Title:
Device used for therapy and for exercising the joints of the human body
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention introduces a device for therapy and for exercising joints, muscles and the sensitivity for strengthening joints, in particular for strengthening the rotator cuff of the shoulder joint. The exercising device is secured on a parallel surface (8) by means of two parallel rails (12, 12′). The special advantage of the exercising device (1) has to be seen in that the swivel arm (2) as defined by the invention can be brought into any individual spatial position, so that optimal adaptation to the conditions required for the respective ailing part of the body is assured, and that additionally a tractive and compressive load can continuously and/or alternately act upon the joints.



Inventors:
Schulz, Peter (Essen, DE)
Application Number:
10/048755
Publication Date:
08/08/2002
Filing Date:
02/02/2002
Assignee:
SCHULZ PETER
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/139
International Classes:
A63B21/08; A63B23/12; (IPC1-7): A63B21/08; A63B71/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, TAM M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
COLLARD & ROE, P.C. (ROSLYN, NY, US)
Claims:
1. A device (1) for therapy and exercising of the joints of the human body, in particular of the shoulder joint in a number of directions, comprising at least one swivel arm (2) which can be brought in any spatial position within the range of action of the swivel arm (2) and is secured on at least one pivot connection (4); and an adjustable traction and compression device (5) arranged on the swivel arm (2), said device comprising at least one pulling and pressure-applying element (28, 26).

2. The device according to claim 1, characterized in that the swivel arm (2) is supported in a rotating manner in the area of the pivot connection (4), whereby the range of rotation by means of a pivot bearing (10) is between 0° and 360°.

3. The device according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the swivel arm (2) is displaceable both vertically and horizontally.

4. The device according to claim 1, characterized in that the swivel arm (2) has the shape of a disk on which stop elements (16, 16′) can be arranged in any desired locations.

5. The device according to claim 4, characterized in that drilled holes (15) are arranged on the disk of the swivel arm (2), into which the stop elements (16, 16′) are plugged.

6. The device according to claims 11 and 14, characterized in that the disk (2′) comprises at least one recess (17) located in the edge zone of the disk.

7. The device according to claim 1, characterized in that a lever bar (19) is arranged on the swivel arm (2), said lever bar being supported in a rotating manner.

8. The device according to claims 1 and 7, characterized in that the lever bar (19) is rotatably supported parallel with the plane of the disk (2′) and has a swiveling handle (23).

9. The device according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the traction and compression device (5) is arranged in the point of rotation (20) and acting on the lever bar (19).

10. The device according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that a weight (24) can be arranged on the side of the lever bar (19) facing away from the handle (23).

11. The device according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the force of the lever arm of the weight (24) can be completely or partly compensated by a counter force.

12. The device according to claim 1, characterized by a pressure-applying element (26) (pressure spring), said element being secured with its one end on a holding device (6) in a cylinder; and a pulling element (28) forming a counter force to the pressure-applying element.

13. The device according to claim 25, characterized in that the pulling and pressure-applying element (28, 26) is arranged in a hydraulic cylinder acting in both directions.

14. The device according to claim 25, characterized in that the pulling and pressure-applying forces are adjustable.

15. The device according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the holding device (6) for the elbow of the human arm is arranged in such a way that it can be rotated around its longitudinal axis.

16. The device according to claim 25, characterized in that the pulling and pressure-applying element (28, 26) is a motor.

Description:
[0001] The present invention relates to a device for exercising the joints, the musculature and the receptors of the human body, in particular of the shoulder joint that is affected by limitation of mobility due to a posttraumatic condition or following immobilization, or due to degenerative processes and/or muscular weakness or muscle atrophies. The limitation of mobility may be capsular or caused by muscle contraction.

[0002] Such devices are known in the prior art from the American patents U.S. Pat. No. 5,080,350 and U.S. Pat. No. 4,640,268. It is perceived as being a drawback of such devices that the entire structure of the device is built up on a rack and that not all parts of the muscles can be stressed to the required extent during the exercising phase. Furthermore, the structure is relatively complicated, so that the manufacturing costs seem to be high. Moreover, it appears that the individual adaptation to the special needs in connection with shoulder joints is not readily assured.

[0003] Another exercising device for the limbs of the human body, in particular for the parts of the arm is known from the American patent U.S. Pat. No. 5,254,066. The complicated technical structure of said device has to be viewed as its main drawback, which makes its purchase relatively cost-intensive. The known treatment methods in physiotherapy are the autocentering and strengthening of the so-called rotator cuffs and the increase of the proprioception by compression. Furthermore, the limitation of the mobility is conditioned both capsular and muscular, which is attempted to be eliminated by traction methods, muscle elongation and other strengthening methods. This can be partly alleviated in this way.

[0004] It has not been possible until now in connection with the known exercising devices to exercise in one plane of movement or to apply isolated traction of the exercising apparatus to the joint. Variable resistance in a number of directions becomes in fact more precise; however, this is made possible only by means of computer-controlled devices combined with substantial expenditure in terms of space requirements and cost. As an alternative, it is now possible to supply the movement manually in combination with traction or compression, which, in practical life, means expenditure in terms of personnel and intensive care, and, furthermore, permits only subjective documentation.

[0005] The aim of the present invention is to be achieved in that an exercising variety of the movements in space as comprehensive as possible in conjunction with traction and compression is made possible at variable resistance without being excessively cost-intensive and space-consuming. In addition to being employed in connection with diseased conditions in the hospital or on the rehabilitation station, the aim is to make it possible also to employ the device in sports as a preventive means and for strengthening purposes in different kinds of sports such as, for example rowing, tennis and golf.

[0006] Therefore, the problem of the present invention is to exercise the joints of the human body affected by a limitation of mobility, weakness, instability or reduction of the deep sensitivity, with a simple technical device without having to use outside help.

[0007] Said problem is solved according to the invention with the characterizing features of the independent claim.

[0008] The invention substantially consists of a device for therapy and exercising of the joints of the human body, in particular of the shoulder joint, in a number of directions. Said device comprises at least one swivel arm that can be brought into any desired spatial position within the range of action of the swivel arm, and which is secured on at least one pivoting fastening means. An adjustable traction and compression device comprising at least one pulling and pressure-application element is arranged on said swivel arm.

[0009] The device as defined by the invention makes it possible to perform a movement under traction, intermittent traction and/or compression without manual contact. The plane of the movement can be adjusted and fixed in this connection in any spatial plane as required. The movement can be opposed by variable resistance as required (strengthening and decontraction), or one movement alone may be required by minimal intensity of the movement. Due to the fact that the fixing points of the individual variable parameters and adjustments of the device can be documented, it is now possible to exactly document the course of the therapy. By adjusting the tensile force of the springs and weights it is thus possible to obtain an objective curve of the performance, which can be plotted on a schematic data sheet of the exercising device.

[0010] It is advantageous according to the invention if the swivel arm is secured on a vertical surface, for example on a wall.

[0011] Furthermore, it is advantageous also if the screws are arranged in the area of the pivot connection.

[0012] Moreover, it is advantageous also if the swivel arm is supported in a rotational manner in the area of the pivot connection, so that the swivel arm is capable of rotating about its longitudinal axis in the range between 0° and 360°.

[0013] It is advantageous in this connection, furthermore, if the pivot connection is realized by means of a hinge. In this way, it is possible to adjust the swivel arm to any position between 0° and 180°, i.e. to swivel the arm both vertically and around its axis.

[0014] So that the swivel arm can be adjusted also vertically as required depending on the size of the human body to be treated, it is advantageous if the swivel arm is secured on a horizontal console in such a way that it can be adjusted in the vertical direction.

[0015] It is advantageous in this connection if the horizontal console is arranged on two rails extending parallel with each other, and if said rails are provided with drilled holes located with a defined spacing from each other, and to fasten the horizontal console via said drilled holes.

[0016] It is particularly advantageous if the swivel arm has the shape of a disk and such disk is provided on its outer edge with at least one recess in which the human body can be accommodated.

[0017] It is advantageous, furthermore, if a lever bar is arranged on the disk-shaped swivel arm, and said lever bar is supported in a rotational manner parallel with the plane of the disk.

[0018] It is advantageous, moreover, if a traction and compression device capable of exerting both traction and compression on the longitudinal axis of the upper arms is arranged in the point of rotation of the lever bar. The compression and/or traction are acting parallel with the swivel arm and are supplied to the swivel arm in the center.

[0019] Furthermore, it is advantageous if a handle that can be adjusted along the axis of the lever bar is arranged on one end of the lever bar.

[0020] It is also advantageous if a changeable weight is arranged on the side of the lever bar opposing the handle in order to compensate any tensile forces that might occur.

[0021] According to the invention, the traction and compression device has pulling and pressure-applying elements located in the point of rotation of the lever bar. Such elements are advantageously realized in the form of a spring or a rope tackle device. It is advantageous in this connection if the traction and compression device is designed in such a way that the forces are variable. Such a device may be advantageously realized also in the form of a hydraulic cylinder or a motor that can alternately apply traction or compression to the lower arm.

[0022] Other features essential to the invention are specified in the dependent claims.

[0023] The invention is described in greater detail in the following with the help of drawings, in which:

[0024] FIG. 1a is a schematic representation of the device (1) as defined by the invention.

[0025] FIG. 1b is a front view of the device (1) as defined by the invention turned by 90° versus FIG. 1a.

[0026] FIG. 2 shows an exemplified embodiment of the device (1) as defined by the invention, which is secured on the wall (8) by means of two fastening rails (12, 12′);

[0027] FIG. 3 is a schematic representation of the traction and compression device (5) as defined by the invention, comprising the holding device (6) and the pulling and pressure-applying elements (28, 26); and

[0028] FIG. 4 is a schematic representation of the traction and compression device (5), showing the adjustability of the compressive forces.

[0029] FIG. 1a is a schematic representation of the device 1 as defined by the invention. The device can be usefully secured on a vertical wall with the help of the two rails 12, 12′, which extend parallel with each other and which are fastened with the suitable fastening means 3 not described here in detail. A console 11 not visible in detail in the present representation is arranged between the rails 12 and 12′. The swivel arm 2 as defined by the invention is secured on said console by means of a pivot connection 4. The pivot connection 4 is a hinge in the general case. Other connection possibilities such as click-stop devices that can be locked in a fixed manner are within the scope of the general idea of the invention as well. After the pivot connection (hinge), provision is made for another rotating connection 10 (pivot bearing) that permits rotating the swivel arm 2 about its longitudinal axis by 360°. Owing to the mobility of the two connections 10 and 11, it is made possible to adjust the plane of movement for the arm to be exercised in any desired spatial position, which is indicated by the dashed lines 7. In the right-side area of the present representation, a lever bar 19 is rotatably supported on the swivel arm 4. On the one side, the lever bar 19 has a handle 23, among other things, and a weight 24 on the side opposing the handle 23. Both the handle and the weight can be displaced in the longitudinal direction. A traction and compression device 5 is arranged in the point of rotation 20. A holding device 6 serving the purpose of receiving and supporting the elbow of the human arm is secured on said traction and compression device. The traction and compression device 5 is described in greater detail below.

[0030] FIG. 1b shows a front view of the device 1 as defined by the invention that is turned by 90° vis-a-vis FIG. 1a. The two fastening rails 12 and 12′ are vertically fastened on the wall 8 with the suitable fastening means 3, extending parallel with each other. The swivel arm and thus the lever bar 19 are located in an inclined position that was previously assumed in accordance with the adjustment required for a defined muscle. In certain situations, the lever bar 19 can be brought into a defined position by means of a counter force 25, which, for example is a spring force. Said position can be changed both by the spring force and the position in space. During the exercise to be carried out, the elbow rests in the holding device 6, whereby the hand grips around the handle 23. Due to the spring force 25 and the counter weight 24 countering the spring force, the resulting force can be adjusted to 0 in the resting point. This results in an optimal expenditure of force and adaptation to the parts of the body to be exercised. The spring force can be applied to all drilled holes and parts of the device, so that the directions of movement to be activated are optimally supported.

[0031] FIG. 2 shows an exemplified embodiment of the device 1 as defined by the invention. The fastening rails 12 and 12′ extending parallel with each other are secured on a vertical wall 8. The fastening rails 12 and 12′ are provided with drilled holes located with a defined spacing from each other. Said drilled holes serve for receiving the fixing elements 14, 14′ on the horizontal console 11. A hinge 4 is secured on the horizontal console 11 with the help of suitable means. Such suitable fastening means may be screw connections, clamped connections or welded connections. The adjusted height of the console 1 depends on the body size or sitting height of the patient. Another pivot connection 10 is usefully arranged in the area of the hinge 4, permitting a further degree of freedom of the swivel arm 2. The pivot connection 10, which is realized in the form of a pivot bearing, is followed by a connection bridge 21 that is connected with a circular disk 2′ and represents the actual swivel arm 2. The pivot bearing 10 can be provided also with an adjustable resistive force acting against the rotational movement. The disk 2′ is provided with the recesses 17 and 18 located in defined sites. Said recesses serve for offering space for the human body and for reducing the weight of the swivel arm. Through the recess 17, the human body can be brought near the point of rotation 20 of the lever bar 19 as closely as desired, so that an optimal position of the shoulder joint versus the point of rotation 20 is assured. The drilled holes 15 are located in a perforated circular plate on the disk 2′ and mainly serve the purpose of receiving the plug bolts 16, 16′ serving as stop elements for the lever bar 19. The stop elements 16, 16′ can fix the angle of rotation α of the longitudinal axis of the lever bar 19 at reasonable intervals. A lever bar 19 is supported in the point of rotation 20 on the disk 2′ in a suitable site located near the recess 17. The traction and compression device 5 as defined by the invention, which is described in greater detail below, is arranged in the point of rotation 20. Furthermore, a holding device 6 is secured on the traction and compression device 5. A handle 23 is secured on one end of the lever bar 19 and is provided with a ball joint, so that the handle 23 mounted vertically on the lever bar 19 can be moved in each direction, which is indicated by the dashed lines 23′. The lever bar 19 is provided with the drilled holes 31, which serve the purpose of adjusting both the handle 23 and the counter weight 24 along the lever bar 19. Furthermore, a spring serving as a counter force can be suspended in the drilled holes 31 for compensating the force of gravity of the weight 24 and for permitting different forces of resistance to act from different directions.

[0032] FIG. 3 is a schematic representation of the traction and compression device 5. A pressure-applying element 26 is arranged in a cylinder 33 and acts against the force of the pulling element 28 with the weight 32. The pressure-applying element 26 is acting on a surface 29 that is connected in a fixed manner with the holding device 6 for supporting the elbow. The pulling element 28 in the form of a rope line is secured on the same surface 29. By varying the weight 32 it is thus possible to adjust the resulting force for the movement of the holding device 6 in a reproducible manner. A cylinder 34 is arranged on the surface 29. Said cylinder is in turn connected with a bar 35 on whose end a bow 22 or a cup-shaped means for receiving the elbow is fastened. The holding device 6 is supported in such a way that it can be rotated around its longitudinal axis within defined limits. The plane of rotation of the lever bar 19 is thus variable with a spacing (A) from the disk 2′.

[0033] FIG. 4 is a schematic representation of a cutout of the holding device 6. On its jacket surface, the cylinder 33 is provided with the recesses 36, which are arranged along a slot 37 with a defined spacing from each other. Said recesses 36 serve for adjusting the spring force of the pressure-applying element 26, so that the force to be raised by the arm of the human body can be individually adjusted, or the pressure is arrested in order to achieve an isolated pull.

[0034] By virtue of its high variability, the exercising device as defined by the invention is particularly well-suited for application in connection with problems of the shoulder joint. It can be used both in the areas of rehabilitation and sports. Furthermore, a higher therapy or exercising efficiency is achieved at lower cost with the exercising device as defined by the invention. The device can be quickly set up in an uncomplicated manner due to the simplicity of its mechanical structure. Furthermore, an important advantage lies in the fact that all adjustments of the exercising device are reproducible and can be documented, so that a certain degree of objectivity is assured.





 
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