Exercise apparatus for bedridden patients
United States Patent 3887180

An exercise apparatus for use in combination with a bed having an end frame, consisting of side by side paddle boards, positioned to horizontally extend from the end frame of the bed, a coil spring interconnects each board with a platen, and adjustable means including a screw-nut assembly and guide rods for horizontally positioning the platen and paddle boards relative to the end frame to accommodate the specific patient and his position in the bed.

Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/624, 5/658, 482/904
International Classes:
A63B23/04; A63B21/02; A63B21/04; A63B21/05; A63B23/035; (IPC1-7): A63B23/04
Field of Search:
272/57D,58,83R 128
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3695255FOOT EXERCISING DEVICE1972-10-03Rodgers
3526220FOOT EXERCISER1970-09-01Small et al.
3318304Mechanical device for reducing blood clotting in legs1967-05-09Gurewich
3286709Therapeutic device for aiding circulation of blood in the limbs1966-11-22Hoyer et al.
2718396Leg exercising attachment for invalid's chair1955-09-20Lateau et al.

Primary Examiner:
Pinkham, Richard C.
Assistant Examiner:
Taylor, Joseph R.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Brown, Murray, Flick & Peckham
I claim as my invention

1. An exercise apparatus for use in combination with a hospital patient's bed or the like having an end frame whereby a patient situated in the bed undergoes active exercise of distal extremities, comprising:

2. An exercise apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said board means include two paddle boards arranged in a vertical side-by-side relation.

3. An exercise apparatus according to claim 2 wherein said resilient means include a coil spring for each of said paddle boards.

4. An exercise apparatus according to claim 3 further comprising a foot rest plate extending horizontally from the lower edge of each of said paddle boards.

5. An exercise apparatus according to claim 4 wherein said means for horizontally displacing said platen comprise a screw attached at one end to said platen and a nut carried by said mounting plate for receiving said screw.

6. An exercise apparatus according to claim 5 wherein said means for horizontally displacing said platen further comprise spaced-apart guide rods each attached at one end to one of said paddle boards, and a guide member in said mounting plate and said platen for slidably receiving each one of said guide rods.

7. An exercise apparatus according to claim 6 wherein each of said guide rods extend horizontally and in a coaxial relation within one of said coil spring.


Hospital and other patients undergoing recovery from an immobilized, bedridden condition, usually experience a loss of muscle tone due to stasis of blood in their distal extremities, particularly in the legs and feet of the patient. Actually, numerous medical problems are known to occur during a patient's recovery from a totally immobilized condition. Some of the problems are believed distinct from a loss of muscle tone in the legs and feet, while other problems are ancillary with this loss. The formation of blood clots in the legs of patients, particularly during the post operative period, occur for reasons not entirely understood, but it is surmised that they occur due to pressure on the back sides of the legs which restricts the flow of blood through the blood vessels. Usually most of the weight of the leg is supported by the calf portion thereof which is known to be particularly susceptible to a loss of muscle tone i.e., venous stasis. In other words, one of the causes of venous thrombros is the stasis of blood from bed rest.

A passive form of exercise particularly for postoperative patients will to some degree stimulate circulation in distal extremities to reduce incidence of pulmonary emoblism, enhance collateral circulation, etc. But the beneficial effects toward maintaining muscle tone by a passive form of exercise are small, and usually ineffective to reverse the degressive tendency toward a serious deficiency of muscle tone.

There are numerous other circumstances known in the medical field wherein a patient is not bedridden but will still greatly benefit from an active form of exercise of the distal extremities. Frequently, circumstances are such that it is less than desirable to make use of separate exercise facilities, even if they were available. As a result of the patient's own bed provides a very adequate place for exercise.


As an overall object, the present invention provides an exercise apparatus for use in combination with a hospital bed or the like for stimulating blood circulation in the lower extremities of a patient by movement of the muscles and thereby minimize the formation of blood clots while maintaining a degree of muscle tone in the legs of patients.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an exercise method and apparatus therefor which is compact and easily adaptable to a bed or like device without the need for tools or special fixtures.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide an active exercise apparatus wherein exercise means is constructed and arranged in a supported relation to a patient's bed so that the reaction forces to the exercise forces are absorbed by the structure of the bed.

In accordance with the present invention there is provided an exercise apparatus adapted for operation by a patient while situated in bed or the like, comprising a mounting plate including means for attachment to the end frame of a bed structure, a vertically arranged platen including supports carried by the mounting plate, resilient means attached to the side of the platen opposite to side connected to the supports therefor, and paddle boards connected to a cantilever relation to the resilient means for providing vertical surfaces thereon above the patient bearing surface of the bed.

In its preferred form two separate and independent paddle boards are provided with a coil spring for attaching each of the boards to the platen.

The present invention provides for attaching a resiliently supported paddle board means to a bed frame of the bed, positioning a patient in a convenient and desired location upon the patient bearing surface of the bed, positioning the paddle board means in an extended position from the bed frame above the patient bearing surface of the bed, causing at least one foot of the patient to operatively engage said paddle board means and causing the foot of the patient to depress said resilient paddle board means at regular intervals for flexing the muscles in the leg of the patient to thereby reduce incidence of venous stasis and a thrombosis in the leg.

These features and advantages of the present invention as well as others will be more fully understood when the following description is read in light of the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a partial elevational view of a hospital bed incorporating the exercise apparatus according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the exercise apparatus shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along lines III--III of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along lines IV--IV of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5. is a sectional view taken along lines V--V of FIG. 4; and

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

FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate the lower end portion of a bed of the type typically used by hospital patients. The bed includes a mattress 10 supported between side rails 11. The side rails are carried by an end frame which includes spaced-apart bed posts 12 having wheels 13 at their lower end. A horizontal cross bar 14 interconnects the posts at their upper end. In some bed construction, a vertical board or plate is used to interconnect the bed posts.

A rectangular shaped mounting plate 15 extends vertically beyond the cross bar 14 and midway between the bed posts 12. As shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 5, the mounting plate is rigidly attached to the bed by a pair of C shaped clamps 16 each having a hand actuated screw 17 which passes through the clamp and into a tap-hole formed in the mounting plate. The mounting plate carries horizontally spaced guide tubes 18, FIGS. 4 and 6, into which there is received a guide rod 19. The mounting plate also supports a threaded nut 21, FIG. 5, into which a screw shaft 22 is received. At the outward end of the bed, the rods 19 have stop blocks 23 and the adjusting screw 22 is provided with a hand-operated crank 24.

At the inboard end of the bed, as shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, each of the rods 19 pass through guided bushings 19a supported by a rectangular shaped platen 26. The screw 22 is attached to one vertical side of the platen 26. A pair of coil springs 27 are connected at one of their ends to the other vertical side of the platen 26 while the free end of the springs each support a paddle board 28 arranged in a side-by-side relationship. The guide rods 19 extend coaxially through the springs and are each secured to one of the paddle boards 28. Foot rest plates 29 extend horizontally from the lower edge of the paddle boards. The paddle boards are arranged to project horizontally above the mattress 10 such that the foot 40 of a patient's leg can conveniently engage the paddle board after it has been elevated slightly above the upper surface of the mattress or by raising the mattress relation to the paddle board. The plate 29 assists the patient to position and maintain his foot in proper relation to the paddle board.

The exercise apparatus is placed in an operative position by first clamping the mounting plate 15 to the end frame of the bed through the use of the clamps 16. The handle 24 is then rotat- ed to displace the platen 26 relative to the mounting plate, and in so doing the paddle boards are displaced in a horizontal position above the mattress 10 to some desired location such that the paddle boards are accessible to a patient while assuming a conven- ient position on the bed. The patient then elevates his foot into engagement with the paddle boards, or should for some other reason this proves impossible, then the mattress may be elevated with respect to the paddle boards by any one of several conventional devices. After the patient's foot engages the board, the board is depressed toward the platen while guided for horizontal move- ment by the rods 19, thus compressing the springs 27. The reaction force to this compressive force is absorbed by the bed. This provides a form of exercise which will maintain to a large degree the muscle tone in the calf portion and other areas of the patient's leg.

Those skilled in the art will readily appreciate that various changes to the apparatus shown in the drawings may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention. For example, instead of employing two separate paddle boards, it may be desirable to provide one continuous board which is supported by springs 27 or other forms of resilient means may be provided. In the event the end frame of the bed takes the form of a continuous board, the exercise device may be employed by reversing the position of the clamps 16 so that the extended leg portion projects outwardly of the bed.

Although the invention has been shown in connection with certain specific embodiments, it will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes in form and arrangement of parts may be made to suit requirements without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.