according to the present invention, includes a table or similar platform support, indicated generally at 10, having four legs 11 joined by a pair of parallel upper longitudinal side members 12, a pair of parallel upper transverse horizontal end members 13, a pair of spaced apart parallel horizontal longitudinal lower side members 14 and spaced apart parallel transverse horizontal lower end members 15. The table is rigid, strong and rugged. Desirably it is provided with casters 16 or similar means to permit it to be moved.

The top of the table 10 includes a back rest or support 17 hinged at 18 to a cross bar 19 for pivotal movement in a vertical arc. The table top also includes a pair of leg rests, right leg rest 20 and left leg rest 21, each fitted into and pivotally held in a box-like housing 22 whose head end edges are connected by a hinge 23 to cross bar 24 for independent pivotal movement in vertical arcs. Cross bars 19 and 24 are supported on the upper edges of side members 13 approximately midway between the ends of the table and rigidly secured in abutting side-by-side relation, as by means of bolts 25.

Back rest 17 is desirably provided with a pad 26 and a pillow or head rest 27. One end of the threaded tubular body 28 of a screw jack is pivotally connected at 29 in a bracket 30 secured to the underside of back rest 17. As best seen in FIG. 3, one end of threaded shaft 31 engages body 28 and the opposite end of threaded shaft 30 of the screw jack is engaged by the output of a right angle geared speed reduction box 32, supported in a swivel bracket 33, which in turn is supported from a cross bar 34 supported between table lower side members 14 and on top of end member 15. The drive sprocket 35 of the gear reduction box 32 carries a chain or positive belt drive 36 which engages sprocket 37 carried on the same shaft as sprocket 38 which is engaged by chain or positive belt drive 39 which engages drive sprocket 40 of electric motor 41 mounted on the underside of the table between the side members. Sprockets 37 and 38 are carried for rotation on a transverse horizontal shaft 42 journaled in pillow blocks 43 on back legs 11. By means of operation of motor 41, back rest 17 may be pivoted about its hinge 18 through an arc of up to about 120 degrees.

The structures of right and left leg rests 20 and 21 are identical except that one is the mirror image of the other. Only one will be described in detail. A right angle geared speed reduction box 44 is pivotally supported for rotation about a transverse horizontal axis between a pair of brackets 45 supported by rigid transverse horizontal cross bar 46 mounted between top side members 12, as by means of bolts 48, or the like. Speed reducer 44 is driven by motor 50 supported below the foot end of the table. Drive sprocket 51 of motor 50 is connected by means of chain drive 52 or other positive drive means to a sprocket 53 carried on shaft 54 journaled in pillow blocks 55 mounted on a platform 56 carried between lower side members 14. Shaft 54 also carries a sprocket 57 from which chain drive 58 or other positive drive means extends to the drive sprocket 59 of speed reducer 44.

As best seen in FIG. 1, the output of speed reducer 44 drives a threaded shaft 60 of substantial length extending longitudinally toward the head of the table. The opposite end of threaded shaft 60 engages a threaded sleeve or tube 61 to which is pivotally connected at 62 one end of a leg lifter arm 63. Lifter arm 63 lies in generally vertical alignment with threaded shaft 60 extending forwardly toward the foot of the table from pivotal connection 62. The opposite end of lifter arm 63 is welded or otherwise rigidly secured to the bottom surface of housing 22 into which the leg rest is fitted.

It will be readily seen that, as threaded shaft 60 rotates within threaded sleeve 61 in one direction, movement of the sleeve along shaft 60 causes the arm 63 rigidly secured to the housing 22 to be drawn toward or away from the foot end of the table to cause that housing to pivot on its hinge 23 to either raise or lower the leg rest, depending upon the direction of rotation of the threaded shaft. Either leg rest 20 or 21, or both of them, may be pivoted about hinge 23 through an arc up to about 120 degrees.

As seen in FIG. 2, each leg rest 20 and 21 is generally elongated and plank-like. Each extends into and is mounted for pivotal rotation relative to housing 22 by virtue of a short shaft 64 or equivalent means. The rearward or head end of each leg rest is semi-circular in planar contour and is fitted with a semi-circular gear track 65 whose teeth engage a drive sprocket 66 within housing 22 coupled to the drive shaft of a geared speed reducer 67 coupled directly to motor 68 mounted on and carried by lifter arm 63 for movement therewith.

Speed reduction from motor 68 to drive gear 66 is desirably about 40:1 and the ratio between drive sprocket 66 and gear 65 is desirably about 7:1 reduction. By means of the motor drive and gears 65 and 66, each leg rest may be rotated outwardly up to 90 degrees each, or 180 degrees for both. The leg rests may be spread apart either together or separately. Because motor 68 is mounted to move with lifter arm 63, it is operative when the leg rests are either horizontal or in some lifted position between 0 and 120 degrees. 1

As best seen in FIGS. 4, 6 and 9, on top of each leg rest 20 and 21 is a leg brace, indicated generally at 70. Since both leg braces are of substantially identical structure, one being the 79 secured to the underside of slotted bar 76.

The leg brace carriage is guided in its longitudinal movement along the leg rest as follows: As best seen in FIGS. 1, 4 and 8, a vertical fixed bolt 80 extends downwardly through sliding guide means, indicated generally at 82, through slot 81 in slotted bar 76 and through the leg rest. Bolt 80 is fitted at its lower end with a nut 84 which engages the underside of the leg rest. The sliding guide means 82 comprises generally a plate 86 carrying two pairs of rollers 87 on its lower face which are journaled for rotation on vertical axes on bolts 88 serving as shafts. The rollers 87 bear against the opposite side edges of bar 76. A pair or rollers 89 are journaled for rotation on horizontal axes on shafts 90 carried in upper plate 86 and bear against the top surface of slotted bar 76, thereby keeping brace 70 attached to the leg rest as the brace moves longitudinally. As the leg rests are moved in and out and up and down, the leg brace carriage 70 is moved slightly longitudinally being guided by the guide means 82 moving relative to the slotted bar 76 to permit the leg to remain fixed in the brace.

When it is desired to exercise the back muscles while maintaining the legs in place, then the sliding guide means 82 is replaced with a locking means for the leg brace carriage 70, as seen in FIG. 8A. The locking means comprises a plate 85 engaging the top surface of slotted bar 76 and in turn being engaged by bolt 80 which extends through the leg rest. By tightening nut 84, the leg brace carriage may be locked against longitudinal movement. As the back rest is raised and lowered pivoting the body at the hips, the body maintains its proper relation to the top of the table, the legs being fixed in the leg braces.

Forming part of each leg brace is a foot restraining or shackling means in the form of a shoe holder. As seen in FIGS. 4, 5 and 9, the shoe holder includes a heel plate 90 having a pair of spaced apart parallel ears 91 to each of which is attached an outwardly extending pivot pin 92. A sole plate, generally cross shaped having a longitudinally extending plate 93 and cross plate 94, extends upwardly from and is rigidly secured to the heel plate 90. The shoe holder is adapted to receive a shoe of the patient, preferably a high laced shoe which is rigidly secured as by bolting or the like. The ears 91 of heel plate 90 are so designed that the axis of pivot pins 92 lies generally along the axis of the ankle of the patient.

As seen in FIG. 5, each pivot pin 92 fits into a notch 95 in a box-like holder 96 carried by a tubular sleeve 97 adjustably secured to the side bar 71 of the leg brace. A clevis-like U-shaped retainer 98 secured to a longitudinal rod 99 and spring loaded by means of coil spring 100 serves to retain the pin. A chain or cable 101 permits the patient or an attendant to latch or unlatch the pivot pin. A pair of transverse horizontal upright retainer lips 102 on the upper head and foot ends of holder 96 retain the shoe holder when it is out of latched operative pivoting position.

As seen in FIGS. 1 and 4, the legs of a U-shaped bar 103 are rigidly secured to the ends of the cross bar 94 of the sole plate, this bar extending generally over the toe portion of the shoe. A ring or eyelet 104 is attached to the middle of the bar 103 for attachment of a cable or chain 105 for the purpose of applying pulling force to the shoe holder to rotate it on its pivots 92 to stretch the heel and leg tendons and muscles, as described in greater detail hereinafter.

Spaced rearwardly from the shoe holder approximately overlying the knee of the patient is a bridge-like structure comprised of a pair of upright standards 106 and 107 supported on top of tubular sleeves 108 and 109, respectively, each telescopically embracing one of the side bars 71 of leg brace 70. The upper end of vertical standard 107 hingedly supports by means of bolt 110 a pair of parallel horizontal bridge members 111 and 112. The opposite ends of cross members 111 and 112 are joined together by means of bar 113 and are detachably secured to the upper end of standard 106 by means of retractable pin 114. Upon retracting pin 114, the cross members may be pivoted on bolt hinge 110 to move all of the structure supported by the bridge superstructure out of the way to facilitate insertion and removal of the leg.

As best seen in FIGS. 6 and 7, the bridge superstructure carries a knee press including a sleeve 115 embracing cross members 111 and 112 and carrying a threaded collar 116 in which a bolt 117 or similar threaded shaft is engaged. An inverted U-shaped pad holder 118 is secured by a swivel joint to the bottom end of bolt 117 and fitted with a relatively thick knee pad 119 of sponge rubber, foam plastic, or the like. By virtue of rotation of bolt 117, controlled pressure may be exerted upon the knee so as to stretch the muscles of the calf and thigh associated with the knee and thereby straighten the knee. An adjustable and limiting support for the undersurface of the knee is provided in the form of a platform 120 provided with a resilient pad 121 suspended from the bottom surfaces of sleeves 108 and 109 by virtue of bolts 122 or similar threaded members. Platform 120 is vertically adjustable by virtue of threaded sleeves 123 supporting the platform and engaging bolts 122. Platform 120 prevents the knee from being bent beyond its normal straight leg position.

The bridge superstructure carries a further longitudinally extending bracket 124 which embraces cross members 111 and 112 and supports a swivel bracket 125 in which is pivotally mounted a speed reducer 126 coupled directly to motor 127. The output from speed reducer 126 operates a telescoping screw jack 128 to which is attached engagement means 129 (FIG. 1) for securing the opposite end of chain or cable 105 to the shoe holder. By means of operation of motor 127, controlled pressure may be applied to the shoe holder to pull the foot back, pivoting generally about its ankle to apply stretching force to the heel tendons and back leg muscles.

A longitudinally extending vertical plate 130 (FIGS. 1 and 4) is desirably provided extending rearwardly from U-shaped member 75 to provide some support for the thigh of the patient. Foam rubber padding or the like is desirably applied at all pressure points. Sleeves 97, 108 and 109 are movable along side bars 71 so as to provide adjustment for legs of different lengths. Bolts or equivalent fastening means are provided to firmly secure the telescopic sleeves at the proper locations. A ring 131 at the end of chain or cable 101 is provided to permit unlatching of the shoe holder. Ring 131 may be hung, for example, over a bolt securing sleeve 74 to side bar 71 within reach of the patient when in sitting position. For additional safety a pair of seat belts or other strap means are desirably provided.

Although the means for raising and lowering the back support, for lowering and raising the leg rests, for spreading the leg rests apart and moving them together, and for pulling the foot, are all shown as electrically driven, this is a matter of convenience and choice. Electric drives permit a patient to operate the device by himself, without the presence of an attendant, and facilitate operation by an attendant. However, manual means, such as manually operated screws, may be used for these movements. Alternatively, a hydraulic system may be employed as the power source. This is somewhat less desirable because of the greater possibility of danger to the person using the machine due to faulty operation.

Desirably, for home use, the motors are direct current reversible motors to permit operation from commercial AC or DC power sources, portable AC or DC generators, or batteries. In the event of operation on AC current, appropriate transformers and rectifiers must be provided. Alternative battery operation is desirable in the event of power failure while the machine is in use. AC motors may be used in models installed for hospital or similar institutional use since such institutions usually have standby AC power plants. In this event, batteries and rectifiers can be eliminated.

In the case of electrical operation, an appropriate control panel is provided, either within reach of the patient or for operation by an attendant. Separate off-on push button switches are desirably provided to actuate the motors to move the left leg up, the left leg down, the left leg out, the left leg in, the back up, the back down, the right leg out, the right leg in, the right leg up, the right leg down, to exert force on the left foot, to release force on the left foot, to exert force on the right foot and to release force on the right foot. Desirably a master switch is also provided for safety in the event of failure in the circuitry which might make it impossible to shut off any one of the motors by releasing the on-off push button switches so as to prevent harm to the person using the machine or damage to the machine itself. Desirably limit switches are installed to restrict the area of operation of the moving parts of the machine within practicable limits as set out.

While the device as described and illustrated is for the purpose of controlled exercise through stretching of the muscles of the legs and back, it is apparent that it may be readily adapted to similar treatment of other extremities. For example, arm engaging braces comparable to the illustrated leg engaging means, can readily be added to provide comparable stretching exercise of the muscles of the arms and shoulders. While the apparatus has been illustrated and described with reference to a patient lying supine upon the table, and the right and left directions are indicated from this position, the device may also be used with the patient lying prone upon the table.

In this latter instance, the leg brace carriages 70 are removed and replaced by knee rests, as illustrated in FIGS. 10 and 11. Each knee rest includes a rigid flat horizontal platform 135 having two pairs of leg members 136 spaced on opposite sides of leg rest 21 and spaced longitudinally along that leg rest. A pair of parallel shafts 137 extend between the legs on one side of the leg rest to the legs on the other side. Each shaft 137 is spaced below the under-surface of platform 135 and carries a pair of rollers 138 which engage the top surface of leg rest 21. A second pair of parallel shafts 139 spaced downwardly from the first shafts are carried by the leg members and in turn carry rollers 140 which extend transversely beneath the lower surface of leg rest 21. Each leg has a slot 141 in which is journaled a roller 142 on vertical shaft 143. Rollers 142 engage the opposite side edges of leg rest 21. A rigid inside wall member 144 extends vertically from the top of platform 135. Platform 135 is padded as by means of foam or sponge rubber 145 and the vertical wall is similarly padded at 146.

As the patient lies prone with his torso resting upon the back rest 17 and his legs on the leg rests 20 and 21 with the knees on the knee rests, the legs may be exercised, both by moving the leg rests in and out about the pivots 64 or up and down about hinge 23. In either case the position of the knee relative to the leg rest varies slightly as a result of movement of the leg rest, the movable knee rest compensates by sliding along the leg rest. As this is done, the inside of the knee tends to be forced against the inside wall of the knee rest against padding 146. If the forces are unevenly distributed, the lower rollers 140 engaging the bottom surface of the leg rest prevent the knee rest from becoming disengaged from the leg rests.

The device as described and illustrated was designed and built by the inventor to remedy his own acute condition afflicting the muscles of his legs and back when all other methods of therapy failed. Through use of the device in the course of its experimental development, applicant has markedly and visibly improved his condition. This has been done through use of the machine under medical supervision, to (1) stretch the heel cords, (2) to straighten the knee and help stretch the hamstring muscles, (3) to bend backwards at the hips, (4) to stretch muscles in the back, (5) to stretch leg muscles by lifting the legs vertically with the braces on, (6) using the braces with leg lifters down to hold the legs while doing sit-ups, (7) stretching leg muscles by moving the legs horizontally in and out with the braces on to relieve abnormal walking conditions, such as scissors gait, (8) simultaneously moving the legs horizontally while lifting them vertically with the braces on, and (9) with the legs disengaged from the leg braces but while still wearing the shoes and their metal holders, lifting the legs so as to build strength in the stretched muscles, with additional weights being hung from bolts 92 of the shoe holders as the leg muscles become stronger. The device distinguishes over prior art devices in a number of material respects. The leg rests swing in arcs of greater magnitude than possible in any prior art devices. Because pressures exerted upon the muscles are not dependent upon weights, the patient can choose the pressures he can stand and can increase or otherwise vary pressure when he feels it necessary or desirable. The patient can leave the movable elements in one fixed position to maintain a constant force on the muscles or he an alternately apply and relieve pressure. He can operate the device independently without constant supervision by a therapist or other attendant.

It is apparent that many modifications and variations of this invention as hereinbefore set forth may be made without departing from the spirit and scope thereof. The specific embodiments described are given by way of example only and the invention is limited only by the terms of the appended claims.