Title:
Orthopedic knee crutch
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A self-standing, orthopedic knee crutch includes an ambidextrous cushioned knee pad attached to an upper end of a vertical support member that employs centerline distribution loading to transfer the weight of a user onto a plurality of horizontal legs that distribute a user's weight. Each horizontal leg includes an elastomer tip for increasing a coefficient of friction between the knee crutch and the ground surface to minimize sliding or slipping. An adjustable, rotatable handle extends upward and away from the vertical support member to aid in supporting the weight of the user.



Inventors:
Moore, Mark C. (Poquoson, VA, US)
Application Number:
11/412180
Publication Date:
11/01/2007
Filing Date:
04/26/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
135/75
International Classes:
A45B5/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20060283493Portable dressing room assemblyDecember, 2006Charles
20070041175Bright radial outdoor umbrellaFebruary, 2007Chang
20040074529Self-contained and ventilated temporary shelterApril, 2004Levy et al.
20020069904Odor-inhibiting enclosureJune, 2002Robinson
20040200518Carboard shelterOctober, 2004Guy
20020036007Portable, tree-mounted blind apparatusMarch, 2002Sellers
20100051078CANOPY WITH ONE OR MORE SIDE AWNINGSMarch, 2010Sy-facunda
20080011343Umbrella having two shaftsJanuary, 2008Ko
20100089430Portable folding barApril, 2010Demars
20040099301Umbrella crib coverMay, 2004Zhang et al.
20100037929PROTECTIVE ELEMENTFebruary, 2010Liu



Primary Examiner:
HAWK, NOAH CHANDLER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Bradley, Goldizen D. (505 SOUTH INDEPENDENCE BOULEVARD, SUITE 102, VIRGINIA BEACH, VA, 23452, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. An adjustable, ambidextrous knee crutch comprising: an upper vertical riser support assembly that includes an upper inner tubing inserted into an upper outer tubing, one end of the upper inner tubing including two bends, a first bend being offset and the second bend forming a handle that includes a grip; a first adjustment means that couples the upper inner tubing to the upper outer tubing and that adjusts a height of the grip; a lower vertical riser support assembly that includes a detachable knee pad affixed to a support flange plate mounted atop a lower inner tubing that is inserted into an upper end of a lower outer tubing; a second adjustment means that couples the lower inner tubing to the lower outer tubing and that adjusts a height of the knee pad; a plurality of feet attached to a lower end of the lower vertical riser, said plurality of feet including both symmetrical and asymmetrical feet.

2. The adjustable, ambidextrous knee crutch of claim 1 wherein said grip is one of rubber, silicon, or molded plastic.

3. The adjustable, ambidextrous knee crutch of claim 1 wherein one of the first and second adjustment means comprises a compression fitting that secures an internal support member to an external support member

4. The adjustable, ambidextrous knee crutch of claim 1 wherein at least one of the upper outer tubing and the lower outer tubing comprises a plurality of through holes; and, at least one of the upper inner tubing and the lower inner tubing comprise a spring tensioned dual locking snap that couples the at least one of the upper inner tubing and the lower inner tubing to the at least one of the upper outer tubing and the lower outer tubing to the outer tubing.

5. The adjustable, ambidextrous knee crutch of claim 1 wherein at least one of the first and second adjustment means includes a compression nut that couples to threads arranged on one of the upper or lower outer tubing.

6. The adjustable, ambidextrous knee crutch of claim 1 wherein the upper outer tubing includes an offset bend.

7. The adjustable, ambidextrous knee crutch of claim 1 wherein each of said feet includes an elastomer tip that increase friction between the feet and a ground surface upon which the feet rest.

8. An adjustable, ambidextrous knee crutch comprising: a plurality of symmetrical feet; an asymmetrical foot attached to said symmetrical feet; a first vertical riser assembly comprising an outer tube having a plurality of paired openings, an upper end and a lower end, said lower end of the outer tubing being affixed to the plurality of symmetrical feet and the asymmetrical foot, an inner tube comprising a pair of openings and a spring tensioned dual locking snap having a pair of protuberances that extend through the pair of openings of the inner tube and into a pair of the plurality of paired openings to adjustably affix the inner tube to the outer tube, a flange plate affixed to an upper end of inner tube; a removable knee pad affixed to the flange plate; a second vertical riser assembly comprising an outer tube having a plurality of paired openings, an upper end and a lower end, said lower end of the outer tubing being affixed to the outer tubing of the first vertical riser assembly, an inner tube comprising a pair of openings and a spring tensioned dual locking snap having a pair of protuberances that extend through the pair of openings of the inner tube and into a pair of the plurality of paired openings to adjustably affix the inner tube to the outer tube; and, an adjustable handle affixed to an upper end of the inner tube of the second vertical riser assembly.

9. The adjustable, ambidextrous knee crutch of claim 8 wherein said second vertical riser assembly comprises an inner tube that includes two bends that form a handle.

10. The adjustable, ambidextrous knee crutch of claim 9 further comprising a grip that is attached to said handle.

11. The adjustable, ambidextrous knee crutch of claim 8 wherein said knee pad comprises a raised front and sides and an open back.

12. The adjustable, ambidextrous knee crutch of claim 8 wherein said upper vertical riser assembly includes a compression nut that couples to threads arranged on the upper outer tubing.

13. The adjustable, ambidextrous knee crutch of claim 8 wherein said lower vertical riser assembly includes a compression nut that couples to threads arranged on the lower outer tubing.

14. An ambidextrous knee crutch that comprises: an adjustable, upper riser assembly that includes a handle affixed at an upper end thereof; an adjustable, lower riser assembly that includes a removable knee pad arranged at an upper end of the lower riser assembly; and, a plurality of symmetrical feet and an asymmetrical foot arranged at a lower end of the adjustable, lower riser assembly.

15. The ambidextrous knee crutch of claim 14 wherein said adjustable, upper riser assembly includes an inner tube and an outer tubing; said inner tube having a handle formed at an upper end thereof and a pair of openings; said outer tube having a plurality of paired openings; a spring tensioned dual locking snap having a pair of protuberances that extend through the pair of openings in the inner tube and into a pair of the plurality of paired openings to adjustably affix the inner tube to the outer tube.

16. The ambidextrous knee crutch of claim 14 wherein said adjustable, lower riser assembly includes an inner tube and an outer tubing; said inner tube having a flange formed at an upper end thereof for receiving the knee pad and a pair of openings formed in said inner tube; said outer tube having a plurality of paired openings; a spring tensioned dual locking snap having a pair of protuberances that extend through the pair of openings in the inner tube and into a pair of the plurality of paired openings to adjustably affix the inner tube to the outer tube.

17. The ambidextrous knee crutch of claim 14 wherein said upper riser assembly includes a bend arranged in the lower vertical riser assembly that transfers a load placed on the handle into a center line load distribution of the lower vertical riser assembly.

Description:

There are no related patent applications.

This application did not receive federal research and development funding.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention generally relates to a durable medical equipment for use in redirecting static and dynamic loads in a leg of a user in situations such as post-operation convalescing interims, congenital disorders, and temporary or permanent disorders that impair normal functionality of the lower leg, ankle and/or foot. More specifically, the invention is an ambidextrous, adjustable knee crutch that employs a practical solution for such persons having impairments that limit the normal weight distribution on a lower leg that results from standing and walking.

Devices heretofore include crutches which include an armpit rest covered in a foam pad. The crutches can be difficult to use. For example, they limit mobility in confined spaces while requiring substantial strength and practice to use when transferring from a sitting position to a standing position and subsequent maneuverability during walking. Other drawbacks associated with the use of crutches are: the limited movement on the body above the waist; the difficulty in bending or rotating the upper part of the user's body; induced pain as a result of load bearing on the sensitive area of armpits which are not conducive to supporting a user's weight for extended periods of time; and, crutches require the use of both hands during walking.

Moreover, crutches may be dangerous when used in slippery conditions. Because they consist of singular foot pods having a minimal contact diameter, crutches limit the load bearing surface area. Thus, they contribute to increased instability during contact with normal ground surfaces, and to an even greater degree with soft or slippery ground surfaces. Other dangerous conditions created by crutches are that they become significantly unstable and difficult to maintain balance during transcending and descending stairways.

Crutches also do not remain self standing when not in use. Thus, they require the user to have to prop them against something else or lay them down which therein requires more effort in the retrieval process. Moreover, they do not facilitate the means of elevating or providing a “footstool” type resting benefit for the lower leg, ankle and foot when the user is seated. They also require the user to support the entire weight of the lower leg, ankle and foot during standing and walking, and are not designed for use during bathing, showering or such activities involving the use water.

Other prior medical devices, including crutches, do not incorporate the stable functionality and ease of use of the present invention to allow for one-handed operation during walking. None allow for a no-hands operational capability during standing. Nor do these devices provide for increased ground surface bearing area and permit the user to test the surface ahead for adequate or safe placement before subsequent full loading of the device. They also fail to provide for full body weight centerline loading and preclude the transmission of bi-lateral loading on the user while allowing for use without the need for straps or other inconvenient means as an attachment to the user. The prior devices also fail to provide the clinical benefit of lower leg, ankle and foot elevation during sitting. Nor do these devices have multiple horizontal legs strategically positioned such as not to interfere with the normal walking stride of the user. None of these devices incorporate a simplistic design as to preclude the need for any above-the-waist parts which would otherwise interfere with upper body movement. They also do not contain a handle grip assembly fabricated in a manner allowing for direct centerline loading that minimizes eccentric reaction loads which contribute to decreased stability, while employing a simplistic design that allows for self-standing of the device. They are typically bulky and interfere with a user's ordinary enjoyment during travel and are difficult to use in small rooms, cluttered areas, narrow pathways, and stairways. The devices are not well suited for stand-up bathing activities that maintain the user's stand-up height plane as it were before any debilitating condition existed. Examples of such prior medical devices include, those depicted in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,799,592 B1, 419,288, 5,746,236, 4,924,894, 4,141,375 B2, 6,976,972, 966,882 B2, 6,959,716 B1, 6,851,438 B2, 6,755,203 B1, 6,669,660 B2, 6,634,608 B2, 6,557,571 B1, 6,494,919 B1, 6,378,541 B1, 6,378,540 B2, 6,123,089, 6,053,189, 6,010,474, 5,941,263, 5,673,719, 5,499,645, 5,411,035, 5,300,016, 5,299,589, 5,178,595, 5,113,887, 4,867,188, 4,641,882, 4,451,080, 4,291,715, 4,254,948, 4,237,915, and 4,058,119.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An orthopedic knee crutch employs distribution of centerline weight loading by means of horizontal feet that are both symmetrically and asymmetrically attached to a lower end of the crutch assembly to provide a stable device. The horizontal feet, each preferably include durable elastomeric tips that increase a coefficient of static friction between the feet and the surface upon which they rest. This increased coefficient of friction advantageously minimizes sliding and slipping of the crutch during use. The horizontal configuration of the feet incorporates multi-contact points with the ground surface in a selected manner for improved stability, as opposed to single pod contact of a traditional crutch. Moreover, the preferred arrangement of horizontal feet allows the instant device to maintain an upright position when not in use. A lower vertical riser support assembly facilitates full body centerline loading during knee placement during use of the device.

A distance between the feet and knee contact point is adjustable to accommodate users of various heights. The invention includes an adjustable, detachable ambidextrous cushioned knee pad and an upper vertical riser support assembly that accommodates the transformed centerline loading as imparted by bearing of the direct body weight from the user's hand. A rotatable grip attaches to the upper vertical riser and includes an arm length adjustment means for adjusting the height of the grip relative to the feet of the device. An ergonomic grip handle assembly includes offset bends and is configured to facilitate the aforementioned transformation of the user's hand bearing load into direct centerline loading that is delivered onto the lower vertical riser assembly to be imparted onto the horizontal feet. The adjustment means of the handle grip assembly allow the handle to be rotated to change from right hand to left hand use. Both vertical riser support assemblies include adjustment means for adjusting the height of the handle grip and the knee pad. Preferably, each vertical riser support assembly includes two adjustment means which provide an infinite number of adjustment heights.

It is an object of the invention to provide a superior medical device for assisting with walking, standing, or resting of the lower leg, ankle and foot in those persons with debilitating conditions that would otherwise preclude the normal load bearing activity incurred during standing or walking.

It is another object of the invention to provide a knee crutch that is adjustable, and includes a compact design for travel, agility and ease of use when in confined spaces, such as small rooms. The present invention is small enough that it may be easily used in a public restroom stall.

It is another object of the invention to provide a device that is self standing and configured to minimize physical difficulty when retrieving the device for subsequent use after the user is rising from a seated or lying position.

It is a further object of the invention to provide a medical leg supporting device that is completely adjustable for ambidextrous use and includes a self-supporting configuration that is beneficial in stabilizing a user during all phases of normal activities. A user may stand upon his uninjured leg and transfer his body weight not only onto his good leg, but also through the knee of his bad leg and associated body members while not having to use his hand. Because the device is self-standing, rising from a seated position is easily achieved with use of the device.

The device is extremely stable when it is subjected to partial or full body weight loading. No bi-lateral loading exists during use of the device that would otherwise have to be resisted by the user's body in order to maintain stability. The device thereby resists tipping, and provides the user with the option of using no hands to balance during standing without compromising stability. Thus, the device offers hands-free use when the user is standing. This ability allows the user to practice tasks that require use of both hands.

Additional objects of the invention include providing a device that has no restrictive parts that interfere with a user's upper body rotational or bending movement, and allow one-handed operation during walking. Moreover, the device is configured with no straps, belts, or other fastening methods necessary during use.

A further object of the invention is to provide a device that includes the ability to place the device upon a surface area ahead of the user independent of the supported knee, while still maintaining complete stability. This advantageously allows the user to ascertain that substantial ground or surface capacity exists.

It is an additional object of the invention to provide a device configured for safely transcending and descending stairways. The device includes corrosion resistant materials that are suited for damp environments. This is particularly advantageous when used outside during inclement weather or when used in a tub or shower stall during bathing activity. The self-standing feature serves as a clinical method for elevating the affected lower leg, ankle, and foot during sitting.

It is a further object of the invention to provide a device having a simplicity and ease of operation such that no special training or practice is necessary for the user. The device beneficially includes a configuration such that no special or unique degree of strength is required by the user when using the device.

A further object of the invention to teach a device that is configured such that the user's stand-up height plane is maintained as it were before any debilitating condition existed to the degree requiring mechanical aid. The device thereby allows the user to perform all pre-injury routine activities comfortably with no special accessibility provisions that would otherwise be necessary for a reduced eye level or reach plane. Thus, the device has no parts which interfere with the natural heel to toe stride of the walking process.

The device favorably allows initial adjustments and orientation to be made for the individual user. The vertical riser support assemblies are adjusted and secured, including the orientation of the handle. A cushioned detachable knee pad is properly oriented on a flange plate that fastens to the lower vertical riser assembly such that a raised lip is arranged to the front of the device. The knee pad utilizes the raised lip to properly cradle the user's knee for comfort during walking or standing. By placing a hand on the ergonomic grip and placing the knee of the injured leg in the knee pad, the user picks up the unit and begins walking in a normal gait, as shown in FIGS. 7A through 7D. Walking can also be accomplished by placing the unit some unspecified distance ahead, while holding the grip, moving forward, and landing the knee in the knee pad, as shown in FIGS. 8A and 8B. This latter option of walking is necessary to avoid pathway objects or maneuvering up or down steps. During standing activity, the user simply transfers all or part of the entire body weight in the knee pad and remains upright with the other foot, inversely loaded, bearing on the ground surface. Since no bi-lateral loads exist, the user can remove all foot contact with the ground surface without risk of tipping. In addition, the user has the option of placing all body weight onto the handle grip without risk of tipping because of the stability of the device. Such load is transmitted thru the offset handle and into the vertical riser support assemblies with the tipping moment opposed by a majority that includes the asymmetrical horizontal leg and with the resultant balance reactions thru the horizontal symmetrical legs.

These and other objects and advantages of the invention will be set forth, appear in part or become apparent after considering the specification and accompanying drawings. It is to be realized that the following embodiments of the invention have been represented in their simplest form for ease in understanding the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1A and 1B respectively display front and rear elevation views of the present invention oriented for support of the right lower leg, ankle and foot.

FIGS. 2A and 2B respectively display right and left side elevation views of the present invention oriented for support of the right lower leg, ankle and foot. FIG. 2C is sectional plan view, taken from line A-A of FIG. 2A and depicts the configuration of the horizontal legs for the present invention.

FIGS. 3A and 3B respectively show front and rear elevation views of the present invention oriented for support of the left lower leg, ankle and foot.

FIGS. 4A and 4B respectively show right and left side elevation views of the present invention oriented for support of the left lower leg, ankle and foot. FIG. 4C is a sectional plan view taken from line A-A of FIG. 4B and shows the configuration of the horizontal legs for the present invention.

FIGS. 5A and 5B show enlarged views of the knee pad.

FIG. 6A shows an exploded view of the preferred embodiment of the invention. FIGS. 6B and 6C are respective exploded views of the upper and lower riser support assemblies.

FIGS. 7A-7D depict various views of the invention in use in a first method of walking.

FIGS. 8A-8C depict views of the invention in use in a second method of walking.

FIG. 9 shows a view of the invention when in use during sitting.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is ambidextrously designed, the detailed descriptions of preferred embodiments and their use are identical regardless of orientation. However, for ease in understanding the invention, the views shown in FIGS. 2A-2C, 4A-4C depict the invention configured for use with respective legs. These views when taken in conjunction with the exploded views of FIG. 6A-6C, aid the skilled artisan in appreciating the ambidextrous nature of the invention.

FIGS. 1A, 1B and 2A-2C reflect an embodiment of the invention configured for support of an injured right leg. FIGS. 3A, 3B and 4A-4C reflect an embodiment of the invention wherein the invention has been configured for support of an injured left leg.

The knee crutch 100 of the present invention includes an upper vertical riser support assembly 20 and a lower vertical riser support assembly 30. Upper vertical riser support assembly 20 includes the upper inner tubing 2 and the upper outer tubing 4. One end of the upper inner tubing 2 is preferably formed in the shape of a handle 21 that runs parallel to feet 14, 15 at one end and includes a grip 1. The grip 1 is an overlaid material and is preferably formed of a rubberized material that is comfortably gripped by a hand of the user. Typical materials may be rubber, silicon, or molded plastic. It is noted that in lieu of bending the upper inner tubing 2 to create the handle 21, a upper inner tubing may be a formed handle comprising a molded, casted, extruded or otherwise formed plastic handle containing a molded shape that includes a handle to be gripped. This can optionally be permanently inserted into the upper end of the upper inner tubing 2; thus, yielding the preferred handle shape 21. An adjustment means for the handle 21 allows for adjustment of the height of handle 21 relative to feet 14, 15. The adjustment means may comprise of a compression fitting 3, 10 that secures an internal support member 2, 9 to an external support member 4, 11 and/or a spring tensioned dual locking snap 5, 12 that couples the internal support member 2, 9 to the external support member 4, 11. These types of adjustment means may be employed in adjusting a height of a knee pad 6 relative to feet 14, 15 in the lower vertical riser support assembly 30. It should be noted that in the preferred embodiment shown in the Figs., the device provides dual adjustment means for both the knee pad 6 and the handle 21 relative to the horizontal feet 14, 15.

The upper inner tubing 2 includes both an offset bend 22 and a second bend 23 that forms the handle 21 onto which grip 1 attaches. A spring tensioned dual locking snap 5 is arranged in the upper inner tubing 2 at a lower end opposite the handle 21 and includes pin extensions 55 extending on either side thereof. These pin extensions 55 are connected via a leaf spring 56 that bias them away from one another. The lower end of the upper inner tubing 2 includes two holes 61 arranged on opposite sides thereof substantially near a bottom end that extends into an outer tubing. The pin extensions 55 of the snap 5 passes through these holes 61 and into holes 35 to couple the upper inner tubing 2 to the upper outer tubing 4. The upper inner tubing 2 passes through a locking compression nut 3 and into an upper open end of an upper outer tubing 4 that includes a plurality of through holes 35 arranged on opposite sides of the upper outer tubing 4. The upper outer tubing includes an offset bend 41 arranged below the plurality of through holes 35 and above attachment point 50. An upper end of the upper outer tubing 4 includes threads 28 for accepting the locking compression nut 3. A lower end of the upper outer tubing 4 attaches to the lower vertical riser support assembly 30 at attachment point 50.

The lower vertical riser support assembly 30 includes a detachable knee pad 6, a support flange plate 8, hook and loop fastening material 7, a lower inner tubing 9, a compression nut 10, a lower outer tubing 11, a spring tensioned dual locking snap 12 and a plurality of feet 14, 15. The detachable knee pad 6 includes hook and loop material 7 on a lower surface thereof. Complementary hook and loop material 7 is arranged on an upper surface of a support flange plate 8 for securing the detachable knee pad 6 thereto. The support flange plate 8 attaches at an upper end of the lower inner tubing 9. The spring tensioned dual locking snap 12 is fastened near a lower end of the lower inner tubing 9 and arranged similar to snap 5. A lower end of the lower inner tubing 9 passes through a locking compression nut 10 and into an upper end of the lower outer tubing 11. The lower outer tubing 11 includes threads 29 at an upper end for accepting the compression nut 10. A lower end of the lower outer tubing 11 attaches to the plurality of feet 14, 15. A plurality of through holes or openings 36 are provided along the length of the lower outer tubing 11 between the feet 14, 15 and the threads 29. Pin extensions of snap 12 extend through openings 62 that are arranged on opposite sides of the lower inner tubing 9. These pin extensions also extend through openings 36.

An orthopedic knee crutch in the preferred embodiment is configured in a strategic manner for supporting either the user's right lower leg, ankle and foot, by means of right knee placement in the cushioned knee pad 6, or the user's left lower leg, ankle and foot by means of left knee placement in the cushioned knee pad 6. Since the present invention is ambidextrous as depicted in the figures, the various parts serve the same function regardless of orientation. Thus, the device may be uniformly manufactured to include the shown parts and be used for supporting either leg. Since the orthopedic knee crutch requires no separate or additional components for accommodating different sized individuals and either leg of the individuals, the left leg and right leg configured embodiments shown in a respective figure are the same as depicted in the remaining figures.

The ergonomic grip 1 serves for grasping by a user's hand. The grip is formed of a rubberized or plastic material to ensure comfort during long periods of use. Moreover, the shape which makes it ergonomic also contributes to increased control and manipulation of the invention. The grip length is sufficiently long to accommodate different hand sizes. The cushioned aspect of the grip also, in part, absorbs the relatively low degree of instantaneous dynamic vibration which may occur when operating the unit on hard ground surfaces such as concrete. The grip is installed such that when load is imparted by the user's hand, the centerline transfer of weight thru the user's arm remains in the same line of action thru the grip and into the upper vertical riser support assembly. This centerline loading is transferred through the upper vertical riser support assembly and into the lower vertical riser assembly. It is this centerline load distribution that contributes to the invention's uniqueness and makes it superior to other prior medical devices of the art. While grasping grip 1 is optional for the user while standing in one location, it is necessary during the walking process. Grip 1 is installed onto the upper end of a single section of tubing, in a horizontal manner to facilitate the aforementioned grasping as shown.

The upper vertical riser support assembly is comprised of a preferred embodiment that includes upper inner tubing 2, locking compression nut 3, upper outer tubing 4, and spring tensioned dual locking snap 5. The compression nut 3 acts as a first height adjustment means for the handle 21 and provides the benefit of making the coupling between handle 21 and the lower part of the upper vertical riser assembly or outer tubing 4 rigid with no slack or wobble due to mill tolerances. This provides for increased control and allows the user to quickly become comfortable during initial use of the invention without added weight. That is to say, the lightweight compression nut 3 reduces slack or wobble which is undesired in that it may contribute to a dangerous unbalanced condition which may contribute to a fear of loss of control of the device or a sense of instability this in turn may contribute to an overcorrection of weight distribution which may lead to an unbalanced state. Since mill tolerances generally exist in mechanical fabrication, the compression nut is a preferred means in which to maintain rigidity. The compression nut typically contains a ferrule as an integral component that wedges the internal diameter of one telescoping tubing assembly to an outside diameter of a telescoping tubing assembly. Such assemblies are depicted in the present invention and are included as part of the upper and lower riser assemblies. The spring tensioned dual locking snaps 5, 12 are preferably comprised of two opposing protuberances 55, 77 along a singular line of action that are connected by a flat leaf type spring 56, 78. This type of snap is often used to secure a telescoping tubing assembly at a desired position. Such is the case as the present invention. For ease in understanding the invention, only a discussion of snap 5 follows. It is to be understood that snap 12 operates in a similar fashion to snap 5. Once a desired adjusted height of the riser assembly is achieved, the spring tensioned dual locking snap protuberances 55 extend thru holes in the upper inner tubing 2 and thru a pair of holes located on the upper outer tubing 4. This orthogonal travel of the protuberances 55 thru the upper inner tubing 2 and upper outer tubing 4 is what restrains any further telescoping action and operates as a rough adjustment means in achieving a desired height. The protuberances 55 of the spring tensioned dual locking snap 5 are of sufficient structural capacity as to withstand the bearing stress imparted from the upper inner tubing 2 and the upper outer tubing 4 when the invention is in use.

Upper inner tubing 2 contains an eccentric radial bended configuration on the grip 1 end as to transfer the user's hand imparted bearing load axially down thru the upper vertical riser support assembly. Upper inner tubing 2 is adjustable by moving up, or down, along the centerline axis of the upper outer tubing 4 in order to accommodate an individual user's arm length. Following vertical adjustment for the individual user's arm length, tubing 2 may require 180 degree rotation, as indicated in the figures, to facilitate orientation for either the user's body right side or the user's body left side. A spring tensioned dual locking snap 5 is installed inside upper inner tubing 2 and aligned for protrusion thru two holes, 180 degrees apart, and in the same horizontal plane. When aligned, the spring tensioned snap 5 protrudes thru the upper inner tubing 2 two holes and simultaneously thru the upper outer tubing 4 two coplanar holes 35. The upper outer tubing 4 contains a plurality of vertically spaced pairs of holes 180 degrees apart. Once height adjustment and orientation are determined, the inner tubing is moved either up or down just slightly more to facilitate the protruding of the spring tensioned dual locking snap 5 thru the closest pair of holes in the upper outer tubing 4. The locking compression nut 3 is then hand tightened to take up any radial or axial slack movement due to mill tolerances. Thus, the snap 5 and openings 61, 35 provide a first adjustment means and the compression nut 3 operates as a second more fine adjustment means.

Note that during initial adjustment, or any subsequent adjustment for arm length, it may become necessary to depress and hold the spring tensioned dual locking snap 5 thru the array of paired holes in the upper outer tubing 4 in order to facilitate and maintain continued vertical movement of the upper inner tube 2.

The upper vertical riser support assembly attaches to the lower vertical riser support assembly. The lower vertical riser support assembly comprises a lower inner tubing 9, locking compression nut 10, lower outer tubing 11, and spring tensioned dual locking snap 12 having protuberances 77 and a leaf spring 78. On the top end of the lower vertical riser support assembly are detachable cushioned knee pad 6, hook and loop attachment means 7, and support flange plate 8. On a bottom end of the lower vertical support assembly 30 are attached symmetrical horizontal legs 13, 14 and asymmetrical horizontal leg 15. Each horizontal leg contains an elastomer foot tip, preferred embodiment 16. Asymmetrical horizontal leg 15 is preferably arranged on an outer side of the device that is the most further away from the good leg of the user.

Detachable cushioned knee pad 6 cradles the user's respective knee for the chosen orientation as to support either the right lower leg, ankle and foot or the left lower leg, ankle, and foot. The detachable cushioned knee pad 6 is of a contoured shape as to ensure load bearing comfort to the patella of the injured leg as shown in FIGS. 5A and 5B. The knee pad has an open back with raised front and sides. The knee pad is preferably comprised of close cell foam and/or encapsulated gel as to provide cushioning to the knee during use. During use of the invention, the cushioning aspect also provides for vibration damping as may be present when coming in contact with hard ground surfaces. Moreover, the contoured shape and cushioning feature alleviate single point loading and ensure the even distribution of reaction loading when in contact with the user's knee. The raised front and sides of the knee pad provide for the overall natural traverse activity with minimal active awareness necessary for the process. The inherent raised front and sides are sensed by the user during the walking process entirely by feel. Shortly following the first time use of the invention, the user becomes accustom to proper knee placement by feel and can easily move forward, backwards, transcend or descend stairs comfortably with minimal cognizant awareness of the knee placement activity, thereby, maintaining focus on direction, speed, etc. just as in normal walking for a person without any debilitating condition requiring mechanical aid. The contour of the cushioned knee pad and its specific arrangement on the flange plate 8 provides for the centerline axial loading aspect unique to the invention. Since the knee pad is detachable, removal is relatively easy for cleaning in addition to orientation set up. Since the knee pad is comprised of soft cushioned materials, the clinical benefit of comfortably supporting an injured leg exists as an option during sitting. The stable features of the invention allows for a “foot stool” type benefit. Moreover, the user may elect to sit on the knee pad without fear of the invention tipping. Sitting, just as with standing, walking, or elevating an injured leg, utilizes the invention's unique centerline loading capability. The preferred method of attachment for the cushioned knee pad 6 is by means of a hook and loop pad configuration 7. The hook and loop pad 7 is particularly well suited for the invention as it provides for easy removal and reattachment. The hook and loop pad is custom cut and comprised of two thin layers wherein one is a plastic hook array and the other is a cloth like material weaved in such a manner as to accept the mating hook portion. When pressed together, the plastic array of hooks engages to the cloth portion. The user simply pulls on either section to separate. One layer is attached to the support flange 8 and the other layer is attached to the cushioned detachable knee pad 6. A preferred means of installation of the hook and loop individual layers are by a pre-applied adhesive with removable protective tape. The hook and loop pad is suitable for wet environments. Given this preferred embodiment, the user removes the detachable cushioned knee pad 6 by hand and reattaches as required to align with the grip and knee to be supported. Given however, that the orthopedic knee crutch is in need of initial set up for the user's body side and knee placement, rotation of grip 1, and 180 degree rotation of the detachable cushioned knee pad 6, as previously described, are the sole means necessary to complete the orientation process.

Support flange plate 8 contains the detachable cushioned knee pad 6 and the securing means of a hook and loop pad configuration 7. The support flange plate 8 is centered and attached to the top portion of the lower inner tubing 9. The arrangement of elements 6, 7, and 8 of the invention allow for centerline loading resulting from the user's knee placement. The entire body weight of the user can be imparted into the detachable cushioned knee pad 6 without risk of tipping. The lower vertical riser support assembly is designed for the centerline loading of the user's full body weight as imparted either by the knee, the entire body weight as imparted by the hand on grip 1, or a combination of both without risk of tipping. When loading imparted by the hand occurs, the asymmetrical horizontal leg 15 opposes the tipping moment combined with the bending restraint contribution by the symmetrical horizontal leg 14. When loading imparted by the knee occurs, both the symmetrical horizontal legs 13 and 14, and the asymmetrical horizontal leg 15 oppose the tipping moment.

Lower inner tubing 9 is adjustable by moving up, or down, along the centerline axis of the lower outer tubing 11 in order to accommodate an individual user's knee length. A spring tensioned dual locking snap 12 is installed inside lower inner tubing 9 and aligned for protrusion thru two holes, 180 degrees apart, and in the same horizontal plane. When aligned, the spring tensioned snap 12 protrudes thru the lower inner tubing 9 two holes and simultaneously thru the lower outer tubing 11 two coplanar holes. The lower outer tubing 11 contains vertically spaced pairs holes 36 that are 180 degrees apart. Once an appropriate height adjustment has been established, the lower inner tubing 9 is moved either up or down just slightly more to facilitate the protruding of the spring tensioned dual locking snap 12 thru the closest pair of holes in the lower outer tubing 11. The locking compression nut 10 is then hand tightened to take up any radial or axial slack movement due to mill tolerances. The locking compression nut 10 is similar to the locking compression nut 3 in both physical and functional properties as previously described.

During initial adjustment, or any subsequent adjustment for knee height, it may become necessary to depress and hold the spring tensioned dual locking snap 12 thru the array of paired holes in the lower outer tubing 11 in order to facilitate and maintain continued vertical movement of the lower inner tube 9.

Elastomer foot tips 16 are installed on the ends of the symmetrical horizontal legs 13 and 14 and the asymmetrical horizontal leg 15 to increase friction between the legs when they are in contact with ground surfaces. Since elastomer tips are of rubber construction with a relatively low durometer value, they also provide a vibration damping benefit when coming into contact with hard ground surfaces such as concrete. Moreover, the elastomer tips serve to protect interior flooring surfaces from scratches that may otherwise occur given the undesired condition of direct metal contact. Such examples of interior finished floors would include hardwood and vinyl. The elastomer tips are held onto the horizontal legs 13 and 14 and the asymmetrical horizontal leg 15 by the inherent frictional restraining forces between metal and rubber. The elastomer tips individually contain an internal diameter just slightly smaller than the outside diameter of the metal tubing that comprise the horizontal legs of the invention. The elastomer tips are stretched during assembly of the invention to slide over the end of the horizontal legs.

There are at least six activities in which the orthopedic knee crutch is well suited and superior to prior medical devices. These include:

1. To aid in the normal walking process while maintaining knee contact with the detachable cushioned knee pad 6;

2. To aid in the walking process for when the user remains stationary at the beginning of each cycle while placing the orthopedic knee crutch some unspecified distance ahead;

3. To aid in the transcending and descending of stairways;

4. To aid in those cases when both feet are off the ground when standing for intermittent intervals to take load off both feet;

5. To provide the clinical benefit of elevating the right or left lower leg, ankle and foot; and,

6. To aid in stand-up bathing activity.

The following is a discussion of the process for using the device when the user's right knee is being supported in order to alleviate any load bearing to the right lower leg, ankle and foot.

The following discussion relates a first method of walking shown in FIGS. 7A-7D. To facilitate this method of walking, and following the initial orientation and adjustment, the user grasps grip 1 with his right hand and places the right knee in the detachable cushioned knee pad 6. The user picks up the orthopedic knee crutch by grip 1, just enough to clear the ground surface or any pathway obstacles. While maintaining the cradled right knee, the user moves the unit forward a distance that is comfortable. He then allows the back side of symmetrical horizontal legs 13 and 14 to come into contact with the ground surface. At this point the user shifts his body forward to transfer the body weight from the left foot to the supported right knee to complete the stepping process wherein all horizontal legs are resting on the ground surface with the orthopedic knee crutch upright. This process is then repeated to allow the user to continue his movement forward.

The following is a discussion of the process of using the device when the user's left knee is being supported in order to alleviate any load bearing to the left lower leg, ankle and foot.

To facilitate this means of walking, and following the initial orientation and adjustment, the user grasps grip 1 with his left hand and places the left knee in the detachable cushioned knee pad 6. The user picks up the orthopedic knee crutch by grip 1, just enough to clear the ground surface or any pathway obstacles, while maintaining the cradled left knee, moves the unit forward a distance that is comfortable to the user, then allowing the back side of symmetrical horizontal legs 13 and 14 to come into contact with the ground surface. At this point the user shifts his body forward, transferring the body weight from the right foot to the supported left knee to complete the step process wherein all horizontal legs are resting on the ground surface with the orthopedic knee crutch upright. This process is then repeated allowing the user to continue his movement forward.

The following is a discussion of a second method of walking shown in FIGS. 8A-8C. To aid in the walking process for when the user remains stationary at the beginning of each cycle while placing the orthopedic knee crutch some unspecified distance ahead. An example of this type of activity would include the user testing the ground surface for stability before transferring his full body load. Another example would be to avoid pathway objects.

The following is a discussion of the process of use when the user's right knee is being supported in order to alleviate any load bearing to the right lower leg, ankle and foot.

To facilitate this means of walking, and following the initial orientation and adjustment, the user grasps grip 1 with his right hand and lifts the orthopedic knee crutch and places the unit some unspecified distance ahead wherein all horizontal legs are resting on the ground surface with the orthopedic knee crutch upright. At this point the user, while still maintaining his grasp on grip 1, then picks up the right knee to be supported and proceeds to lean forward. The user lands his right knee in the cushioned detachable knee pad 6. The user then completes the process of bringing his body forward, along with the left foot, to complete the step process. This process is then repeated allowing the user to continue his movement forward.

The following is a discussion of the process of use when the user's left knee is being supported in order to alleviate any load bearing to the left lower leg, ankle and foot.

To facilitate this means of walking, and following the initial orientation and adjustment, the user grasps grip 1 with his left hand and lifts the orthopedic knee crutch and places the unit some unspecified distance ahead wherein all horizontal legs are resting on the ground surface with the orthopedic knee crutch upright. At this point the user, while still maintaining his grasp on grip 1, then picks up the left knee to be supported and proceeds to lean forward. The user lands his left knee in the cushioned detachable knee pad 6. The user then completes the process of bringing his body forward, along with the right foot, to complete the step process. This process is then repeated allowing the user to continue his movement forward.

The following is a discussion of how use of the device aids in the transcending and descending of stairways when the user's right knee is being supported in order to alleviate any load bearing to the right lower leg, ankle and foot.

To facilitate this means of going up stairs, and following the initial orientation and adjustment, the user grasps grip 1 with his right hand and lifts the orthopedic knee crutch and places the unit onto the next upper step from his present location wherein all horizontal legs are resting on the step with the orthopedic knee crutch upright and his body weight being supported in the left foot. At this point the user, while still maintaining his grasp on grip 1, then elevates his body along with the right knee inline with the detachable cushioned knee pad 6, and leans forward, placing his knee in the detachable cushioned knee pad 6. The user then brings his left foot forward and up to the step where the orthopedic knee crutch is positioned to complete the step up process. This process is then repeated allowing the user to continue his movement up the stairs.

The following is a discussion of how use of the device aids in the transcending and descending of stairways when the user's left knee is being supported in order to alleviate any load bearing to the right lower leg, ankle and foot.

To facilitate this means of going up stairs, and following the initial orientation and adjustment, the user grasps grip 1 with his left hand and lifts the orthopedic knee crutch and places the unit onto the next upper step from his present location wherein all horizontal legs are resting on the step with the orthopedic knee crutch upright and his body weight being supported in the right foot. At this point the user, while still maintaining his grasp on grip 1, then elevates his body along with the left knee inline with the detachable cushioned knee pad 6, and leans forward, placing his knee in the detachable cushioned knee pad 6. The user then brings his right foot forward and up to the step where the orthopedic knee crutch is positioned to complete the step up process. This process is then repeated allowing the user to continue his movement up the stairs.

The following is a discussion of use of the device when descending stairways. In this process, the user's right knee is being supported in order to alleviate any load bearing to the right lower leg, ankle and foot.

To facilitate this means of going down stairs, and following the initial orientation and adjustment, the user grasps grip 1 with his right hand and lifts the orthopedic knee crutch and places the unit onto the next lower step from his present location wherein all horizontal legs are resting on the step with the orthopedic knee crutch upright and his body weight being supported in the left foot and in the grip 1. At this point the user, while still maintaining his grasp on grip 1, then lowers his body, and leans forward, landing his right knee in the detachable cushioned knee pad 6. The user then brings his left foot forward and down to the step where the orthopedic knee crutch is positioned to complete the step down process. This process is then repeated allowing the user to continue his movement down the stairs.

The following is a discussion of use of the device when descending stairways. In this process, the user's left knee is being supported in order to alleviate any load bearing to the left lower leg, ankle and foot.

To facilitate this means of going down stairs, and following the initial orientation and adjustment, the user grasps grip 1 with his left hand and lifts the orthopedic knee crutch and places the unit onto the next lower step from his present location wherein all horizontal legs are resting on the step with the orthopedic knee crutch upright and his body weight being supported in the right foot and in the grip 1. At this point the user, while still maintaining his grasp on grip 1, then lowers his body, and leans forward, landing his left knee in the detachable cushioned knee pad 6. The user then brings his right foot forward and down to the step where the orthopedic knee crutch is positioned to complete the step down process. This process is then repeated allowing the user to continue his movement down the stairs.

During walking activity and/or transcending or descending stairways, the user still only requires the use of one hand. The user should be permitted to carry items in the remaining hand with a weight and size limit to that degree which is comfortable. An example would include carrying a bag of groceries from a vehicle along a walkway and then up steps to the entrance of a dwelling.

The present invention aids in those cases when both feet are off the ground when standing for intermittent intervals to take load off both feet. These situations may exist when the user has a debilitating condition affecting both lower legs, ankles and/or feet, to an unspecified lesser degree in the non-supported side, requiring only occasional intermittent load bearing relief while standing, and in between walking. Since the orthopedic knee crutch is designed for centerline loading, the user simply transfers all of his weight to the supported knee and remains upright with the unsupported foot off the ground surface. The user may choose to use grip 1 to help maintain stability.

An additional benefit of the orthopedic knee crutch is that the user's stand-up height is unaffected as it were before any debilitating condition existed to the degree requiring mechanical aid. An example would include the use of a wheel chair. The user would have to become accustom to the reduced height while performing everyday activities. With the present invention, the user can still perform most or all of his previous routine activities comfortably since no special accessibility provisions are necessary for a reduced eye level or reach.

The invention also provides the clinical benefit of elevating the right or left lower leg, ankle and foot, as shown in FIG. 9. An example would be a post operation clinical regimen that includes elevation of a lower leg, ankle or foot as to minimize blood flow for reduction in swelling. During intervals of sitting, the user places the unit in front and simply props his foot or lower leg atop the cushioned knee pad 6 just as he would a footstool. This precludes the need for additional means of elevation when an individual is sitting at places away from home. Moreover, since the orthopedic knee crutch stands alone in the upright position, the ability to retrieve is simplified.

Lastly, the present invention aids in stand-up bathing activity. Since, the orthopedic knee crutch is designed for centerline loading and is comprised of corrosion resistant materials, which makes it ideal for stand up bathing. In addition, the elastomer feet tips 16 prevent the present invention from slipping when in contact with wet surfaces. Following placement in a shower stall, the user transfers all of his weight to the supported knee and remains upright with the unsupported foot off the shower stall or tub bottom surface. The user can raise and cleanse the unsupported leg easily without fear of tipping. Since reach and eye sight level are not reduced, showering activity remains relatively easy to perform since stand-up height is unaffected as it were before any debilitating condition existed to the degree requiring mechanical aid. Often following surgery when a patient is in a cast, bathing activity requires the use of waterproofing in order to keep the cast dry. A cast below the knee is often waterproofed by the traditional means of wrapping with a plastic garbage bag. This could still remain the choice method without compromising the waterproof benefit when using the orthopedic knee crutch.

Having described the present invention pursuant to the requirements of patent statues, the preferred embodiments can be modified, substituted or augmented in order to facilitate the ease of manufacture without deviating from the original scope or intent of the present invention. For example, a person skilled in the art may choose to make an orthopedic knee crutch with no adjustments and tailored in a fixed configuration for an individual user. Another example would include using square tubing in lieu of round tubing. Additionally, adjustment-locking means could be accomplished with different components than the preferred embodiments depicted. Such changes or modifications could be numerous and may be made which do not depart from the scope, vivacity, and enthusiasm of the invention.

While the invention has been described with respect to preferred embodiments, it is apparent to those skilled in the art that changes, modifications and additions may be made to the herein described embodiments without departing from the scope of the invention. Accordingly, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense or use.