Title:
Muscular support
United States Patent 3877426


Abstract:
A support for bracing the musculo-tendinous units in the upper and lower extremities of humans especially for the prevention of "tennis elbow." A flexible, arcuately shaped pad especially adapted to be tightly wrapped about a muscle without slippage is constructed of a two layer laminate of cloth and foam rubber. The pad is easily tightened by means of a velcro fastener strip insertable through a fastening ring and reversedly drawn for attachment to itself.



Inventors:
NIRSCHL ROBERT P
Application Number:
05/345370
Publication Date:
04/15/1975
Filing Date:
03/27/1973
Assignee:
NIRSCHL; ROBERT P.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
128/DIG.15, 473/212
International Classes:
A61F13/10; (IPC1-7): A61F13/00
Field of Search:
128/165,169,87,78,DIG.15 273
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3789842THERAPEUTIC SUPPORT DEVICE1974-02-05Froimson
3640273STRAP ASSEMBLY FOR SECURING A PATIENT'S ARM TO AN ARM BOARD1972-02-08Ray
3351053Flexion back brace1967-11-07Stuttle
3256882Strapping support1966-06-21Huber
3086529Constrictors1963-04-23Munz et al.
0937769N/A1909-10-26
0903761N/A1908-11-10
0688354N/A1901-12-10
0680477N/A1901-08-13



Primary Examiner:
Gaudet, Richard A.
Assistant Examiner:
Yasko J.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Schuyler, Birch, Swindler, McKie & Beckett
Claims:
I claim

1. A support device capable of being wrapped about and surrounding the muscle of a bodily limb or member without extensive overlap and capable of applying circumferential pressure to a wide area of said muscle to thereby relieve internal tension on the muscle, comprising:

2. The support device of claim 1 wherein said fastening means for securing said support device tightly about said muscle comprises, in combination, a plurality of velcro fastener strips attached to the upper surface of said outer layer at one end of said pad and at the other end of said pad a plurality of corresponding rings attached to the upper surface of said outer layer, each said velcro fastener strips having a loop section and a hook section, one of said sections of said velcro strips partially overlapping said pad and the other of said sections constituting a free end, whereby said pad can be fastened around the extremity by threading said free ends of said strips through said rings and reversedly drawing said free ends for attachment to said overlapping section.

3. The support device of claim 2 wherein each said velcro fastener strip has a raised portion thereon to loosely engage said ring.

4. The support device of claim 1 wherein a plurality of velcro strips are attached to the outer surface of said outer layer at one end of said pad and a matching plurality of rings are attached to the outer surface at the other end of said pad.

5. The support device of claim 1 wherein said velcro fastener strip has a raised portion thereon to loosely engage said ring.

6. A support device for wrapping about a bodily limb or member and applying pressure to the outside of said limb or member to thereby relieve internal tension on the muscle inside said limb or member, comprising a flexible arcuately shaped pad said pad having a length greater than its width and shaped to approximate the frustrum of a cone when wrapped about the limb or member, the longest sides of said pad being substantially parallel and substantially arcuate, the upper arc having a larger radius of curvature than the lower arc,

Description:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention pertains to a support for bracing the musculotendinous units in the upper and lower extremities of humans. In particular, this invention relates to a muscular support for relieving the injury known as tennis elbow, which is a painful inflammation of the tendon attachments at the outside (lateral) prominence of the elbow, by applying external circumferential pressure over a wide area of the musculo-tendinous unit to thereby relieve the tension normally exerted by the muscle.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Tennis is rapidly becoming one of the most popular sports since it is a social sport that can be played by people of all ages, both indoors and outdoors, during the day or at night under lights. With the advent of the popularity of the sport of tennis, especially among people of various ages and various muscular ability, has come a new muscular injury called "tennis elbow."

The term tennis elbow may include many difficulties which occur in and about the elbow; there are at least eleven specific elbow complaints which have been called tennis elbow. The primary symptom is a chronic inflammation of the attachment of the common extensor muscle group (extensor carpi radialis brevis and extensor communis) to the lateral epicondyle as well as the attachment of the condylar origin of the radial collateral ligament.

It is believed that this chronic inflammation occurs because the mechanical construction of the elbow itself predisposes the individual to injury during the movements of a tennis match. A prominent radial head creates a fulcrum with two leverage forces, one a long lever from the radial head just below the point of the elbow to the wrist where the muscles attach, and the other a short lever from the radial head to the point of the elbow (lateral epicondyle). The long leverage force creates great pressure against the attachment of the common extensor muscle mass, subjecting it to repetitive and chronic strain with the subsequent formation of nonelastic scar tissue. This scar tissue often tears again and tends to become reinflammed. The situation is compounded by the lack of appropriate extensor muscle power to withstand the forces which are placed against it (so characteristic of the occasional athlete who rarely trains for sports activity).

For the most part, the problem occurs because of an inherent weakness in the design or mechanical relationship of the muscles of the arm which subject the elbow to increased forces in a specific area placing an inordinate strain on the tissues.

Treatment for tennis elbow has been primarily medical in nature ranging from localized injection of cortisone or surgery to simple rest.

It has been found that the pain of tennis elbow can be relieved and the injury itself prevented by placing pressure about the smaller muscle of the forearm. The pressure on the muscle serves to relieve the internal tension on the muscle by providing a force against which the muscle can push.

A bandage-like device called the Froimson Tennis Elbow Support has been developed which can be wrapped about the forearm. Unfortunately, this device is difficult for the tennis player to put on unassisted and obtain the desired degree of tightness or pressure. In addition, the device, although coated on the side adjacent the skin with a foamed plastic, tends to slip off the arm during normal tennis play, especially when the arm begins to sweat. Moreover, the device does not place a uniform pressure about the muscle unless wrapped carefully.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

This invention has as an object a muscular support which can be tightly wrapped about a muscle with substantially uniform pressure without assistance from a second person.

This invention has as a further object a muscular support device that is curvilinear in design and assumes the generally conical shape of the muscle or extremity about which it is wrapped.

As still another object, this invention provides a muscular support that resists slippage from the extremity during vigorous athletic motion such as that occuring during a game of tennis.

As yet another object, this invention provides a strong pad of rugged, long wearing characteristics which maintains its appearance and utility over lengthy use.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

These and other objects of the invention are achieved by a muscular support device comprising a flexible, arcuately shaped pad, said pad having a length greater than its width and shaped to approximate the frustrum of a cone when wrapped about the limb or member, the longest sides of said pad being substantially parallel and substantially arcuate, the upper arc having a larger radius of curvature than the lower arc,

said flexible pad comprising a laminate having an inner layer of resilient foamed material and an outer layer of a substantially inelastic flexible sheet,

one end of said pad having a velcro fastener strip attached to the outer surface of said outer layer and the other end of said pad having a ring attached to the outer surface of said outer layer, said velcro fastener strip having a loop section and a hook section, one of said sections of said velcro strip partially overlapping said pad, and the other of said sections comprising a free end, whereby said pad can be fastened around the extremity by threading said free end of said strip through the ring and reversedly drawing said free end for attachment to the other section of the velcro fastener thereby tightening the support device.

In another embodiment, said pad has a binding strip of elastic cloth around the edges of said pad, the binding strip being attached to the laminate by stitching from the foam side of said laminate.

In still another embodiment, said pad has two velcro strips, the free end of each strip having a raised portion thereon, said raised portion acting as a "catch" to permit the free end to be inserted in the rings and held in place by the raised portion so that the wearer may form the pad into an enlarged conical shape and maintain that shape by virtue of the raised portion or catch thereby permitting the wearer to put his arm through the cone before tightening.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other objects and advantages of the invention will become more apparent to those skilled in the art by reference to the following drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the muscular support device of the invention in position, tightly wrapped about the forearm.

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the muscular support device of the invention.

FIG. 3 is a bottom plan view of the muscular support device of the invention.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged perspective view of the muscular support device of the invention loosely engaged and ready to be placed about the arm.

FIG. 5 is a sectional view along the line 5--5 of FIG. 2.

FIG. 6 is a sectional view along the line 6--6 of FIG. 2.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As best seen in FIGS. 2 and 3, the muscular support pad of this invention comprises a substantially arcuate pad 1, having substantially parallel longitudinal sides 2 and 3, side 2 having a larger radius of curvature than side 3. Pad 1 comprises a laminate 4 having a polymeric foam bottom layer 5, which is preferably foam rubber of about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness, and a flexible but relatively inelastic sheet upper layer 6 which is preferably cotton duck cloth. A suitable laminate of foam rubber and cotton is commercially available from PROTEK-TOE PRODUCTS of Union, New Jersey. It is possible to use other foams than foam rubber but the foam should be selected so that it is highly resilient, has similar "fight back" properties so it tends to resist compression, and has a coefficient of friction sufficiently similar to that of foam rubber whereby it resists slipping even when the skin underneath the support device begins to sweat. Preferably the surface of the foam rubber is smooth appearing and the pore size of the foam at the surface is very tiny giving the outer surface of the foam a skin-like appearance.

The laminate 4 is preferably bordered by a binding strip 7 which is an elasticized fabric. The binding strip can be eliminated but at a sacrifice in the overall wear properties and appearance of the support. The elastic piping, as are all other attachments to the pad, is sewn on by stitching 8 which is sewn through the foam rubber side. By stitching through the foam rubber side is meant stitching with the foam rubber side in the upper position, the stitches 8 cause the foam rubber 5 to compress. The stitches, therefore, are indented below the surface that is in contact with the skin thereby lessening the danger of skin irritation due to abrasion caused by raised stitching.

As best seen in FIGS. 2 and 4, to one end of the pad is attached a pair of flexible VELCRO or equivalent fastener strips. Each fastener strip has hook portions 10 and 10' and loop portions 11 and 11'. The other end of the pad has a rigid metal ring 12 attached to the flexible outer sheet layer by looped cloth ribbon 13. As seen in FIGS. 1 and 4, the support is kept firmly about the muscle by threading the free loop end 11 of VELCRO fastener strip 9 through the underside of rigid metal ring 12 and reversedly back for attachment to hook end 10 of the VELCRO fastener strip.

In another embodiment, the free end 11 of the VELCRO fastener strip can be looped back upon itself and stitched thereby forming a raised portion or catch 14. This raised portion 14 permits the user to form a circular, loosely engaged support through which he can insert his arm prior to final positioning of the support device and tightening of the VELCRO fastener. This embodiment can be readily seen in FIG. 4.

To facilitate tightening and prevent misalignment of the ends of the pad when the fastener strip is tightly drawn, a particularly preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 5 has a plastic sheet material 15 such as celluloid or its equivalent stitched onto the upper surface of the outer fabric sheet.

The fastener used to tightly secure the muscle support about the arm can be modified using substitutes well known in the prior art. Rather than use dual narrow VELCRO strips, one could use a single wide strip, moreover, belts or buckles can be substituted. The use of dual strips of the type disclosed herein permits ready adjustment during the course of a tennis match to accommodate minor changes in muscle size due to expansion and contraction of the muscle.

The muscular support of the invention can be used for the prevention of injury to muscles in many parts of the body. It can be used on the leg by bicycle riders and athletes. In addition, the support can be used as a preventive measure by those who play tennis or work at occupations such as carpentry which because of their nature prove to cause similar injuries.

In addition, an inflatable sheet can be attached along the outer surface of the support device whereby it may serve as a bandage to stop excessive bleeding in operations or as an inflatable splint.

Size of the support device is not important but it is advantageous to have three sizes, each sufficient to be wrapped about and completely surround the muscle of the forearm without extensive overlap. Smaller sizes would be suitable for less muscular individuals.

These and other modifications will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art.