United States Patent 3850167

Opposing sheets of flexible corrugated material are cut to provide a central support base and opposing support walls and connecting means such as straps. The opposing walls are then curved to a position corresponding to the configuration of the arm, leg or other body portion for which the splint is intended. The opposing sheets are connected to each other while in such position to form a pre-stressed splint.

Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A61F5/058; (IPC1-7): A61F5/04
Field of Search:
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US Patent References:
3624745DISPOSABLE SPLINT1971-11-30Bowers
3232289Temporary splint1966-02-01Zimmerman
2667868Prefabricated subdividable surgical splint1954-02-02Smyth

Foreign References:
Primary Examiner:
Gaudet, Richard A.
Assistant Examiner:
Yasko J.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Bowie, Stuart S.
I claim

1. A splint comprising

2. The invention of claim 1 wherein the corrugations are in parallel alignment.

3. The invention of claim 1 wherein the corrugations of one portion of the sheet are in non-parallel relationship to the corrugations of the other portion of the sheet.

4. The invention of claim 1 wherein the flexible material is cardboard.

5. The invention of claim 1 wherein the flexible material is plastic.


Splints are, of course, necessary in the practice of medicine. Over the years, many efforts have been directed toward perfecting splints for human and animal use.

For example, U.S. Pat. No. 432,899 shows an early surgical splint designed to provide ventilation to the body part to which it is attached. A device shown in that patent comprises a sheet of wood connected to a sheet of rigid material such as celluloid, vulcanite, or sheet metal. Such a device, of course, would provide rigidity but only at the expense of flexibility. Moreover, the structure would be extremely difficult to manufacture. It has no modern counterpart, as far as is known.

Further examples of improved splints are U.S. Pat. No. 3,682,163 which discloses the use of a rigid plastic shell with a spongy padding attached thereto. U.S. Pat. No. 3,110,307 discloses a splint with interior passages so designed that a hardenable fluid may be injected therein and the device wrapped around the injured limb. Another example of an improvement in the art is U.S. Pat. No. 3,653,378 which discloses an adjustable splint using plywood. U.S. Pat. No. 3,580,248 utilizes an outer pair of bivalved shells and an inflatable liner. Anderson U.S. Pat. No. 3,496,934 discloses a splint of heavy paperboard or cardboard in the shape of a fan.

Notwithstanding the advantages of the foregoing devices, the medical art is still in need of improved splint designs, particularly for emergency use, or for temporary use in hospitals and the like.

In the context of emergency care, it is the object of the present invention to provide a splint which is light, compact and suitable for carrying in emergency vehicles, on hiking trips, during skiing, etc.

Such an emergency splint must be inexpensive but must, at the same time, provide proper stability to the injured limb. Such stability is of vital importance in proper medical treatment. For that reason, it is an object of the present invention to provide a splint which is capable of sufficient rigidity to provide necessary support, but which is also sufficiently flexible to make it possible to securely engage the splint about the injured member.

The splint must be useful not only for emergency purposes but also for hospital applications, such as transfusions, anesthesia and other pre-surgical applications. In this regard, the splint must be rigid yet comfortable, yet so inexpensive that it may be immediately disposed after use to eliminate the need for cleaning and sterilization.

The present invention provides an emergency/temporary disposable splint which overcomes many of the drawbacks of devices used in the prior art.

The invention contemplates in its preferred embodiments the use of corrugated flexible material such as cardboard. The cardboard, initially in flat sheets, is cut to provide a more or less flat support base for the injured limb or body member (arm, leg, neck, etc.). The material is cut to provide opposing side walls. If desired, the material can also be provided with slots for fastening straps or fastening tabs of the material itself can be cut.

Each sheet of the material has at least one corrugated surface. Adhesive is applied to the corrugated surfaces and the sheets are then placed about a mandrel and formed into the proper configuration for accomodating the limb for which the splint is designed. When the sheets have been pre-stressed about the mandrel, the adhesive surfaces are pressed against each other and the adhesive bond is formed. In this fashion, a pre-stressed, pre-formed emergency/temporary splint is provided which has stable, curved opposing support walls which are nevertheless flexible enough to be brought into engaging relationship with the injured limb, together with a support base which provides stability for the main weight of the limb.

In a very real sense, the present invention is an improvement over prior devices, particularly the Anderson Patent mentioned above. Anderson lacks structural stability, since only one sheet of cardboard is used. That device also requires the limb to be completely enclosed which is undesirable because it interferes with visual inspection by the physician and is not conductive to proper ventilation. Also, the Anderson device lacks means for padding, which is another feature of the present invention. Further, whereas Anderson uses sheet material which is not flexible in a continuous fashion in the transverse direction, the present invention provides a pre-formed device with opposing side walls which have a continuous curve to provide the proper configuration for accomodating an injured member. Moreover, the present invention is flexible enough to be deformed as required to make the device conform to the configuration of the injured limb.

Thus, the present invention is designed to provide a highly adaptable emergency/temporary splint with the proper balance between stability for support and flexibility for configuration, as is required for each individual patient.

Moreover, it is an object of the present invention to provide an emergency/temporary splint which is inexpensive to manufacture and which thus can be readily disposed of.

Other objects of the present invention and further advantages thereof will appear in the following detailed specification of the preferred embodiments and from the drawings.


The accompanying drawings illustrate several preferred embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a first embodiment of the emergency/temporary splint of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is another perspective view of the first embodiment showing the connecting tabs attached to each other, as they would appear when applied to immobilize an arm or a leg.

FIG. 3 is a sectional view of the splint shown in FIG. 1 taken along the lines 3--3.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is another perspective view of the second embodiment with the connecting straps attached, as they would appear when the splint is in use.

FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken along the lines 6--6 of FIG. 4.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a third embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a fourth embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a fragmentary view of the front of the fourth embodiment with certain portions cut away to show details of structure.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view showing a fifth embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a fragmented part of the fifth embodiment with a portion in partial disassembly to show the structural features.

FIG. 12 is a sectional view taken along the lines 12--12 of FIG. 10.

FIG. 13 is another sectional view taken along the lines 13--13 of FIG. 10.

FIG. 14 is a perspective view of a sixth embodiment as applied to a human arm with a portion thereof cut away to disclose structural features.


Turning to the first embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-3, the splint 20 is formed of an outer flexible sheet 21, of material such as cardboard, having corrugations on the interior surface running parallel to the longitudinal axis of the splint. The device includes an interior layer or sheet of flexible material 22 which has corrugations 23 on its outwardly facing surface.

As shown in FIG. 3, the corrugations 23 of the sheet 22 are maintained in contacting relationship with the corrugations 24 of sheet 21. However, the corrugations 23 extend laterially, whereas the corrugations 24 run longitudinally, as indicated. For simplicity of reference, we shall refer to this structure as being bi-directional. Attached to the interior sheet 22 is padding, which may be in the form of a heat sealed flexible plastic film filled with air bubbles 25, such as that sold under the trademark "Astro-Pak."

The splint is provided with a series of opposing connecting straps or tabs 26a, 26b; 27a, 27b; 28a, 28b; 29a, 29b.

The splint shown in FIGS. 1-3 is particularly adapted for application to the human arm. In such a case, the front portion of the splint is primarily a flat surface 30 designed to accomodate the palm and fingers of the hand. The tabs 26a, 26b, would immobilize the hand, as indicated in FIG. 2.

The main portion of the splint comprises a support base 31 which is more or less flat along the longitudinal central axis of the device, which base 31 is integral with curved opposing support walls 34 and 35.

The bi-directional assembly shown in FIGS. 1-3 is manufactured by taking two initially flat sheets of single-faced corrugated, flexible material, which may be cardboard for example, and cutting them as is required to form the flat surface 30, the central supporting base 31, the opposing supporting walls 34 and 35 and tabs 26-29. The padding material 25 is attached to the sheet 22 by adhesive or other suitable means.

The sheets are cut to shape in their initially flat condition. Also, as will be observed particularly from FIG. 1, the tabs 26a, 27a, 28a and 29a are cut as integral extensions of the outer sheet 21, and the tabs 26b, 27b, 28b and 29b are cut as integral extensions of the inner sheet 22.

After cutting the two sheets, the sheets are placed in the relationship shown in FIG. 1 with the corrugated surfaces opposing each other (to provide the so-called bi-directional assembly) and formed around a tapered cylindrical mandrel which more or less simulates a human arm (or the other limb or body member for which the splint is intended.) As indicated, the interior panel 22 is formed so that the corrugations face the outside of the cylinder and extend circumferentially about the axis of the cylinder. The outer panel 21 has corrugations which face the inside of the cylinder and extend parallel to the axis of the cylinder. An adhesive is applied to the opposing corrugated surfaces and, as the surfaces are stressed about the mandrel, they are brought into contact and glued together to form a laminated structure. The action of the mandrel forms the opposing, curved support walls 34, 35 which provide stability for the injured limb yet also retain the degree of flexibility needed to conform to the particular contours of the injured person. The material 25 provides padding for the comfort of the wearer. It is preferred that a liquid impervious material be utilized to prevent absorbtion of blood. etc.

The stability and structural strength of the first embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-3 is relatively great, due in large part to the high moment of inertia, which is a function of the bending forces which are required in formation, particularly those necessary to bend the material across the corrugations. The adhesive prevents slippage between the two sheets, yet the structure taken as a whole still retains adequate flexibility.

As indicated, FIG. 2 depicts the assembly with the straps or tabs 26-29 attached to each other. In the case where the tabs have adhesive on their corrugated surfaces, the adhesive is sufficient to maintain the tabs together in order to immobilize and retain the injured limb or body member.

FIGS. 4, 5 and 6 show a second embodiment 40 of the present invention, which is also a pre-formed emergency/temporary splint assembly. As in the case of the other embodiments, this splint is moisture resistant, sanitary and inexpensive to produce. The splint 40 is similar in shape as that of the first embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-3. Thus, the structure includes a series of opposing connecting straps or tabs 46a, 46b; 47a, 47b; 48a, 48b, and 49a, 49b. The splint also has a front flat portion 50 which is particularly useful in connection with supporting the palm of the hand when the splint is used to immobilize an injured arm. The device has a main supporting base 51 and opposing curved supporting walls 44 and 45. The rear of the splint is curved, as at 52.

The second embodiment is also formed of two sheets of corrugated flexible material, such as single-face corrugated cardboard. In the case of the second embodiment, however, the corrugations are in so-called uni-directional relationship, that is, the corrugations are placed so that their longitudinal axes are parallel to each other, as shown in FIG. 6. If desired, padding, such as a foam material 45, can be bonded to the inner layer 42.

As shown in FIG. 4, the splint 40 includes round die-cut, double-faced, pressure sensitive adhesive "stickers" 53, 54, 55 and 56 which are applied to the tabs 46b, 47b, 48b and 49b, respectively. The pressure sensitive stickers 53-56 have a facing paper over their outer surface. Immediately prior to application, the facing paper is removed which exposes the adhesive outer surface so that that surface will engage the tabs 46a, 47a, 48a and 49a, as shown in FIG. 5.

The uni-directional assembly shown in FIGS. 4-6 is formed of two initially flat single-faced corrugated sheets, such as corrugated cardboard. After cutting in the fashion generally described in the case of FIGS. 1-3, the sheets are placed about a tapered cylindrical mandrel with corrugations on the interior sheet facing the outside of the cylinder and parallel to the axis thereof, and the corrugations on the outer sheet facing toward the inside of the cylinder and also parallel to the axis of such cylinder. The two corrugated surfaces are glued together after the material is formed about the mandrel, so as to form the curved opposing support sides 44 and 45.

Compared to the bi-directional assembly of FIGS. 1-3, the bending forces required to form the second embodiment of FIGS. 4-6 are somewhat less since the bending occurs at the junction of the facing surface and the root of the corrugations where only the two thicknesses of the board material resist bending.

A third embodiment 60 of the present invention is shown in FIG. 7. The splint 60 has a flat front surface 70 for the support of the palm, a longitudinally extending support base 71 and an arcuate end 72. It also includes curved opposing supporting side walls 64 and 65. However, the third embodiment 60 does not utilize integral connecting tabs or straps as in the case of the first and second embodiments. Instead, the side 64 is provided with slots 74, 75 and 76 adjacent to the top edge which receive straps 79, 78 and 77, respectively. The straps are suitably equipped with adhesive surfaces, such as the well-known Velcro surface and may also be provided with buckles, such as the buckle 80. The hand portion 70 of the device is provided with a strap 73 which extends through a slot 82 and which has a buckle 81. This device is manufactured as in the case of the previous embodiments with laminated corrugated surfaces 61,62 facing each other in parallel allignment. This device may also be provided with padding 83, such as that sold under the Cello-Crepe brand.

FIG. 8 is a fourth embodiment 90 of a pre-formed splint according to the present invention and which can be formed of molded plastic or molded pulp paper. The splint 90 has generally the same configuration as the first and second embodiments, including a front surface 100 which is flat for receiving the palm, a supporting base 101 and a curved end 102. The splint also has opposing curved support walls 84 and 85 and connecting straps 86, 87, 88 and 89, which may be integral extensions of one of the side walls.

The tabs 86-89 have Velcro portions 93a-96a, respectively, attached to them. The Velcro strips are designed to engage with similar Velcro strips 93b (not shown) on the bottom of the flat surface 90, 94b, 95b and 96b.

The construction of the fourth embodiment shown in FIGS. 8 and 9 is somewhat different from that of the preceding embodiments. Thus, the structure is formed by lamination of an outer sheet 81 and inner sheet 82 of flexible corrugated material (by adhesives, heat sealing, etc.), to which there is bonded a sheet of padding or foam 97. However, the structure also includes supporting means, such as the rod 98, for increased longitudinal strength. The sheets 81 and 82 may be molded plastic or molded pulp paper.

FIGS. 10-13 illustrate a fifth embodiment of my invention which is particularly adapted for storage and shipment in the flat form. In this case, the splint 119 generally comprises two initially flat sheets of single-faced corrugated material, such as cardboard 124 and 125. As best shown in the sectional view of FIG. 12, a flexible foam material 130 is sandwiched between the sheets 124 and 125 throughout most of the splint, thereby separating the corrugations on said sheets. However, the foam material is not present in the area of the palm supporting surface 120, as indicated in FIG. 13, and the sheets 124 and 125 are adhesively connected in that area. Similarly, no foam is present between the rear edges 124, 125 along the portion indicated as 125A, so that the sheets 124, 125 are also adhesively secured during manufacturing. Otherwise, the sheets 124 and 125 are separated by the foam 130 whereby the splint may be stored and shipped in the flat position shown in FIG. 10. The structure is provided with connecting tabs 127a, 127b; 128a, 128b and 129a, 129b, in addition to connecting tabs 126a and 126b which are at the palm supporting surface 120. It will be observed that the tabs 126a, 127a, 128a and 129a are integral extensions of the sheet 124, and that the tabs 126b-129b are integral extensions of the sheet 125.

When the splint is to be applied to the injured limb or body member, the flat structure shown in FIG. 10 can be readily wrapped around such body member or limb to the exact contours thereof. Indeed, the body member or limb itself acts as a mandrel.

The foam 130 does not extend outwardly beyong the line 125B, so that the interior facing perimeter 125C of sheets 124, 125 is not separated by foam.

The splint is shown in FIG. 11 as it would appear in the process of being wrapped around such a limb or body member with the perimeter areas 125C of sheets 124, 125 in the process of being joined in adhering relationship. Such perimeter edges are pressed together along both sides of the splint.

FIGS. 14 and 15 illustrate a sixth embodiment of the present invention in a pre-packaged, sterilized, easily disposable emergency/temporary splint. As in the case of the fifth embodiment, the sixth embodiment is also designed for storage and shipment in a flattened condition.

The sixth embodiment of the splint 140 comprises a single sheet of corrugated flexible material 141. As shown in FIG. 14, the sheet is prepared for storage and shipment in a flat condition by doubling it upon itself thereby to provide an upper layer 141A and a lower layer 141B. As shown, the material 141 has corrugations on one surface which in the storage condition shown in FIG. 14 face outwardly. Foam material 142 is laminated to the facing sides of the sheets 141A and 141B of FIG. 14.

When the splint assembly 140 is to be applied to the injured limb or body member of the paient, the assembly 140 is unfolded and then folded upon itself in the opposite direction so that the corrugations are brought into contacting relationship, as shown in FIG. 15. When the splint 140 is pressed into contouring relationship with the limb or body member, the corrugations are pressed together and, by means of adhesive applied thereto, the corrugations adhere and a laminated splint structure is thereby formed. The foam material 142 is, when applied as indicated in FIG. 15, on both the outer and inner surface of the splint for wearing comfort.

The splint is also provided with straps 143 and 144 and buckles 147 which pass through slots 145 and 146 for the purpose of securing the splint to the limb or body member. If desired, the straps may have Velcro or other adhesive material for making more secure their interconnection. When Velcro is used, it is desirable, although not necessary, that the buckles 147 also be utilized in order to relieve, to some extent, the shear force on the Velcro material when the straps are engaged about the injured limb or body member.

The present invention is believed to be far superior to any temporary or emergency splint now in existence because it provides a structure which is easy to manufacture, inexpensive, light weight, disposable, sterilizable, and comfortable, yet which provides much needed stability for the injured limb or body member while at the same time also providing sufficient flexibility whereby the splint may be conformed to the specific contours of the injured patient.

The splint of the present invention is, as indicated, extremely useful for emergency use such as in ambulances, police cars, on fire engines and in other emergency and rescue equipment where it is vital to immediately immobilize the injured limb or body member in the field. The splint is also highly useful in hospitals and in the offices of physicians for providing temporary immobilization of limbs and other body members for various purposes which have been already described.

The foregoing description illustrates preferred embodiments of my invention. However, the concepts employed may, based upon such description, be employed in other embodiments without departing from the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the following claims are intended to protect the invention broadly, as well as in the specific forms shown herein.