Title:
Shoe donning device - shoe chute
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The “Shoe donning device—shoe chute” is comprised of a semi-rigid material which fits over the back of the shoe and forms an internal “chute” which guides the foot into the shoe. The device is placed into the shoe, and then is lowered or dropped to the floor. This device allows users to easily don their shoes without the need to handle the device during placement of the foot into the shoe, bend forward to don their shoes, use excessive twisting when inserting the foot into the shoe, and the shoe may be entered over the rear of the shoe. Preferably this device has a tether attachment and or finger hold(s) to accommodate a users needs when removing the device from the shoe. The device is portable and easily used by individuals who may be experiencing physical, cognitive or proprioceptive challenges while attempting to don their shoes.



Inventors:
Runge, Kathy L. (Morro Bay, CA, US)
Application Number:
09/909296
Publication Date:
01/24/2002
Filing Date:
07/18/2001
Assignee:
RUNGE KATHY L.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A43B11/02; A47G25/82; (IPC1-7): A47G25/82
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MOHANTY, BIBHU R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KATHY L. RUNGE (MORRO BAY, CA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A device for insertion of a foot into a shoe allowing for ease of donning by users, which comprises: a body formed or molded into a generally double U-shaped device which is slipped into a secure position over and around the rear portion of a shoe; the body having an inside portion that is formed to extend inside of the shoe and that is angled slightly toward the front of the shoe when inserted in a shoe; the body having a top portion that is formed to rest proximate to the top rear portion of the upper of a shoe, thereby reinforcing the back of the shoe when placing a foot into a shoe; the body flexing slightly outward when pressure from the foot is placed on the top portion during the insertion of a foot into the shoe, thereby widening the entrance of the shoe for the foot; and the body having an outside portion that is formed to be substantially parallel to the rear portion and part of the sides of the shoe upper and extends downward toward the sole of the shoe when inserted in a shoe.

2. A device as in claim 1, wherein the outside portion of the body is formed with a finger hold that extends rearward to assist in the removal of the device from the shoe after it is donned.

3. A device as in claim 1, further comprising a tether attached to the body such that a user may remove the device from a donned shoe without reaching down to the shoe.

4. A device as in claim 1, further comprising a body extended attached to the inside portion of the body such that the inside portion and the body extended combined will reach to a location proximate the insole of a shoe with a high upper.

5. A device as in claim 1, where the body is formed of a thin material selected from the group consisting of plastic, metal, leather, animal skins, paper and cloth.

6. A device as in claim 3, wherein the tether is formed from a material selected from the group consisting of string, cord, rope, woven materials, webbing, plastic and metal.

7. A device as in claim 4, wherein the body and the body extender are both formed of a thin material selected from the group consisting of plastic, metal, leather, animal skins, paper and cloth.

8. A device for insertion of a foot into a shoe allowing for ease of donning by users, which comprises: a body formed or molded into a generally double U-shaped device which is slipped into a secure position over and around the rear portion of a shoe, the body having a inside portion that is formed to extend inside of the shoe and that is angled slightly toward the front of the shoe when inserted in a shoe; the body having a top portion that is formed to rest proximate to the top rear portion of the upper of a shoe, thereby reinforcing the back of the shoe placing a foot into a shoe; the body flexing slightly outward when pressure from a foot is placed on the top portion during the insertion of a foot into the shoe, thereby widening the entrance of the shoe for the foot; the body having an outside portion that is formed to be substantially parallel to the rear portion and part of the sides of the shoe upper and extends downward toward the sole of the shoe when inserted in a shoe; and a tether attached to the body such that a user may remove the device from a donned shoe without reaching down to the shoe.

9. A device for insertion of a foot into a shoe allowing for ease of donning by users, which comprises: a body formed or molded into a generally double U-shaped device which is slipped into a secure position over and around the rear portion of a shoe, the body having a inside portion that is formed to extend inside of the shoe and that is angled slightly toward the front of the shoe when inserted in a shoe; the body having a top portion that is formed to rest proximate to the top rear portion of the upper of a shoe, thereby reinforcing the back of the shoe placing a foot into a shoe; the body flexing slightly outward when pressure from a foot is placed on the top portion during the insertion of a foot into the shoe, thereby widening the entrance of the shoe for the foot; the body having an outside portion that is formed to be substantially parallel to the rear portion and part of the sides of the shoe upper and extends downward toward the sole of the shoe when inserted in a shoe; and a body extender attached to the inside portion of the body such that the inside portion and the body extender combined will reach to a location proximate the insole of a shoe with a high upper.

10. A tether for removal of shoe donning assistive devices, which comprises: a non-ridged and flexible body which is made of the class of materials such as string, cord, rope, woven materials, webbing, plastic, metal, leather, animal skins, paper and cloth; and body of the tether is attached to the shoe donning assistive device(s).

11. A tether as is claim 10, where it is molded into a shoe donning assistive device.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] A provisional patent application was filed on Jul. 20, 2000 entitled “Shoe donning device—shoe chute”. The provisional patent application No. is 60/219,587.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

[0002] Not applicable.

REFERENCE TO A MICROFICHE APPENDIX

[0003] Not applicable.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0004] Donning shoes is a daily activity which may become challenging, especially to those with disabilities. Assistive shoe donning devices such as the common shoe horn has been in use for many years and it is typically approximately 3-4 inches long, 1-2 inches wide and usually has a curved blade to fit loosely around the heel of the foot. To use the shoe horn, requires one to bend over and place the shoehorn into the shoe, then hold and manipulate it into a position or positions to allow the placing a foot into a shoe. This often requires twisting of the foot while manipulating it into a shoe. Requirements to use the common shoe horn include physical dexterity and strength, cognitive awareness and proprioceptive abilities. For people challenged in those areas, the daily task of putting on one's shoes may become a time consuming, frustrating activity, while for others, they simply cannot manage by themselves and they require assistance from another person to accomplish this daily task of donning shoes.

[0005] Prior art, such as issued to Nelson in U.S. Pat. No. 4,355,745, displayed a modification of the common shoe horn by increasing the length of the handle so a person would not have to bend over so far to place the shoe horn in the shoe. While this modification is well suited for some persons, it does not work well for individuals challenged with disabilities such as hemiparesis from stroke. The hemiparetic individual has only one functional hand, therefore they cannot both hold a shoehorn and place their hemiparetic foot into the shoe. Other challenging disabilites which also contribute to difficulties with the long handled shoe horn include, but are not limited to deficits such as: decreased strength and/or dexterity in their upper extremity; low vision; recent hip replacement due to precautions about internal rotation of the lower extremity; painful joints, and other perceptual, physical and/or cognitive limitations.

[0006] U.S. Pat. No. 5,655,693 issued to Engleman, was another modification in the form of a clip-on shoe horn assist. This device also had a long handle and included a large blade to be placed into the back of the shoe with an additional clip which was attached to another part of the shoe for stability of the device. U.S. Pat. No. 5,741,569 issued to Votino describes a sock and shoe device for donning sock and shoe simultaneously. While these prior art may be useful for some individuals, they are cumbersome and require the foot to be lifted high to clear the device before donning the shoe. Additional prior art for a shoe horn was issued to Mancinelli in U.S. Pat. No. 4,503,628 where it describes an insert to be attached to the back of a shoe to prevent it from rolling forward. This device is designed to be left in the shoe and not removed.

[0007] As prior art donning devices work well for some persons, however, they do not help a large population which attempt to don their shoes. A simpler device, which does not need to be manipulated by hand during donning of the shoe, which does not require bending over or excessive twisting of the foot, which may be portable and entered from the rear of the shoe is needed to make donning shoes possible and/or easier for those with physical, cognitive and proprioceptive challenges.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] The objective of this invention is to allow a person with physical, cognitive and/or proprioceptive challenges independently don their own shoes in a timely manner without using an excessive amount of strength and energy. This “Shoe donning device—shoe chute” is simply designed to enhance the ability of a person to don their shoes by: not requiring one to bend over at the hip; decreasing the need to excessively twist the foot while donning the shoe; allowing a hands free and stable device for placing the foot into the shoe; decreased visual requirements for positioning and manipulating the device while placing the foot into the shoe; allowing the foot to slip into the shoe from the back without having to be donned from the side or around an extended length handle; a portable device that can easily be moved from one location to another; and a device which is easily removed from the shoe once the shoe is properly donned on the foot.

[0009] The device is comprised of a semi-rigid material which fits over the back of the shoe and forms a “chute” which guides the foot into the shoe.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

[0010] FIG. 1 shows a view looking down onto the top of the device.

[0011] FIG. 2 shows a side view of the device.

[0012] FIG. 3 shows a view of the device placed into a shoe.

[0013] FIG. 4 reveals a cross section of the device.

[0014] FIG. 5 depicts an additional long attachment to the device for donning boots.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0015] This invention relates to assisting persons with physical challenges don their shoes. Examples of physical challenges would include, but not be limited to: paralyzed limbs, an inability to bend forward, painful joints or limitations due to breathing, cardiac, or strength deficits. This device is to be first inserted into the shoe (FIG. 3) and then the shoe would be lowered to the ground by gently dropping or placing the shoe on the ground with an assistive device such as a common reacher. The hand or hands are subsequently free to assist in maneuvering the leg and foot into the shoe. When pressure from the foot entering the shoe is applied to the rear portion of the device (2), the semi-ridged material will flex the sides of the shoe out, thereby allowing for more room for the foot to slide into the shoe during the donning process. After donning is completed, the device is removed by either pulling up on an attached tether (8, 9) or if able, bending forward and removing it by the finger hold(s) (1, 7). The device itself is made of a semi-ridged material such as a smooth, thin plastic or metal. The said material is shaped into a double, rounded V or U shape (FIG. 1), which fits over the rear portion of the shoe FIG. 3). The device will surround both the interior and exterior of said shoe portions (2, 3, 4, 5). Rearward of the exterior portion of the device, is preferably a finger hold or holds (1, 7) and a place to attach the tether (6), although neither is essential for the invention. The tether is preferably self looped at one end (9) while the other end is attached to the device by either a simple knotting, or connected to a ring or clip which is attached to the device. The device will fit approximately parallel to the outer side of the rear upper portion of the shoe, and fold over onto the interior rear portion of the shoe. This interior portion is preferably formed into a small chute like angle (3) to assist the foot when entering the shoe. The device may be of various sizes to fit different shoe types and sizes (10). The exterior portion preferably extends to at least ⅓ to ½ of the way down to the floor from the top to the shoe (FIG. 3) and the interior portion shall extend at least ½ to ¾ of the distance to the shoe sole insert. A boot extension allows the chute to extend further down into a boot's interior back or heel portion (FIG. 5), although the extension is not essential for the invention. The boot extension allows the chute to extend down along the higher upper into the boot to the insole. The finger hold(s) (1, 6, 7) are preferably placed to the rear of the exterior portion of the device. The finger holds may be of various shapes and may include a hole (6) which facilitates the attachment of the tether. There are preferably two finger holds each placed to the side of the device to assist with removal of the device. The finger hold(s) are preferably placed so as not to extend above the top of the device, and preferably slightly below the top of the device. After the shoe is donned, persons without bending over limitations may hold onto the device at the finger hold(s) and remove the device from the shoe. The tether (8, 9) is preferably made up of any appropriate material such as a webbing, string, chain or rope. The overall length shall be approximately 20″ to 36″ and preferably includes a self loop of approximately 6″ to 12″ to pull the tether with a hand or forearm. The length of the tether may be adjusted to meet the person's individual need by cutting the tether to an appropriate length. One end of the tether, not the self looped end, is preferably tied directly to the device either through the hole or surrounding the finger hold(s) (1, 6, 7), or attached via a ring or clip. The tether will be placed over the knee or held on the forearm or in a hand during the donning process. The tether will be slack so as not to interfere with the foot entering the shoe. After the shoe is donned, a person can remove the device by pulling up on the tether without needing to bend over. It is also contemplated by the present invention that a tether may be added to any shoe-donning device to assist a user in removing the device from a shoe without bending over.

[0016] Thus, an improved device for donning a shoe is shown and described above. The embodiments shown and described are intended for the purpose of illustration only and not for the purpose of limitation, the invention being only limited by the claims made in this patent application.