Title:
TOTAL BRAIN BALANCE TRAINING EQUIPMENT
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Vestibular-proprioceptive system training devices and methods of using the same. The vestibular-proprioceptive training device comprises a balance board having an upper surface and an under surface, the upper surface comprising at least one pad, the under surface comprising at least one support pivot located to provide a balance equilibrium position, the at least one pad comprising a volume and formed from a pliant yet substantially fully resilient material. The training devices simultaneously activate the vestibular and proprioceptive system of an individual balancing upon the at least one pad.



Inventors:
Terpstra, Brian T. (Cincinnati, OH, US)
Kemme, Timothy J. (Lawrenceburg, IN, US)
Application Number:
14/303813
Publication Date:
12/18/2014
Filing Date:
06/13/2014
Assignee:
TERPSTRA BRIAN T.
KEMME TIMOTHY J.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B26/00
View Patent Images:
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20020094912Magnetic exercise tubeJuly, 2002Tong
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20060040805Aerobic exercise vestFebruary, 2006Wilkinson
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Primary Examiner:
ANDERSON, MEGAN M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DINSMORE & SHOHL LLP (255EAST FIFTH STREET SUITE 1900, CINCINNATI, OH, 45202, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A vestibular-proprioceptive system training device, the device comprising: a balance board having an upper surface and an under surface, the upper surface comprising at least one pad, the under surface comprising at least one support pivot located to provide a balance equilibrium position, the at least one pad comprising a volume and formed from a pliant yet substantially fully resilient material.

2. The vestibular-proprioceptive system training device of claim 1, wherein the at least one support pivot provides for uniform tilting movement of the upper surface about an equilibrium position in a 360 degree range of motion.

3. The vestibular-proprioceptive system training device of claim 2, wherein the at least one support pivot is substantially spherical.

4. The vestibular-proprioceptive system training device of claim 1, wherein the at least one support pivot provides for uniform tilting movement of the upper surface about an equilibrium position in a 180 degree range of motion.

5. The vestibular-proprioceptive system training device of claim 4, wherein the at least one support pivot is substantially cylindrical.

6. The vestibular-proprioceptive system training device of claim 1, wherein the at least one pad comprises a dome.

7. The vestibular-proprioceptive system training device of claim 6, wherein the arch of the dome ranges from substantially hemispherical to substantially planar.

8. The vestibular-proprioceptive system training device of claim 1, wherein the at least one pad is filled with air, saline, water, silicone gel, or closed cell foam.

9. The vestibular-proprioceptive system of device 1, wherein the under surface further comprises a rigid platform secured to the at least one support pivot.

10. The vestibular-proprioceptive system training device 1, further comprising a support tray, said support tray securely receiving the at least one pad.

11. A vestibular-proprioceptive training system for use with balance boards comprising at least one attachable pad, said at least one pad comprising a volume and formed from a pliant yet substantially fully resilient material.

12. The vestibular-proprioceptive system training of claim 11, further comprising a support tray, said support tray securely receiving the at least one pad.

13. The vestibular-proprioceptive training system of claim 11, wherein the at least one attachable pad comprises a dome.

14. The vestibular-proprioceptive training system of claim 12, wherein the arch of the dome ranges from substantially hemispherical to substantially planar.

15. The vestibular-proprioceptive system training system of claim 11, wherein the at least one attachable pad is filled with air, saline, water, silicone gel, or closed cell foam.

16. The vestibular-proprioceptive system training system of claim 11, wherein the at least one attachable pad is removably secured to the balance board.

17. A method for simultaneous activation of the vestibular and proprioceptive system of an individual comprising: providing a vestibular-proprioceptive system training device, the device comprising a balance board having an upper surface and an under surface, the upper surface comprising at least one pad, the under surface comprising at least one support pivot located to provide a balance equilibrium position, the at least one pad comprising a volume and formed from a pliant yet substantially fully resilient material; and instructing the individual to balance upon vestibular-proprioceptive system training device.

18. The method of claim 17, further comprising a support tray, said support tray securely receiving the upper surface.

19. A method of treating a patient with a disorder that affects the vestibular or proprioceptive systems comprising: providing a vestibular-proprioceptive system training device, the device comprising a balance board having an upper surface and an under surface, the upper surface comprising at least one pad, the under surface comprising at least one support pivot located to provide a balance equilibrium position, the at least one pad comprising a volume and formed from a pliant yet substantially fully resilient material; and instructing the patient to balance upon vestibular-proprioceptive system training device.

20. The method of treating a patient with a disorder that affects the vestibular or proprioceptive systems of claim 19, wherein the disorder is selected from the group consisting of Huntington's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, cerebella ataxia, stroke, or Alzheimer's Disease.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims benefit to U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/834634, filed Jun. 13, 2013, which is incorporated by reference in its entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

This invention relates to vestibular-proprioceptive system training devices and methods of using the same for total brain balance training.

BACKGROUND

Balance control is a complex relationship between the central nervous system (CNS), peripheral nervous system (PNS) and the skeletal muscle system. Among the most important contributions of the CNS to balance control is cortical (higher learning centers) integration of input from the proprioceptive system and the vestibular system to interpret spatial orientation, including body position, movement, and acceleration. The proprioceptive system is activated by proprioceptors in skeletal striated muscles and in joints located throughout the body, while the vestibular system is activated through acceleration to an individual's inner ear.

Traditional balance equipment is designed to challenge either the proprioceptive system or the vestibular system. Proprioceptive training equipment is typically composed of a solid surface placed upon a base designed to cause the surface to tilt and/or rock to varying degrees. The magnitude of the challenge to the proprioceptive system is linearly related to the degree of movement. Common examples of proprioceptive training equipment used to retrain or increase proprioception abilities include wobble boards, rocker boards, and soft boards, all of which are commonly known in the art. Wobble and rocker balance boards typically comprise a non-flexing top board, typically made of plywood, supported on a rocker base that provides a certain degree of tilt. When the range of motion over which this tilt is exhibited is 180 degrees, then the board is referred to as a rocker board. If the range of motion over which this tilt is exhibited is 360 degrees, then the board is referred to as a wobble board. Due to the greater range of tilt, wobble boards offer a greater challenge to the patient's proprioceptive system. A soft board typically consists of a hard non-flexing top board, usually made of hard foam, supported on a soft foam rocker base. However, current proprioceptive training equipment does not provide the necessary acceleration to a person's head to simultaneously activate the vestibular system.

Vestibular training equipment is typically pliable foam or air filled cushions that are designed to separate the source of proprioceptive input, the feet, from solid ground. Additionally, this type of equipment provides very little movement, further limiting the input from the proprioceptive system. A common example of a vestibular training device is a balance pad, which is commonly known in the art. However, current vestibular training equipment activates the vestibular system in a way that does not emulate how the system is normally activated in everyday life. The vestibular system is activated through acceleration to an individual's inner ear. As such, the body must accelerate prior to activation of the vestibular system. In reality, the proprioceptive system is typically activated prior to reaching the necessary acceleration in the inner ear for activation of the vestibular system. For example, in order to reach the necessary acceleration to activate the vestibular system, the knee and ankle joints have usually undergone repeated and rapid movement, thus already activating the proprioceptive sensors in the joints and muscles. Thus, with the exception of collisions in which one party is stationary or any sport that involves coasting or gliding (such as snow sports, figure skating, or cycling), vestibular training done without conjunctive high level proprioceptive training does not comport with the reality of how these two systems are normally activated in sports or everyday life.

As such, there is a need for a training device that combines the principles of a high degree of movement and employing a pliable yet substantially fully resilient surface to challenge all CNS systems involved in balance control. A training device that concurrently challenges both the proprioceptive and vestibular systems of the CNS during balance training would represent a new and long needed tool that can improve balance training for all individuals, including athletes and individuals with balance impairments resulting from disease, injury, or physiological aging.

SUMMARY

Accordingly, a training device that simultaneously activates the vestibular and proprioceptive systems, and methods of using the same, is provided. Additionally, some embodiments of the training device that simultaneously activate the vestibular and proprioceptive systems are designed for add on use to balance boards, including but not limited to wobble boards, rocker boards, soft boards, and rolling balance boards.

One embodiment of the presently disclosed subject matter is directed to a vestibular-proprioceptive system training device. The vestibular-proprioceptive training device comprises a balance board having an upper surface and an under surface, the upper surface comprising at least one pad, the under surface comprising at least one support pivot located to provide a balance equilibrium position, the at least one pad comprising a volume and formed from a pliant yet substantially fully resilient material.

Another embodiment is directed to a vestibular-proprioceptive training system for use with balance boards comprising at least one attachable pad, said at least one pad comprising a volume and formed from a pliant yet substantially fully resilient material.

An additional embodiment is directed to a method for simultaneous activation of the vestibular and proprioceptive systems of an individual. The method comprises providing a vestibular-proprioceptive system training device, the device comprising a balance board having an upper surface and an under surface, the upper surface comprising at least one pad, the under surface comprising at least one support pivot located to provide a balance equilibrium position, the at least one pad comprising a volume and formed from a pliant yet substantially fully resilient material; and instructing the individual to balance upon vestibular-proprioceptive system training device.

A further embodiment is directed to a method of treating a patient with a disorder that affects the vestibular and/or proprioceptive systems of the CNS. The method comprises providing a vestibular-proprioceptive system training device, the device comprising a balance board having an upper surface and an under surface, the upper surface comprising at least one pad, the under surface comprising at least one support pivot located to provide a balance equilibrium position, the at least one pad comprising a volume and formed from a pliant yet substantially fully resilient material; and instructing the patient to balance upon vestibular-proprioceptive system training device.

These and additional aspects and features of the instant invention will be clarified by reference to the figures and detailed description set forth herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a particular embodiment of the vestibular-proprioceptive system training device.

FIG. 2 shows a perspective view of a particular embodiment of the vestibular-proprioceptive training system for use with balance boards.

FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of another particular embodiment of the vestibular-proprioceptive training system for use with balance boards.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Particular details of various embodiments of the invention are set forth to illustrate certain aspects and not to limit the scope of the invention. It will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art that modifications and variations are possible without departing from the scope of the embodiments defined in the appended claims. More specifically, although some aspects of embodiments of the present invention may be identified herein as preferred or particularly advantageous, it is contemplated that the embodiments of the present invention are not necessarily limited to these preferred aspects.

Unless defined otherwise, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which the presently-disclosed subject matter belongs.

With reference to FIG. 1, in some embodiments of the presently-disclosed subject matter, a vestibular-proprioceptive system training device 2 is disclosed. In some embodiments, the vestibular-proprioceptive system training device 2 comprises a balance board 3 having an upper surface 4 and under surface 6. In some embodiments, the upper surface 4 comprises at least one pad 8. The at least one pad 8 comprises a volume and is formed from a pliant yet substantially fully resilient material. The pliant yet substantially fully resilient pad 8 functions to activate the vestibular system of an individual balancing on the vestibular-proprioceptive system training device 2 by separating the source of proprioceptive input of an individual, the feet, from solid ground or any solid surface. Non-limiting examples of pliant yet substantially fully resilient material used to form the at least one pad 8 of the instant invention may include silicone, rubber, various plastics, polyurethane, vinyl polymers, or some other pliant yet substantially fully resilient material. Additional non-limiting examples include air, saline, water, closed cell foam, or gel filled cushions with an outer surface made of silicone, rubber, various plastics, polyurethane, or vinyl polymers that function as a pliant yet substantially fully resilient material to separate the source of proprioceptive input of an individual, the feet, from solid ground or any solid surface.

In certain embodiments, the at least one pad 8 comprises a dome. In more particular embodiments, the arch of the dome ranges from substantially hemispherical to substantially planar. It should be understood that, in alternative embodiments, that the pad 8 may have different configurations and/or geometries, as long as the at least one pad 8 functions to separate the source of proprioceptive input of an individual balancing upon the pad 8, the feet, from solid ground or any solid surface. One non-limiting example is that the at least one pad 8 could comprise two pads, one for each foot of the individual balancing on the vestibular-proprioceptive system training device 2. A further non-limiting example includes that the at least one pad 8 could be designed from a pliant yet substantially fully resilient material shaped with two recesses in the dome of the pad for the placement of an individual's two feet. Such a design and related designs would assist certain individuals and patients with more serious balance impairments to better balance on the vestibular-proprioceptive system training device 2. Additionally, the vestibular-proprioceptive system training device 2 could include other additional support means designed to assist individuals and patients with balance impairments to better balance on the vestibular-proprioceptive system training device 2. A non-limiting example of such additional support means could include feet straps.

In some embodiments of the vestibular-proprioceptive system training device 2, the under surface 6 of the balance board 3 comprises at least one support pivot 10 located to provide a balance equilibrium position. In certain embodiments, the at least one support pivot 10 provides for uniform tilting movement of the upper surface 6 about an equilibrium position in a 360 degree range of motion. In more particular embodiments, the at least one support pivot 10 that provides for uniform tilting movement of the upper surface 6 about an equilibrium position in a 360 degree range of motion is substantially spherical. However, one of skill in the art will recognize that other designs of the least one support pivot 10 that result in the uniform tilting movement of the upper surface 6 about an equilibrium position in a 360 degree range of motion can be employed within the scope of the current invention.

In other embodiments, the at least one support pivot 10 provides for uniform tilting movement of the upper surface 6 about an equilibrium position in a 180 degree range of motion. In more particular embodiments, the at least one support pivot 10 that provides for uniform tilting movement of the upper surface 6 about an equilibrium position in a 180 degree range of motion is substantially cylindrical. However, one of skill in the art will recognize that other designs of the least one support pivot 10 that result in the uniform tilting movement of the upper surface 6 about an equilibrium position in a 180 degree range of motion can be employed within the scope of the current invention. A non-limiting example would include two substantially spherical pivot points located on either end of the under surface 8 of the balance board 3, with each pivot point separated from the other.

As will be understood by one of skill in the art, the hip, knee, and ankle joints of an individual attempting to balance on the tilting upper surface 6 of vestibular-proprioceptive training device undergo repeated and rapid movement in order for the individual to maintain their balance. As such, the vestibular-proprioceptive training device 2 activates the proprioceptive sensors in the joints of an individual balancing upon the upper surface 6 of the balance board 3. Thus, the combination of the pliant yet substantially fully resilient pad 8 of the upper surface 6 and tilting movement about an equilibrium position of the upper surface 6 results in the concurrent activation of both the proprioceptive and vestibular systems of the CNS during balance training upon the vestibular-proprioceptive training device 2.

In some embodiments, the under surface 8 further comprises a rigid platform 12 secured to the at least one support pivot 10. It should be understood that, in alternative embodiments, the rigid platform may have different configurations and/or geometries. Non-limiting examples of material used to form the rigid platform 12 of the instant invention may include wood, nylon, various plastics, graphite, aluminum, and other metals. It should be understood that the rigid platform 12 can be secured to the at least one support pivot 10 by various fastening means, including but not limited to threaded attachments, glue, nails, brackets, or rested on T-support brackets. It should be understood that the rigid platform 12 can be integral with at least one support pivot 10 or can be secured to the at least one support pivot 10 by various fastening means, including but not limited to threaded attachments, glue, nails, brackets, or rested on T-support brackets. Importantly, the rigid platform 12 does not interfere with the function of the pliant yet substantially fully resilient pad 8 of the upper surface 6 to separate the source of proprioceptive input of an individual, the feet, from solid ground or any solid surface. Thus, the rigid platform 12 does not reduce the activation of the vestibular system of an individual balancing upon the vestibular-proprioceptive training device 2.

In some embodiments, the vestibular-proprioceptive training system device 2 further comprises a support tray 14 for securely receiving the at least one pad 8. It should be understood that, in alternative embodiments, the support tray 14 may have different configurations and/or geometries that can securely receive the at least one pad 8. For example, the support tray 14 may have raised peripheral edges that hold and support the at least one pad 8 in a stationary position on the support tray 14. Additionally, in certain embodiments an adhesive or textured grit can be applied to the upper surface of the support tray 14 to further assist in holding the at least one pad 8 in a stationary position on the support tray 14.

Non-limiting examples of material used to form the support tray 14 of the instant invention may include wood, nylon, various plastics, graphite, aluminum, and other metals. It should be understood that the support tray 14 can be secured to the at least one support pivot 10 by various fastening means, including but not limited to threaded attachments, glue, nails, brackets, or rested on T-support brackets. It should be understood that in certain embodiments the support tray 14 can be secured to the rigid platform 12 by various fastening means, including but not limited to threaded attachments, glue, nails, brackets, or rested on T-support brackets. Importantly, the support tray 14 does not interfere with the function of the pliant yet substantially fully resilient pad 8 of the upper surface 6 to separate the source of proprioceptive input of an individual, the feet, from solid ground. Thus, the support tray 14 does not reduce the activation of the vestibular system of an individual balancing upon the vestibular-proprioceptive training device 2.

With reference to FIGS. 2 and 3, in other embodiments of the presently-disclosed subject matter, a vestibular-proprioceptive training system 16 for use with balance boards 18 is provided. In some embodiments, the vestibular-proprioceptive training system 16 comprises at least one pad 20 that is attachable to a balance board. Balance boards include wobble boards, rocker boards, soft boards, and rolling boards, all of which are known in the art. It should be understood that the at least one attachable pad 20 can be secured to the balance board 18 by various fastening means, including but not limited to threaded attachments, glue, nails, brackets, or rested on T-support brackets.

The at least one attachable pad 20 comprises a volume and is formed from a pliant yet substantially fully resilient material. The pliant yet substantially fully resilient attachable pad 20 functions to activate the vestibular system of an individual balancing on the vestibular-proprioceptive training system 16 by separating the source of proprioceptive input of an individual, the feet, from solid ground or any solid surface. Non-limiting examples of pliant yet substantially fully resilient material used to form the at least one attachable pad 20 of the instant invention may include silicone, rubber, various plastics, polyurethane, vinyl polymers, or some other pliant yet substantially fully resilient material. Additional non-limiting examples include air, saline, water, closed cell foam or gel filled cushions with an outer surface made of silicone, rubber, various plastics, polyurethane, or vinyl polymers that function as a pliant yet substantially fully resilient material to separate the source of proprioceptive input of an individual, the feet, from solid ground or any solid surface.

In certain embodiments, the at least one attachable pad 20 comprises a dome. In more particular embodiments, the arch of the dome ranges from substantially hemispherical to substantially planar. It should be understood that, in alternative embodiments, the at least one attachable pad 20 may have different configurations and/or geometries, as long as the at least one attachable pad 20 functions to separate the source of proprioceptive input of an individual balancing upon the pad 20, the feet, from solid ground or any solid surface. One non-limiting example is that the at least one attachable pad 20 could be designed to match the shape of the balance board 18 to which it is attached. Another non-limiting example is that the at least one attachable pad 20 could comprise two pads, one for each foot of the individual balancing on the vestibular-proprioceptive training system 16. A further non-limiting example is that at least one attachable pad 20 could be designed from a pliant yet substantially fully resilient material shaped with two recesses in the dome of the pad for the placement of an individual's two feet. Such a design and related design would assist certain individuals and patients with more serious balance impairments to better balance on the vestibular-proprioceptive training system 16. Additionally, the vestibular-proprioceptive training system 16 could include other additional support means designed to assist individuals and patients with balance impairments to better balance on the vestibular-proprioceptive training system 16. A non-limiting example of such additional support means could include feet straps.

In some embodiments at least one attachable pad 20 is removably secured to the balance board 18. It should be understood that the at least one attachable pad 20 can be removably secured to the balance board 18 by various fastening means, including but not limited to threaded attachments, glue, nails, brackets, or rested on T-support brackets.

In some embodiments, the vestibular-proprioceptive training system 16 further comprises a support tray 22 for securely receiving the at least one attachable pad 20. It should be understood that, in alternative embodiments, that the support tray 22 may have different configurations and/or geometries that can securely receive the at least one attachable pad 20. For example, the support tray 22 may have raised peripheral edges that hold support the at least one attachable pad 20 in place. Additionally, in certain embodiments an adhesive or textured grit can be applied to the upper surface of the support tray 22 to further assist in holding the at least one attachable pad 20 in a stationary position on the support tray 22.

Non-limiting examples of material used to form the support tray 22 of the instant invention may include wood, nylon, various plastics, graphite, aluminum, and other metals. It should be understood that the support tray 22 can be secured to the at least one support pivot 10 by various fastening means, including but not limited to threaded attachments, glue, nails, brackets, or rested on T-support brackets. It should be understood that in certain embodiments the support tray 22 can be secured to the balance board 18 by various fastening means, including but not limited to threaded attachments, glue, nails, brackets, or rested on T-support brackets. Importantly, the support tray 22 does not interfere with the function of the pliant yet substantially fully resilient at least one attachable pad 20 to separate the source of proprioceptive input of an individual, the feet, from solid ground or any solid surface. Thus, the support tray 22 does not reduce the activation of the vestibular system of an individual balancing upon the vestibular-proprioceptive training system 16.

In other embodiments of the presently-disclosed subject matter, a method for simultaneous activation of the vestibular and proprioceptive system of an individual is provided. In some embodiments the method comprises providing a vestibular-proprioceptive system training device. The vestibular-proprioceptive system training device can include the various embodiments of the vestibular-proprioceptive training system device 2 as described above. Additionally, the vestibular-proprioceptive system training device can include the various embodiments of the vestibular-proprioceptive training system 16 as described above. In some embodiments, the method for simultaneous activation of the vestibular and proprioceptive system of an individual further comprises instructing the individual to balance upon vestibular-proprioceptive system training device. In certain embodiments, individuals include athletes and individuals with balance impairments resulting from disease, injury, or physiological aging.

In other embodiments of the presently-disclosed subject matter, a method for treating a patient with a disorder that affects the proprioceptive or vestibular systems is provided. In some embodiments the method comprises providing a vestibular-proprioceptive system training device. The vestibular-proprioceptive system training device can include the various embodiments of the vestibular-proprioceptive training system device 2 as described above. Additionally, the vestibular-proprioceptive system training device can include the various embodiments of the vestibular-proprioceptive training system 16 as described above. In some embodiments, the method for treating a patient with a disorder that affects the proprioceptive or vestibular systems further comprises instructing the patient to balance upon vestibular-proprioceptive system training device. In certain specific embodiments, the disorder is selected from the group consisting of Huntington's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, cerebella ataxia, stroke, and Alzheimer's Disease.

EXAMPLES

Observational experimental data demonstrates a large effect on functional balance of individuals using the vestibular-proprioceptive training system device 2 and the vestibular-proprioceptive training system 16 as compared to other balance training systems that only target the vestibular system or proprioceptive system. As measured by the balance subset by the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale, patients have experienced greater improvements following the implementation of the disclosed vestibular-proprioceptive training system device 2 and the vestibular-proprioceptive training system 16 in their therapeutic and training regimens, relative to prior use of devices that only target the vestibular system or proprioceptive system. Additionally, the incident of falls during daily activity has also decreased.

It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modification and variations can be made to the embodiments described herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the claimed subject matter. Thus it is intended that the specification cover the modifications and variations of the various embodiments described herein provided such modifications and variations come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.