United States Patent 3834377

This invention relates to an orthopedic device adapted for application to the shoe of a patient having partial paralysis or other infirmities which may induce weak or rolling ankles or a tendency for foot drop and which will provide ankle and foot support, said device being easily attached and removed by the patient with one usable hand or by another party.

Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
36/7.5, 36/89, 36/110, 128/DIG.15
International Classes:
A43B3/16; A43B7/14; A61F5/14; (IPC1-7): A61F3/00
Field of Search:
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US Patent References:
3407811Ankle support1968-10-29Stubbs
3073305Ankle brace1963-01-15Biggs, Jr. et al.
1350944Orthopedic device1920-08-24Severy

Foreign References:
Primary Examiner:
Gaudet, Richard A.
Assistant Examiner:
Yasko J.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Wolk, Louis I.
I claim

1. An orthopedic device for alleviation of foot problems, which comprises a flat base member, conforming generally in shape to the sole of a shoe and having a toe engaging member and a heel engaging member position thereon, a shoe positioned upon said platform and engaged by said heel and toe members, a rigid upwardly extending member affixed to said base member at the side thereof intermediate to the heel and toe engaging members positioned to be in alignment and supporting engagement with the ankle of a foot within said shoe, and means affixed to the heel of the shoe adapted to engage attaching means on said heel engaging member for detachable engagement therewith.

2. An orthopedic device according to claim 1, wherein the attaching means affixed to the heel of the shoe is one component of a fabric hook and loop fastening member and the attaching means affixed to the heel engaging member is the other component of said fastening member positioned interiorly thereof opposite the component of the shoe.

3. An orthopedic device according to claim 2, wherein the heel engaging member is flexible and movable away from the heel of the shoe whereby it is readily detached therefrom.

4. An orthopedic device according to claim 2, wherein the affixing means is attached to the heel of the shoe at a plurality of spaced areas thereon.

5. An orthopedic device according to claim 1, wherein a pair of rigid ankle supporting members is provided, each positioned at opposite sides in order to support both sides of the ankle.

6. An orthopedic device according to claim 5, wherein the rigid ankle supporting members extend upward substantially above the normal position of the ankle, and a strap member is detachably positioned around the upper portion of said rigid members and adapted to extend around the front of the foot above the ankle, said strap member engaging an extension of said heel supporting member thereby providing support for said foot above the ankle.

7. An orthopedic device according to claim 6, wherein the shoe comprises one component of a hook and loop fabric fastening device affixed to each side of its heel area, said heel engaging member comprising the other component of said hook and loop fastening device affixed interiorly thereof opposite said heel areas of said shoe, and said rigid members having affixed to the upper portions thereof similar hook and loop fastening elements, said strap member having corresponding hook and loop elements affixed thereto for attachment to said upper portion of said rigid members.

8. An orthopedic device according to claim 7, wherein said upwardly extending rigid members are provided with flexible extensions, having a fastening component of the hook and loop type thereon, said flat members adapted to be positioned over said straps when it is in positioned around the foot and engaging corresponding hook and loop components on said rigid members below said strap to form detachable loops holding said strap in position and wherein said heel extension comprises a loop through which said strap passes.

9. An orthopedic device according to claim 1, wherein the rigid member is laterally adjustable.

10. An orthopedic device according to claim 5, wherein the upwardly extending rigid members are laterally adjustable with respect to each other.


Patients suffering various degrees of paralysis in their lower limbs exhibit various foot troubles such as ankle weakness, drop foot, fallen arches and the like which result in inward or outward rolling of the foot or inability to raise the foot to horizontal level when walking. Various means have been provided in the past for correcting this problem generally involving the incorporation of a rigid supporting member within a shoe or similar device into which the foot of the patient is placed and which incorporates a rigid member positioned to support the ankle, or a lifting means designed to exert pull on the front of the foot to keep it in elevated position when walking. Such devices are shown in U.S. Pat. Nos. 1,350,944, 3,308,829, 3,527,209 and the like. Such devices have certain disadvantages in addition to the expense of designing special shoes for the purpose, such disadvantages being discomfort during use, difficulty in putting on and off by a partially paralyzed person, excessive weight and similar factors.


It is the purpose of the present invention to provide a platform into which can be positioned an ordinary shoe worn by a patient, which is relatively light, flexible and can easily be put on and removed with one hand by a patient or by anyone else. This platform incorporates rigid ankle supports to prevent rolling either inward or outward or both and can at the same time prevent foot drop by restricting downward movement of the foot or by providing an upward pull on the front portion of the foot. Easy positioning and removal is provided by means of flexible heel supports and cooperating fasteners such as the hook and loop fabric type positioned both on the inner portion of the heel support and the shoe. Adjustable bracing means are provided so that the support may be used with various sized shoes.


FIG. 1 is a view in perspective showing the form of the invention illustrated in FIG. 2 prior to positioning of a shoe worn by a patient.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of one form of my invention with a shoe positioned therein, as it would be in use.

FIG. 3 is a view partially in cross section taken along lines 3--3 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view taken along lines 4--4 of FIG. 3, illustrating the structure of the ankle supporting member.

FIG. 5 is a view in perspective of another form of the invention with a shoe in position as it would be in use.

FIG. 6 is a view in perspective of the form of invention shown in FIG. 5 before positioning the shoe.

FIG. 7 is a view in perspective of a further form of the invention prior to positioning and supporting of a shoe therein.

FIG. 8 is a view in perspective showing the device of FIG. 7 with the shoe positioned therein.

Referring now to the drawings, as shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 a platform 10 shaped generally to conform to the sole of a foot is formed of heavy leather, sheet plastic or similar sheet material, preferably flexible but with sufficient rigidity to be shape retaining and self supporting. A toe enclosing member 11 is attached to the front edge of 10 and so shaped and dimensioned as to enclose the toe of a shoe to be positioned on the platform. A vertical ankle supporting member 12 is attached to the platform by means of plate 13 affixed by rivets or bolts as shown. Members 12 and 13 may be formed of a single piece of metal or rigid plastic and formed at right angles to provide the base portion 13 and vertical member 12. Base member 13 may be laterally adjustable by using bolts to fasten it to the platform through slots to permit a certain degree of adjustment to permit close engagement of 12 with the ankle of a user.

As shown in FIG. 4, member 12 may be padded by applying a cushioning layer 15 of sponge rubber or plastic, or other padding material covered with a layer of flexible vinyl plastic or cloth 16.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, heel supporting member 14 formed of flexible and resilient sheet material such as leather, plastic or cloth is attached to the rear portion of the platform and shaped to engage the heel portion of a shoe. Interiorly of member 14 is mounted one component of a two part hook and loop fabric fastening unit known as "Velcro" and on the shoe which is positioned on the platform a corresponding layer of the other component of this fastening means is provided. This is illustrated on the folded over portion 14a of FIG. 2 which shows the "Velcro" areas 17 on 14 and 17a on the heel area of the shoe 18, a similar area is provided on the opposite interior portion of 14 and the opposite heel portion of the shoe. By this means one using the platform need only fold back heel portion 14, insert the foot with shoe on the platform with the toe of the shoe inserted into toe member 11 and then press heel member 14 with its fastening members against corresponding areas on the heel of the shoe. This can be easily done with one hand. Member 19 is provided to facilitate pulling the platform in position or for detaching member 14 before removing the shoe.

"Velcro" is the registered trademark of the Velcro corporation, T.M. 661700, for goods described as "A synthetic material sold in ribbon, sheet or piece goods form, said material having complemental parts which adhere to each other when pressed together and adapted for use as a closure fastener or button for closing garments, curtains or the like." It is formed of Nylon or other plastic elements in the shape of hooks on one component and loops on the other as shown in U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,717,437, 3,147,528, and others. The segments of this material may be attached by sewing or adhesives. The degree of attachment will depend on the area of "Velcro" provided. In general a contact area of one or two square inches is adequate. Other types of fasteners may also be used such as snap fasteners, clips, or the like.

A modified form of the invention is shown in FIGS. 5 and 6 in which a U shaped ankle supporting member is provided to support both sides of the ankle. Platform 20 is provided with toe member 21, ankle supports 22 and 23 mounted integrally or slidably with base 24 by means of bolts or rivets, and heel portion 25 which is flexible as described above in connection with FIGS. 1 and 2. Interiorly of the heel portion areas of "Velcro" or like fastening material are provided to engage corresponding fastening areas on the shoe, as shown at 26 and 27. If desired, the platform member 10 may be preformed with a slight upward curvature at the toe to ensure engagement with the ground while walking to counteract any tendency for foot drop.

A further modification of the invention is shown in FIGS. 7 and 8 in which elongated ankle supports are provided to extend beyond the ankle in a manner to provide support above the ankle. A disassembled view is shown in FIG. 7 with platform 30 having toe engaging portion 31 and flexible heel portion 32 attached thereto. A rigid U-shaped ankle supporting member 33 is affixed to the platform at the area corresponding to the arch of the foot with its vertical arms 34 and 35 extending upwardly at right angles to the base 36 and being long enough to extend above the ankles of a wearer as shown in FIG. 8. These arms are covered with leather or other suitable padding material. The shoe 37 worn by the patient is provided with "Velcro" or the like fastening areas 38, 38a, 39, and 39a positioned adapted to engage corresponding areas on the heel and ankle support means respectively as shown at 40 and 40a, and 41 and 41a. In order to give additional support for the elongated ankle braces, fastening means to be applied above the ankles is provided. This is in the form of a strap member 42 provided with a pair of side loops 43 and 44, and having "Velcro" fastening members 45, 45a attached at the ends thereof, one component at the inside surface and the other at the outside surface. Heel member 32 is provided with a loop member 46 and ankle brace members are provided with "Velcro" fastening areas 47 and 47a at the outside surface thereof above the ankle area, as shown. Members 34 and 35 are provided with flaps 48 and 49 on the outer surface of which near the end, are provided "Velcro" areas 50 and 50a complementary to areas 47 and 47a, respectively.

When the patient wearing the shoe wishes to attach the platform device he inserts the toe of the shoe into member 31, affixes heel member 32, attaching areas 40 and 40a to areas 38 and 38a and areas 41 and 41a to areas 39 and 39a. Strap member 42 is then positioned through loop 46 and around the ankle and ankle supports 34 and 35 passing through loops 43 and 44. Flaps 48 and 49 with the "Velcro" areas 50 and 50a engaging complimentary areas 47 and 47a are then positioned over loops 43 and 44. The ends of the strap are then firmly fastened at the front of the ankle by engaging "Velcro" areas 45 and 45a.

The finally assembled unit is shown in FIG. 8. On disassembly, the shoe is easily removed by detaching the ends of the straps and flaps 48 and 49. Heel member 32 is then pulled from the shoe and the user can easily remove the shoe while on his foot from the device.

The sole portion of the device may be so shaped that it will accomodate either the left or the right shoe in order to provide interchangeability.

As the foregoing description shows, a patient with foot problems of the type described can easily utilize this device while wearing any normal type of shoe, provided the fastening means referred to has been applied to the shoe. The type of detachable fasteners referred to permit easy attachment and detachment by the user merely by exerting a pull on the heel member and on the strap members referred to. In use the device may be worn while walking or resting with the desired ankle and foot support provided by the rigid members and by the semi-rigid nature of the sole portion in cooperation with the normal rigidity of the shoe.