United States Patent 3713438

An electromechanical device for exercising the lower limbs of a person from hips to toes. The device is provided with a pair of pedals for securing each foot from toe to heel, and whereby the foot stays on a plane which moves constantly parallel to itself during vertical rotation of the pedal. Each pedal has two spaced-apart pivot bearing points connected to a set of parallel arms, respectively. Each arm is mounted to an axle which is interconnected for rotation to a motor. In addition, each parallel set of arms is provided with adjusting means for varying independently each pedal position. A vibrator means is mounted to the device for added therapeutic muscle and joint treatment, as well as an overriding clutch and adjustable drag means for tuning the device in relationship to the muscle development value according to subsequent physical recovery stages.

Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/60, 482/63, 601/70
International Classes:
A61H1/02; (IPC1-7): A61H1/02
Field of Search:
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
2626600Physiotherapeutic deviceJanuary 1953McMennamy
2202187ExerciserMay 1940Chalette
2081365Foot vibratorMay 1937Mueller et al.
1788176Foot vibratorJanuary 1931Sturtevant

Primary Examiner:
Trapp, Lawrence W.
Now, therefore, I claim

1. A therapeutic exercising apparatus comprising:

2. A therapeutic exercising apparatus comprising:

3. A therapeutic exercising apparatus as claimed in claim 2 wherein said power source for producing rotational movement comprises an electrical motor having transmission gear means for driving said first axle.

4. A therapeutic exercising apparatus as claimed in claim 3 wherein said transmission gear means is provided with at least one first sprocket gear for driving via said transmission means said first and said second axle.

5. A therapeutic exercising apparatus as claimed in claim 4 wherein said first axle is provided with a set of thereon-mounted twin sprocket gears and wherein said second axle is provided with a thereon-mounted second sprocket gear and wherein said transmission means comprises an interconnecting flexible chain with links complementing said sprocket gears so that said motor upon rotation drives said gears via said interconnecting chain.

6. A therapeutic exercising apparatus as claimed in claim 5 wherein said first and second right and first and second arm members are provided with identically spaced adjustable mounting means along said arms length so that each said pedal means can be mounted at a predetermined parallel position on each said left and on each said right side of said apparatus.

7. A therapeutic exercising apparatus as claimed in claim 6 wherein said rear and said front pivot means connecting said pedal means to said respective arms utilizes insulating material for electrically insulating said pedal means from said arms.

8. A therapeutic exercising apparatus as claimed in claim 7 wherein said apparatus includes


1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to an electromechanical exercising apparatus for individuals afflicted with paralysis, muscular atrophy or weakness of the lower limbs.

In particular, the apparatus applies movement to the hip, knee and ankle joints as an aid to circulation and muscle flexation.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Exercising devices which impart a motor driven bicycle rotary type leg movement to an individual are known in the art. For instance: U.S. Pat. No. 2,202,187 by J. J. Chalette and U.S. Pat. No. 2,419,998 by W. J. S. Johnson disclose motor driven exercisers for knee, ankle and hip movement. In addition, there are various exercising devices for similar use that are non-powered but can be operated in a sitting as well as in a lying position, such as the device described and illustrated in U.S. Pat. No. 2,673,088 by J. L. Wentz. However, the above-mentioned patented exercising devices do not control the rotation of the leg, the knee and ankle movement in a precisely coordinated circular movement. In other words, the present invention has a feature that keeps the feet on an unchanging moving plane during vertical rotation. As a result, it was therapeutically proven that this precisely controlled rotation of the lower limbs while maintaining the feet in a constant plane produces a different muscle and joint exercise that relaxes and strengthens the muscles. Rapid improvement of muscle tone and flexibility was a noticeable fact. Existing devices presently found on the market or known to the state of the art do not produce the same effect of relaxation and improvement, nor do these devices offer the adjustment for users with various abnormal muscle and joint conditions. Therefore, it was concluded that the present device offers a unique and novel arrangement with improved results.


The present invented therapeutic exercising apparatus for strengthening the lower limb joints and muscles of individuals comprises an electromechanical device with vertical rotational pedals. The device incorporates a controllable speed and a controllable drag adjustment. The vertical pedal radius rotation for each leg can be varied. Furthermore, the pedal rotation of the device can be tuned to a force, ranging between the variable speed motor driven force and the user's leg producing force. In order to increase the muscle and joint strength of improved individual, the motor can be switched off and the drag means applied. In addition, the device can be rotated about a horizontal axis so that the inclined angle of the pedals becomes adjustable over a 90° range, making the device adaptable to chair or bed use. The various electrical and mechanical controls are in immediate reach of the user so that constant supervisory control to the user may be eliminated. For added therapeutic improvement applicable to some cases of muscle and joint weakness, a vibrator means is incorporated.

In general, the present invention comprises an apparatus having a base and a substantially vertically extending frame mounted on the base. A power source for producing rotational movement is carried by the base. A first and a second axle are horizontally disposed in spaced relationship parallel to one another and each mounted to the frame for rotation. A transmission means interconnects the power source with the axles. Each axle carries at right and left, an arm member that is mounted perpendicularly onto each axle's end, and the arms at the right are parallel with one another, and the arms at the left are parallel with one another. A right and a left foot pedal means with a fixed plane, provided with a forward and a rear pivot means, are rotationally connected to each arm at the right and the same at the left respectively, so that upon operation of the power source a rotational movement is carried via the transmission means and the axles to the arms at the right and the left, and thus the right and left pedals move in a vertical rotation whereby each of the fixed planes of the pedals move parallel to itself during the vertical rotation of each respective pedal.

In addition, each pedal is provided with toe and heel strap means so that an associated user has his feet strapped onto and adjacent to said fixed plane of each pedal and thus rotation of each plane parallel to itself will force the feet to follow, thereby inducing muscle and joint movements in feet, ankle, leg, knee and hip in controlled coordination.

Therefore, it is an object of this invention to provide for an improved therapeutic exercising apparatus adapted for exercising hip, leg, ankle and foot muscles and joints in a controlled displacement operation for predetermined periods of time.

It is a further object of this invention to provide for an improved therapeutic exercising apparatus whereby each foot is caused to vertically rotate along a predetermined radius and whereby each foot from heel to toe is maintained along a constant plane moving parallel to itself during this rotation.

It is another object of this invention to provide for a therapeutic exercising apparatus having means to adapt to a person in a sitting or lying position, and additional means for independently regulating the rotation radius of each foot, as well as regulating the plane position of both feet.

It is an additional and important object of this invention to provide for a motor-driven exercising apparatus for developing strength in weakened muscles and whereby the apparatus has tuning means for adjustment to muscle development value during the individual physical recovery stages.

Besides the objects mentioned above, this invention provides many other objects, advantages and features which will become fully apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings which illustrate and clarify the preferred embodiment of the invention.


FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the therapeutic exercising apparatus with a cut-out portion revealing the internal electrical and mechanical cooperating components.

FIG. 2 is a vertical sectional view of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the apparatus and a person operating the apparatus in a sitting position.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the apparatus with a person in a reclining position.


In the following description, like reference characters are used in order to designate like parts throughout the various views.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is illustrated a preferred embodiment of a therapeutic exercising apparatus 10 which is mounted on a base 12 having horizontally extending pair of legs 14 and 16. In order to keep the apparatus 10 in an upright position, a wider leg support is provided by the extended feature of the legs 14 and 16. Inside of the housing 18 of the apparatus 10, mounted on the base 12, is a power source or motor 20 which is connected to drive, via a gear-transmission 22 and a clutch means 24, a first sprocket gear 26.

The gear 26 is connected by a transmission means, such as a chain 28, to a twin sprocket gear 30 or, in other words, two gears next to one another.

The base 12 supports the housing 18 and frame means 32. The housing 18 protects the various moving parts or components from the exterior and also carries control means 34 while the frame 32 supports various parts of the mechanism and provides mounting points for the housing 18.

The twin gear 30 is mounted to a first axle 40 which is preferably supported by the frame 32. A second axle 42 is mounted parallel and in spaced relationship to the first axle 40 and carries a second sprocket gear 44. Each axle 40 and 42 protrudes through the housing 18 at the right and the left side. A first right arm member 50 and left arm member 52 is mounted perpendicular at the respective right and left protruded end portion of the first axle 42 and also a second right arm member 54 and left arm member 56 is mounted perpendicular at the respective right and left protruded end portion of the second axle 44.

The arms 50 and 54 at the right side of the body 18 are disposed parallel to each other, as are the arms 52 and 56 at the left side of the housing 18.

A flat right and left pedal 60 and 62 are provided with pivot means 64 and 66 disposed at the rear and forward of each pedal. These pivot means 64 and 66 are mounted by fastening means to the arms 50 and 54 at the right, and the arms 52 and 56 at the left.

To protect the user from static electricity or other electrical discharges, an insulating material such as nylon or the like is utilized in the pivot means so that the arm members are electrically insulated from the pedals.

In order to keep the illustrations understandable and in a clear and uncluttered arrangement, the FIGS. 1 and 2 do not show the mandatory heel straps 70 and toe straps 72 that are mounted to the pedals 60 and 62; however the FIGS. 3 and 4 show the straps 70 and 72 tied to the user's feet 74.

The control means 34 includes an on/off switch 80, a speed control knob 82, a vibrator on/off switch 84 and a drag adjuster means 86, all of which are within easy reach of the user 74. The vibrator 78 is an optional component to the apparatus 10 and is mounted to the base 12. In order to prevent accidents, such as tipping over of the apparatus 10, for instance, when used on a soft bed, a pair of level sensing mercury switches 88 have been installed which are electrically connected between the power input and the motor 20. In addition, the therapeutic exercising apparatus has a manual mode variety setting means 90 which turns or rotates the whole mechanism from approximately 0° to 90° so that the inclined angle of the pedals and its rotation are adaptable to a person's position between sitting and lying down.

Also, the preferred embodiment carries an overriding clutch 92 which will enhance the use of the apparatus 10 to an improving person 74. One of the special features incorporated in the apparatus 10 is the adjustability by the mounting means of the pedals 60 - 62 on the respective left and right arms 50-54 and 52-56. Thus each limb may be rotated about a different radius.

As a result, the apparatus 10 offers through the components 34, 78, 90, 92 and 94 a multiplicity of applications to users in various conditions. Although only the preferred embodiment of the invention has been illustrated and described in the foregoing specification, it is to be especially understood that various changes, such as in the relative dimensions of the parts, materials used, and rearrangement of the components in the assembly, may be made. However, such changes or arrangements should be understood to fall within the spirit and scope of this invention as claimed hereinafter.