Title:
Torso arch support for body board users
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A garment worn by the user encircles his torso and includes a combined abdomen and chest cushion arrangement which supports the torso during a riding or paddling procedure. The pad includes layers of resilient cushion material as part of the garment. The cushion material is arranged in a series of different thickness pads or layers so as to compensate for the wedge-like angle between the surface of the board and the user's chest. In one form, the pads or bladders are arranged in three rows and two columns and are of a different thickness, commencing with the lower part of the user's rib cage and extending to the waist. The length of each of the pads or bladders is of a different dimension so as to accommodate for the decrease in space between the rib cage and the waist with respect to the surface of the board.



Inventors:
Perka, David J. (San Pedro, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/001963
Publication Date:
04/06/2006
Filing Date:
11/30/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B31/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, TAM M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PETRE GANJIAN (3146 NORTH VERDUGO ROAD, GLENDALE, CA, 91208, US)
Claims:
1. A torso support comprising: a support panel; the support panel being removably secured with a garment worn by a user; one or more pads with varying thicknesses carried on said support panel; the support panel is configured to have an upper portion having a thickness that lifts and elevates a torso of a user to reduce upper and lower back exertion during a prone position of the user; and a lower portion, having a second thickness that is less than the thickness of the upper portion of the support panel.

2. The torso support defined in claim 1, wherein: said one or more pads is selected from the group consisting of a. a gel material; b. an inflatable bladder; c. a foam composition; d. a fiber material; and e. resilient material.

3. The torso support defined in claim 2 wherein: said one or more pads are arranged in a vertical column and a horizontal row.

4. The torso support defined in claim 3 wherein: said pads in each of said columns are of different lengths, widths, and thicknesses; and said pads in each of said rows are identical in length, width, and thickness.

5. (canceled)

6. The torso support defined in claim 1, wherein said garment is selected from the group consisting of: a. a jacket; b. a vest; c. a waist band, and d. a wet-suit.

7. (canceled)

8. (canceled)

9. (canceled)

10. (canceled)

11. (canceled)

12. The combination defined in claim 1, wherein: said one or more pads are inflatable.

13. (canceled)

14. (canceled)

15. (canceled)

16. The torso support defined in claim 12 wherein: said one or more inflatable pads are arranged in spaced apart relationship and decreasing in size from the rib cage towards the upper abdomen.

17. A torso support comprising: a support panel; one or more pads with varying thicknesses carried on the support panel; the support panel is configured to have an upper portion having a thickness that lifts and elevates a torso of a user to reduce upper and lower back exertion during a prone position of the user; a lower portion, having a second thickness that is less than the thickness of the upper portion of the support panel; and means secured to the support panel for wearing on the torso of the user whereby the one or more pads reside adjacent a rib cage of the user.

18. A torso support comprising: a support panel; the support panel being removably secured with a garment worn by a user; one or more pads with varying thicknesses carried on the support panel; the support panel is configured to have an upper portion having a thickness that lifts and elevates a torso of a user to reduce upper and lower back exertion during a prone position of the user; a lower portion, having a second thickness that is less than the thickness of the upper portion of the support panel; the one or more pads are arranged in a vertical column and a horizontal row; the one or more pads in each of the columns are of different lengths, widths, and thicknesses; and the one or more pads in each of the rows are identical in length, width, and thickness.

19. A torso support comprising: a support panel; one or more pads with varying thicknesses carried on the support panel; the support panel is configured to have an upper portion having a thickness that lifts and elevates a torso of a user to reduce upper and lower back exertion during a prone position of the user; a lower portion, having a second thickness that is less than the thickness of the upper portion of the support panel; the one or more pads are arranged in a vertical column and a horizontal row; the one or more pads in each of the columns are of different lengths, widths, and thicknesses; the one or more pads in each of the rows are identical in length, width, and thickness, and means secured to the support panel for wearing on the torso of the user whereby the one or more pads reside adjacent a rib cage of the user.

20. The torso support defined in claim 1, wherein: the support panel is configured to have an upper portion having a thickness that lifts and elevates a torso of a user to reduce upper and lower back exertion during a prone position of the user while in water.

Description:

Priority claimed on Ser. No. 60/557,917 filed Apr. 1, 2004 PENDING and Ser. No. 60/526,287 filed Dec. 3, 2003 PENDING, which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to the field of orthopaedic supports, and more particularly to a novel torso or arch support that improves the endurance and paddling performance of board riders including surfers, paddle boarders, and boogie boarders.

2. Brief Description of the Prior Art

In the field of ocean sports, many people use a variety of boards on which to ride waves or surf along a beach front. In using such boards, it is the customary practice for the user to lie prone on his stomach along the upper surface of the board. In order to travel through the water, the user employs his arms in a paddling manner which causes his upper torso to rise above the surface of the board so that the torso is solely supported by the skeletal frame along the back. This causes a strain or fatiguing of the lumbar region due to the arch of the back which must be sustained for a relatively long period of time. Thus, such board riders suffer from chronic back pain, muscle tension, postural imbalance and other nagging problems.

Therefore, a long-standing need has existed to provide a torso or arch support which will relax the lumbar muscles, increase nerve flow and relieve discomfort in the lower back. Such a support should increase circulation and relieve compression of skeletal disks and nerves. The device should support the abdomen and the pelvis regions of the torso.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, the above problems and difficulties are avoided by the present invention which provides a garment to be worn by the board user which encircles his torso and includes a combined abdomen and chest pad arrangement which supports the torso on the surface of the board during a riding or paddling procedure. The pad includes layers of resilient foam cushion material, such as a gel, fiber, or inflatable bladders which are a part of the garment. The cushion material is critical in supporting the torso or body of the user so that injury and strain in the back, neck and shoulder areas are avoided. The cushion material pads or bladders may take the form of a single pad or be arranged in a series of different thicknesses so as to compensate for the wedge-like angle between the surface of the board and the user's chest when raised during a paddling procedure. In one form of the invention, the pads or bladders are arranged in three rows and two columns. Each pad or bladder is of a different thickness, commencing with the lower part of the user's rib cage and extending to the waist. Also, the length of each of the pads or bladders is of a different dimension so as to accommodate for the decrease in space between the rib cage and the waist with respect to the surface of the board. In other words, the cushion material occupies the void between the user's chest and abdominal area and the surface of the board.

Therefore, it is among the primary objects of the present invention to provide a torso and arch support for board riders which improves the endurance and paddling performance of water sport users, such as surfers, paddle boarders and boogie boarders.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a novel orthopaedic support for board riders which lends support to the user's torso where most needed, such as at the lower back where vertebrae are most sensitive to damage.

Another object of the present invention resides in providing an arch support for board riders which relieves tension on the lower back, upper back, shoulders and neck, by providing at least two and one-half inches of soft supportive cushion material.

Still another object relates to an orthopaedic support for the back to be worn by board riders which protects shoulders, back and neck from trauma and chronic muscular issues caused by unsupported paddling and arching during the sports activity.

A further object pertains to a torso and arch support which acts as a highly efficient paddle assistance device.

Still a further object resides in providing an arch support which increases the athlete's average endurance of a sport-session and improves in-session stamina by conserving energy.

A further object resides in providing an arch support which allows for a wide-range of unobstructed movement by the user through its flexible and light-weight design.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The features of the present invention which are believed to be novel are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The present invention, both as to its organization and manner of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof, may best be understood with reference to the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a side-elevational view of an environmental usage of the torso support incorporating the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a front elevational view of the torso support employed as a garment worn by a user incorporating the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a view, similar to the view of FIG. 2, illustrating the torso support as a vest with a pouch for insertably receiving a torso support of cushion material;

FIG. 4 is a longitudinal, cross-sectional view of the vest and cushion material illustrated in FIG. 3 as taken in the direction of arrows 4-4 thereof;

FIG. 5 is a transverse, cross-sectional view of the garment and cushion material as taken in the direction of arrows 5-5 of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a front elevational view of another embodiment of the invention taking the form of a mid-body belt incorporating the support cushion material in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view illustrating the pad of cushion material as having inflatable bladders coupled with a pressurized air source such as a compressor or air cylinder.

FIG. 8 is a side elevational view of another embodiment illustrating a single inflatable bladder or bag for supporting the rib cage and upper torso of a surfer; and

FIGS. 9 and 10 are enlarged prospective views of the inflatable bladder or bag as shown in FIG. 8.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIG. 1, the novel torso support is indicated in the general direction of arrow 10 which is worn by a surfer 11 lying prone on a board 12 while engaging in a water sport. The board 12 may be a surfboard which includes a forward portion 13 that is elevated out of the water surface and the user 11 is propelling himself and the board by means of arm paddles or hands and foot kicks. A stabilizing fin 14 downwardly depends from the rear of the board 12 and the user's arms are deployed in a “windmill” manner to propel the board and himself across the surface of water 15. During this paddling procedure, the user's chest and abdomen are raised from the board and the user's torso needs support.

Referring now in detail to FIG. 2, the torso support of the present invention comprises a garment, broadly indicated by numeral 16 which may or may not include sleeves, but in any event includes a body portion 17 of light-weight flexible material that carries a transverse reinforced area 18 that is preferably composed of a nylon mesh. Attached and carried by the nylon mesh 18 is a support panel 20 on which a plurality of cushion pads are secured. The pads are arranged in rows and columns whereby pads 21, 22 and 23 are arranged in one column while pads 24, 25, and 26 are arranged in an adjacent column. It is also to be noted that pads 21 and 24 are in a top row, while an intermediate row is defined by pads 22 and 25 respectively. Also, pads 23 and 26 are in a lower row which is substantially close to the abdomen and waist of the user while the upper row comprising pads 21 and 24 are immediately adjacent to the lower rib cage of the user. Therefore, it can be seen that the entire torso support with the pads occupy the chest and abdomen area of the user and provides the support necessary when the user is in the prone position, as shown in FIG. 1.

It is also to be noted that the pads are all arranged in fixed, spaced-apart relationship and that although the pads are carried on support panel 20, the garment including a waist portion 27 about the mid-section of the user may be composed of an elastic or stretchable material. The support panel 20 is carried on the garment by any suitable securement means, which may be releasably attachable to the garment or may be fixedly secured thereto. Each of the respective pads 21-26 inclusive are raised above the surface of the support panel 20 and are reduced in size and thickness as the pads progress from the top row through the intermediate row into the bottom row. Broadly, the pads may employ a cushion material such as a gel, air, foam, fiber, or other resilient material.

Referring now in detail to FIGS. 3-5 inclusive, another version of garment is illustrated taking the form of a vest 30 having a pouch 31 fully secured to the garment 20 by any suitable means 29, such as stitching, adhesive, or the like. It is to be noted that the pouch 31 includes an open top 32 into which a separate support panel 33 including pad 34 can be inserted. The pouch 31 is partially broken away to expose an inserted padded support panel 33. The pads, such as pad 34, are identical to the arrangement and disposition of the pads previously shown in FIG. 2 and as in the embodiment of FIG. 2, a single cushion pad or air bladder may be used.

Referring to FIG. 4, it can be seen that the arrangement of pads in the various rows and columns is substantially as described with respect to the invention shown in FIG. 2. The uppermost or top row of pads are thicker than the intermediate pad or the pads in the lower row. Also, it is noted that the outer surface of each of these respective pads is slanted and is more narrow in thickness as the pads progress from the upper row to the lower row. Therefore, the thickness of the pad occupies the narrowing space between the user's body and the surface of the board, as shown in FIG. 1.

In FIG. 5, it can be seen that the pads in the rows are also curvilinear in transverse cross section so as to reasonably match the contour of the user's body. Also, if desired, the pair of pads forming the upper row may be coupled together by a reduced thickness central portion 35 or the pads may be completely separate from one another.

Referring in detail to FIG. 6 another version of the invention is illustrated in the general direction of arrow 40 which is illustrated as a band 41 fitted about the mid-section of the user which can be composed of an elastic material or may include a releasable fastener so that the garment can be worn or taken off at ease. It is important to note that the front of the band 41 includes a support panel 42 for mounting a plurality of pads such as previously described with respect to the embodiment shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. The support panel 42 mounts pads 43, 44, and 45 in a column while pads 46, 47 and 48 reside in an adjacent column. The waistband 41 and the support panel and pads form a single unitary construction and can be worn against the skin or over a wetsuit or the like.

With respect to FIG. 7, another embodiment of the invention is illustrated in the general direction of arrow 50 which comprises a support panel 51 for supporting a plurality of bladders, such as bladders 52, 53 and 54 respectively. The bladders are carried on the support 51 as well as an inlet valve connected to one end of a hose 55 which is connected, in turn, to a pneumatic valve 56. The pneumatic valve 56 is carried on a pressure air cylinder 57 which supplies pressurized air to the bladder. Low pressure air is all that is needed. However, it is to be understood that the cylinder 57 may be replaced by a compressor which will achieve the same purpose. The main idea resides in the fact that the bladders will receive regulated or low-pressure air for inflation and the air source can be removed after inflation. A CO2 cartridge may also be used or the user may exhale into a nozzle carried on the bladder. The inflated bladders as well as the support 51 can then be used on a wetsuit, a vest, a shirt garment or a waistband.

In view of the foregoing, it can be seen that the torso support device of the present invention relieves tension on the lower back, upper back, shoulders and neck of the user by providing two and one-half inches of soft, supportive foam or inflated bladder to the wearer. The device protects shoulders, back and neck from trauma and chronic muscular issues caused by unsupported paddling and arching during the sporting activity. The device further acts as a highly effective paddle assistance device which increases the athlete's average duration of sports-session and further improves in-session stamina by conserving energy. The device also allows for a wide range of un-obstructive movement by the user through its flexibility and light-weight design.

FIGS. 8-10 show another version of the invention in the general direction of arrow 60. The surfer 11 is lying prone on a surf or paddle board 61 with a single inflated bladder, bag or container 62 occupying a space between the rib cage and partial abdominal area and the board surface. A single or pair of straps 63 and 64 releasably retain the bladder, bag or container on the user.

FIGS. 9 and 10 illustrate the bladder, bag or container 62 with the straps 63 and 64 detached in preparation for wearing by the surfer 11. The bladder, bag or container is inflatable by use of an inflation tube 65 with a one-way valve 66 for inflation by mouth. Other means for inflation may be used such as a CO2 cartridge, compressor or the like. The bladder, bag or container may be a bag having its opening closed by a seam 67. Also, the inflation tube may be located on the side, front or back of the bag.

While particular embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that changes and modifications may be made without departing from this invention in its broader aspects and, therefore, the aim in the appended claims is to cover all such changes and modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of this invention.