Title:
Walking Stilts with Separate Heel and Toe Sections
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A walking stilt includes a shoe platform and a floor platform connected by a support. The floor platform includes a heel section pivotally attached to the support and a separate and independently pivotable toe section pivotally attached to the support. The construction mimics an ankle joint and toe joints to provide a smooth rolling action while walking.



Inventors:
Singleton, Robert P. (Helena, AL, US)
Application Number:
12/249492
Publication Date:
04/15/2010
Filing Date:
10/10/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B25/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LONG, ROBERT FRANKLIN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NIXON & VANDERHYE, PC (901 NORTH GLEBE ROAD, 11TH FLOOR, ARLINGTON, VA, 22203, US)
Claims:
1. A walking stilt comprising: a shoe platform; a support attached at one end to the shoe platform; and a floor platform connected to an opposite end of the support, wherein the floor platform includes a heel section pivotally attached to the support and a toe section pivotally attached the support, wherein the toe section is separate from the heel section, and wherein the heel section and the toe section are independently pivotable.

2. A walking stilt according to claim 1, comprising a pair of supports attached at the one end to the shoe platform wherein the heel section is pivotally attached to one of the pair of supports, and wherein the toe section is pivotally attached to the other of the pair of supports.

3. A walking stilt according to claim 2, wherein the pair of supports are pivotally attached to the shoe platform.

4. A walking stilt according to claim 2, further comprising a support bracket secured between the pair of supports.

5. A walking stilt according to claim 4, wherein the support bracket is pivotable relative to the pair of supports.

6. A walking stilt according to claim 4, wherein the support bracket comprises a first plate member secured to the one of the pair of the supports, a second plate member secured to the other of the pair of the supports, and a pivot member pivotally connected between the first and second plate members.

7. A walking stilt according to claim 2, further comprising a leg support bracket assembly mounted to one of the pair of supports for securing a leg support to the walking stilt, the leg support bracket assembly including: a leg support bracket attached to the one of the pair of supports, a first bolt extendable through the leg support bracket, and a failsafe member cooperable with the leg support bracket and the leg support, the failsafe member securing the leg support upon failure of the bolt.

8. A walking stilt according to claim 7, wherein the failsafe member comprises a second bolt extendable through an opening in the leg support bracket, the opening being oversized relative to the second bolt.

9. 9-10. (canceled)

11. A walking stilt according to claim 2, wherein the heel section is pivotally attached to the one of the pair of supports at an interim position of the heel section between ends thereof, and wherein the toe section is pivotally attached to the other of the pair of supports at an interim position of the toe section between ends thereof.

12. A walking stilt according to claim 1, wherein the floor platform is constructed and assembled such that with the walking stilt pitched toward the heel section, the entire heel section maintains ground contact, and with the walking stilt pitched toward the toe section, the entire toe section maintains ground contact.

13. A walking stilt according to claim 1, wherein the floor platform is constructed and assembled such that with the walking stilt pitched toward the heel section, substantially none of the walking stilt load is supported by the toe section, and with the walking stilt pitched toward the toe section, substantially none of the walking stilt load is supported by the heel section.

14. A walking stilt comprising: a shoe platform; a support attached at one end to the shoe platform; a floor platform connected to an opposite end of the support, wherein the floor platform includes a heel section pivotally attached to the support and a toe section pivotally attached to the support, wherein the toe section is separate from the heel section, and wherein the heel section and the toe section are independently pivotable; and a support bracket secured between the pair of supports, the support bracket being pivotable relative to the pair of supports.

15. A walking stilt according to claim 14, comprising a pair of supports attached at the one end to the shoe platform, wherein the heel section is pivotally attached to one of the pair of supports, and wherein the toe section is pivotally attached to the other of the pair of supports.

16. A walking stilt according to claim 15, wherein the support bracket comprises a first plate member secured to the one of the pair of the supports, a second plate member secured to the other of the pair of the supports, and a pivot member pivotally connected between the first and second plate members.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

(NOT APPLICABLE)

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

(NOT APPLICABLE)

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to stilt systems, particularly stilt systems used in the construction industry for accessing raised working surfaces such as ceiling structures and the like.

In order to access raised working surfaces, construction workers and other skilled craftsmen frequently use stilt systems. Such systems permit them freedom of movement by walking, while raising the workers to a desired elevated height. Such stilts are known in the art and are sold under various trade names. One well-known stilt system is sold under the trade name DURA-STILT and is described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,102,272 and 3,902,199, the disclosures of which are hereby incorporated by reference. The DURA-STILT is an adjustable stilt to be worn on each leg. It has a floor platform and a shoe platform that are connected by two parallel spring-loaded pivotally mounted vertical members. A hollow tubular leg support is attached to the rearward vertical member. Straps are provided for attaching the leg support to the user's leg and for attaching the ankle area and the toe area of the shoe to the shoe platform. Because the vertical members are pivotally attached to the upper shoe platform and the lower floor platform and are spring-loaded, the vertical members are maintained in a substantially parallelogram configuration. This configuration permits the user to walk readily on the stilts and maintain balance.

Existing stilt systems utilize a one-piece or rigid floor platform. Although the spring system purports to provide a “give and release” action when walking, the product in reality is very cumbersome, and the walking action is more of a lumbering two-stage landing. Most significantly, only the rear or lead edge of the floor pad is in contact with the ground during the vast majority of the walking process.

It would thus be desirable to modify the floor platform to provide a more accurate reflection of a human foot, providing a smooth rolling action while walking.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

With the design according to preferred embodiments described herein, the floor platform is divided into two separate and independently pivotable sections, e.g., a heel section and a toe section. In this manner, at least one pad maintains full contact with the ground at all times. Both the heel and toe sections rotate freely and independently, thereby providing a reflection of the ankle joint and toe joints to provide a smooth rolling action while walking.

In an exemplary embodiment, a walking stilt includes a shoe platform, a support attached at one end to the shoe platform, and a floor platform connected to an opposite end of the support. The floor platform includes a heel section pivotally attached to the support and a separate and independently pivotable toe section pivotally attached to the support. The walking stilt may include a pair of supports attached at the one end to the shoe platform, where the heel section is pivotally attached to one of the pair of supports, and the toe section is pivotally attached to the other of the pair of supports. In one embodiment, the pair of supports are pivotally attached to the shoe platform. A support bracket may be secured between the pair of supports, which is preferably pivotable relative to the pair of supports. In one arrangement, the support bracket includes a first plate member secured to the one of the pair of the supports, a second plate member secured to the other of the pair of the supports, and a pivot member pivotally connected between the first and second plate members.

A leg support bracket assembly may be mounted to one of the pair of supports for securing a leg support to the walking stilt. In this context, the leg support bracket assembly includes a leg support bracket attached to the one of the pair of supports, a bolt extendable through the leg support bracket, and a failsafe member cooperable with the leg support bracket and the leg support. The failsafe member secures the leg support upon failure of the bolt. The failsafe member may be a second bolt extendable through an opening in the leg support bracket, which opening is oversized relative to the second bolt.

In another exemplary embodiment, the heel section may be pivotally attached to the support at an interim position of the heel section between ends thereof, and the toe section may be pivotally attached to the support at an interim position of the toe section between ends thereof

In one arrangement, the floor platform is constructed and assembled such that with the walking stilt pitched toward the heel section, the entire heel section maintains ground contact, and with the walking stilt pitched toward the toe section, the entire toe section maintains ground contact. The floor platform may additionally or alternatively be constructed and assembled such that with the walking stilt pitched toward the heel section, substantially none of the walking stilt load is supported by the toe section, and with the walking stilt pitched toward the toe section, substantially none of the walking stilt load is supported by the heel section.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other aspects and advantages will be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary walking stilt;

FIG. 2 shows the walking stilt of FIG. 1 pitched toward the toe section of the floor platform;

FIG. 3 shows the walking stilt of FIG. 1 pitched toward the heel section of the floor platform;

FIG. 4 shows an exemplary support bracket secured between the stilt supports;

FIG. 5 is a close-up view of the leg support bracket assembly; and

FIG. 6 shows an alternative design for the vertical support member.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows an exemplary stilt, generally designated by the numeral 10. The stilt 10 is similar in design to that described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,645,515, the contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference. The stilt 10 in a preferred construction is of an adjustable parallelogram type known in the art and sold under the trade name DURA-STILT. The stilt is comprised of a floor platform 12, a shoe platform 14, forward vertical support member 16 and rearward vertical support member 18. Forward vertical support member 16 is pivotally attached to floor platform 12 by a pin or bolt 20 fastened through bracket 22 and brushing 24. A similar arrangement of pin or bolt 26, bracket 28 and bushing 30 is provided to attach forward vertical support member 16 to shoe platform 14. Corresponding attachments are provided to attach rearward vertical support member 18 to floor platform 12 and shoe platform 14. Spring supports 32, 34 and 36 and centering rod 37 capture springs 38, 40, which provide spring biasing of the two vertical support members 16, 18. Hollow tubular leg support 42 having calf brace 44 is attached at its lower end 46 to rearward vertical support 18 by leg support bracket assembly 48 (described in more detail below). Leg support 42 is attached to shoe platform 14 by yoke 50. Calf strap 100 is attached to calf brace 44. Ankle strap 102 is attached to the rear of shoe platform 14. Toe strap 104 is attached at the front of shoe platform 14. The straps are attached by suitable fasteners such as rivets or nuts and bolts.

Vertical support members 16, 18 are each telescoping and have adjustment holes 57 which are engaged by wing nut bolts 59, thereby permitting the vertical support members 16, 18 to be vertically adjusted.

FIGS. 2 and 3 show a close-up view of the floor platform 12 according to the described embodiments The floor platform 12 is divided into a heel section 202 and a toe section 204. Each section 202, 204 of the floor platform 12 is separately and independently pivotable on respective supports 16, 18 via pin or bolt 20. With this construction, as shown in FIGS. 2, with the walking stilt pitched toward the toe section 204, the entire toe section 204 maintains ground contact. Similarly, with reference to FIG. 3, with the walking stilt pitched toward the heel section 202, the entire heel section 202 maintains ground contact. With the walking stilt pitched toward the toe section as shown in FIG. 2, substantially none of the walking stilt load is supported by the heel section 202, and vice versa. As noted above, by splitting the floor platform 12 into separate and independent heel and toe sections 202, 204, at least one pad maintains full contact with the ground at all times. Additionally, because the heel and toe sections 202, 204 rotate freely and independently, the construction provides a reflection of the ankle joint and toe joints providing a smooth rolling action while walking. This, coupled with the ability of the independent heel and toe sections 202, 204 to maintain full contact with the ground enables the wearer to better resist instability caused by momentum while walking. The heel and toe sections 202, 204 are preferably also provided with a pivot stop member such as an integrally molded lug or the like that serves to prevent the sections 202, 204 from over-rotating or flipping over during use.

It is preferable to form the heel and toe sections 202, 204 using a soft elastic material such as rubber, soft plastic, or the like. The softer material serves to provided a level of suspension while walking, thereby making the stilts more comfortable while walking. Alternatively or additionally, the heel and toe sections 202, 204 may be provided with suspension structure utilizing springs or the like to better absorb impact while walking.

With the floor platform 12 separated into two independently pivotable sections 202, 204, it is desirable to include a support bracket 206 secured between the supports 16, 18. The support bracket 206 is preferably placed above the floor platform 12 to prevent movement between (to, from, or side-to-side) the supports 16, 18. To accommodate such movement, the bracket 206 is preferably pivotally secured to the supports 16, 18. A simple construction of the bracket 206 is shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. It may be desirable, however, to more securely affix the support bracket 206 to the supports 16, 18, while maintaining the ability to accommodate relative movement between the supports 16, 18. FIG. 4 shows an exemplary support bracket design 206 that enables the support bracket 206 to be more securely affixed to the supports 16, 18, e.g., via rivets or the like. As shown in FIG. 4, a support bracket 206 includes first and second plate members 208 secured to respective ones of the supports 16, 18. A pivot member 210 is pivotally connected between the first and second plate members 208. In this manner, the bracket 206 can accommodate relative movement between the supports 16, 18 while being securely affixed to the supports 16, 18.

FIG. 5 is a close-up view of the leg support bracket assembly 48. The leg support bracket assembly 48 includes a leg support bracket 212 attached to one of the pair of supports 16, 18, and a bolt opening 214 extending through the leg support bracket 212. A fail safe member such as a bolt cooperable with an oversized opening 216 is cooperable with the leg support bracket 212 and the leg support 42 (FIG. 1) to secure the leg support upon failure of a bolt in the bolt opening 214. That is, the leg support bracket assembly 48 utilizes two bolts, including one extendible through the opening 214 in the leg support bracket and a second extendible through the oversized opening 216 in the leg support bracket 212. In use, the smaller hole 214 and bolt supports the leg support 42, and the oversized opening 216 and bolt only comes in contact with the leg support in the event that the first bolt fails.

An alternative embodiment is shown in FIG. 6 including a single support member 302 fixed to the shoe platform 14. By virtue of the independently pivotable heel and toe sections 202, 204, it is not necessary that the support member 302 (or support members 16, 18 for that mater) is pivotable relative to the shoe platform 14. The support member 302 in FIG. 6 includes a heel/toe bracket 304 at an end thereof that splits into two support arms on which the heel and toe sections 202, 204 are pivotally attached via pin or bolt 20.

With the walking stilt assembly according to the preferred embodiments, by splitting the floor platform into a heel section and a toe section, at least one pad maintains fill contact with the ground at all times. Moreover, the separate and independently pivotable heel and toe sections mimic ankle and toe joints of a human foot, thereby providing a smooth rolling action while walking. Although the invention has been described and illustrated with the heel and toe sections completely independent of each other, it is contemplated that some connecting structure may be provided between the heel and toe sections while still enabling the heel and toe sections to be separate and independently pivotable.

While the invention has been described in connection with what is presently considered to be the most practical and preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that the invention is not to be limited to the disclosed embodiments, but on the contrary, is intended to cover various modifications and equivalent arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.