Title:
Therapeutic exercise device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A therapeutic exercise device, including receptacle means designed to support a person's lower or upper extremities. A substantially rectangular support base (10) is slidably associated with the carriage (16), in such a manner as to allow a longitudinal displacement of the carriage on the support base. In addition an adjustable resistance arrangement is included to allow increased frictional resistance in between the carriage, and the support base Consequently with increased frictional resistance, increased muscular energy is required to achieve the longitudinal displacement of the carriage on the support base. Thus a more versatile therapeutic device is provided, that permits a simple and accurate measurement of the rehabilitation performance of the lower or upper extremity affected. This device may be employed for strengthening abdominal and back muscles in the process of physical therapy, especially in facilitating Mc Kinsey exercises for lower back. Also, the present invention may be employed as a transferring device for a patient from one surface such as a wheelchair, to another surface such as a bed.



Inventors:
Craciunescu, Marin (Seven Hills, OH, US)
Application Number:
10/373525
Publication Date:
03/04/2004
Filing Date:
02/24/2003
Assignee:
CRACIUNESCU MARIN
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/140
International Classes:
A63B21/012; A63B23/02; A63B23/04; (IPC1-7): A63B21/012; A63B26/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DONNELLY, JEROME W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARIN CRACIUNESCU (BRECKSVILLE, OH, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A therapeutic exercise device comprising: a. A carriage assembly in combination with means for supporting a human's lower or upper extremity. b. A substantially rectangular support base having means that enables said carriage to be movable in a substantially longitudinal path on said base support. c. A plurality of adjustable resistance means attached to said carriage.

2. The therapeutic exercise device according to claims 1 wherein the support base has a substantially rectangular top surface, that includes a longitudinally mounted track rail slidably connected to a guide block inserted in said track rail.

3. The therapeutic exercise device according to claim 1 wherein the carriage assembly is attached to the guide block, and is longitudinally displaceable in the track rail by a drive force produced by muscular power.

4. The therapeutic exercise device according to claim 1 wherein the carriage assembly includes a removable platform, said platform having at least one arrangement for supporting a person's lower or upper extremity.

5. The therapeutic exercise device according to claim 1 wherein the arrangement of resistance force means is constructed in such a manner as to enable a person to adjust different levels of resistance on the displacement of the carriage longitudinally on the support base.

6. A therapeutic exercise device comprising: a. A generally rectangular support base. b. A carriage slideably associated with said support base. c. A recessed guide track affixed laterally on the side of the base support on its length.

7. The therapeutic exercise device of claim 6 wherein a plurality of end travel stops for the carriage are mounted in the recessed lateral guide.

8. The therapeutic exercise device of claim 6 wherein an arrangement of resistance force means is attached laterally along the side of the carriage that is in apposition with the recessed lateral guide track on the support base.

9. The therapeutic exercise device of claim 6 wherein a plurality of screw spring plungers are hand adjustable thereby enabling side slack elimination between the support base and carriage. Furthermore, said screw spring plungers enable a sliding resistance force of the carriage on the support base.

10. The therapeutic exercise device of claim 6 wherein the carriage is adapted to support a person in a sitting position for a transfer movement from one surface such as a wheelchair to another surface such as a bed.

11. The therapeutic exercise device of claim 10 wherein a platform is removably attached on the carriage, said platform including means for supporting a human's feet, such as an arrangement of concave receptacles in combination with loop and hook fasteners.

12. A therapeutic exercise device comprising: a. A generally rectangular support base. b. A carriage assembly including means for supporting a human's lower or upper extremity, slidably associated with said support base. c. A plurality of adjustable resistance force means attached to said carriage.

13. The therapeutic exercise device of claim 12 wherein the resistance force is provided by an arrangement which includes a plurality of screw spring plungers connected to a hand accessible adjusting member, said adjusting member is marked as to enable different levels of resistance of the longitudinal displacement of the carriage on the support base to be displayed.

14. The therapeutic exercise device of claim 12 further including at least an elongated air inflatable element aligned with at least one of the inner longitudinal side walls of the guide track, in combination with air pressure controlling means.

15. The therapeutic exercise device of claim 14 wherein the carriage assembly includes rolling means connected to the screw spring plungers.

16. The therapeutic exercise device of claim 14 wherein an intermediate wear strip is placed longitudinally in between the rolling means attached to the screw spring plunger and the elongated air inflatable element.

17. The therapeutic exercise device of claim 14 further including at least one air flow directional check valve, and means of air pressure reading such as air pressure gauges.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] PPA Ser. No. 60/406267 filed Aug. 27, 2002

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] This invention relates to therapeutic portable exercising devices for conditioning and strengthening the muscles and tendons in the leg. Also this device may be employed in the therapeutic rehabilitation of the upper extremities and lower back exercises.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Lower extremity injuries and other types of debilitating illnesses frequently require prolonged immobilization which tends to cause general weakening of the muscles in the human body. Appropriate medical devices are therefore used in the process of physical rehabilitation. The use of portable leg exercising devices of known designs and configuration is known in prior art:

[0004] a. By way of example in U.S. Pat. No. 4,229,001 to Roman, U.S. Pat. No. 6,224,521B1 to Foucault and U.S. Pat. No. 6,416,448B1 to Hassler, inventors created several types of portable leg exercise devices where the knee and hip are constrained to move in a linear fashion.

[0005] b. Furthermore, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,002,271 to Gonzales and U.S. Pat. No. 6,056,675 to Aruin inventors created portable leg exercise devices which are designed to be used by a person in a sitting position.

[0006] c. Lastly, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,279,530 to Hess, inventor created a portable leg exercise apparatus where resistance is provided by one or more elastic cords. These types of devices may be dangerous for debilitated patients because of the specific elastic load tension created while exercising.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] The general purpose of the present invention is to provide specific structural and functional arrangements for a more versatile therapeutic exercise device for rehabilitation professionals and patients. A person may exercise with this device in a supine or sitting position.

[0008] To attain this, the present invention essentially comprises a generally rectangular base support having a generally flat top surface. The top carriage is mounted on a guide block which is slidably guided by track members of a rectangular shape inserted on the top of the base support. The carriage assembly typically includes, on the top surface, a pair of spaced receptacles designed to support the feet, hands or elbows of the user. Furthermore, typically a loop and hook fastener arrangement may be provided to attach the desired body member to the carriage. A plurality of hand adjustable elements will be provided with the purpose of side way slack elimination in between one side of the rectangular board and the corresponding inner side of the carriage in an appropriate manufactured recess to maintain if desired a sliding resistance. In addition, in order to provide increased sliding resistance control, a plurality of spring loaded resistance hand adjustable elements are provided laterally, towards each end of the carriage side.

[0009] Other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from a reading of the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing where a particular embodiment of the invention is disclosed as an illustrative example.

OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES

[0010] Accordingly, it can be appreciated that there exists a continuing need for a new more versatile exercise device which is hand portable, easy to handle and to use in the process of human rehabilitation. In this regard, the present invention substantially fulfills this need.

[0011] Therefore, several objects and advantages of the present invention are:

[0012] a. To provide a hand portable leg exercise device where the knee is not constrained to move only in a linear fashion

[0013] b. To provide an easy to handle lower and upper extremity exercise device, that can be comfortably used in a supine, prone or in a sitting position.

[0014] c. To provide an exercise device that is safe and simple to use in a wide range of applications in the physical rehabilitation process.

[0015] Particularly, the carriage can be moved by the user with an appropriate set degree of resistance in between the carriage and the support base according to the user's therapeutic needs. In the case of a patient with a stroke, the affected lower extremity needs to be subjected to a process called neuromuscular rehabilitation where extensive movement is recommended for the affected lower extremity and extensive hands on physical therapy is required.

[0016] With the present invention decreased professional hands on therapy is needed, since the patient will be able to assist the movement of the affected extremity with the assistance of the healthy extremity on the carriage. In the process of lower extremity rehabilitation a loop and hook fastener arrangement may be provided to support the affected lower thigh to the stronger lower thigh, thus preventing unwanted external rotation in the weak leg. In the case that increased range of motion is desired in the affected leg such as due to contraction after a total knee replacement, the patient can assist with the stronger lower extremity in order to achieve increased range of motion in the operated knee.

[0017] Another advantage of the present invention , even though is designed primarily as a therapeutic exercise device, is the fact that it may be used as a sliding board for transferring a person with physical limitations from one surface to another in sitting position.

[0018] Further objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from a consideration of the drawings and ensuing description. It is to be understood that the invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0019] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the therapeutic lower extremity exercise device in accordance with the present invention with the carriage and platform arrangement shown in the middle position on the support base.

[0020] FIG. 1A illustrates a cross sectional view of the adjustably sliding resistance arrangement of the preferred embodiment.

[0021] FIG. 1B is perspective view of the preferred embodiment of the present invention with the detachable platform arrangement removed.

[0022] FIG. 2 shows another embodiment of the present invention in a perspective View.

[0023] FIG. 2A illustrates a cross sectional view of the track rail adjustable resistance mechanism according to FIG. 2, of the sliding resistance arrangement mounted medially to the underside of the carriage.

[0024] FIG. 3 shows a further embodiment of the present invention with an air pressure resistance arrangement.

[0025] FIG. 3A illustrates a cross sectional view of the track rail in combination with the air pressure arrangement.

[0026] FIG. 3B is an illustrative diagrammatic representation of the air pressure arrangement.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

[0027] FIG. 1 illustrates the preferred embodiment of the present invention. It mainly comprises a generally rectangular support base 10 having a substantially flat top surface and a carriage 16. The carriage is slidably associated with the support base by a track rail 12 in such a manner as to enable the carriage to move relative to the support base in a longitudinal fashion. As it is further apparent from FIG. 1B the carriage 16 is mounted on the guide block 14 with fasteners 16A. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 1A the carriage also includes a lateral slidable member 30 and an adjustable screw spring plunger 24 associated with the lateral guide track 22, in such a manner as to provide the ability of a reaction force against the longitudinal movement of the carriage 16 relative to the support base 10.

[0028] The support base and the carriage may be constructed of any suitable material, including but not limited to laminated wood, aluminum, plastic, fiberglass, or any combination of these materials The track rail 12, the guide block 14, and the lateral slidable member 30 may be constructed of slidable polymer-lined elements such as Mc Master-Carr catalog part No. 6723K13 and 6723K42 or any other suitable low friction elements such as ball bearing elements guided by the track rail in a suitable manner.

[0029] As FIG. 1 shows, a platform arrangement 18 is removably attached to the carriage 16 with fastener means 16B. The platform arrangement 18 includes a pair of spaced apart receptacles 18A, designed to support the feet of the user with his or her shoes on. Also, the receptacles 18A may include a plurality of hook and loop fastener arrangements 18B with the purpose to provide increased support for user's feet while exercising.

[0030] In certain stages of the therapeutic process, it is desirable to make the movement of the carriage more difficult by imposing a resistance force thereon which must be overcome to slide the carriage on the support base. In the preferred embodiment, as seen in FIG. 1A, the resistance force is provided by the adjustable screw spring plunger 24 and it may be supplemented by Belleville disc springs 32 available by catalog order such as the Mc Master Carr. The sliding resistance force may be adjusted either by one screw plunger 24 or by both if deemed necessary.

[0031] Furthermore, this embodiment of the present invention includes travel stops 20 mounted laterally on the support base in the lateral guide track 22.

[0032] As will be apparent on examining FIG. 1A, an adjusting knob 26 is removably attached to one end of the screw spring plunger 24 with set screws 26A to prevent the adjusting knob to turn on the screw.

[0033] Furthermore, the adjusting knob 26 is preferably marked with numbers in such a manner as to show the direction trend of the sliding resistance. By tightening the adjusting knob 26 clockwise, the attached male screw plunger 24 is guided by a female threaded insert 28 and will exert increased mechanical pressure on the lateral sliding member 30. Consequently, when increased mechanical pressure is applied on the sliding member 30, increased lower extremity muscle energy is required to achieve the longitudinal sliding motion of the carriage on the support base. This will result in increased neuromuscular control in the exercised lower extremity. It is known by one familiar with the art that when increased range of motion is the goal of exercise the bending or stretching of the lower extremity is done in increments, as many as a patient may tolerate. With the present invention, this may be achieved by stretching or bending the lower extremity in a tolerable position. The carriage 16 may be locked on the base support 10 by clockwise tightening the adjusting knob 26 as much as needed to prevent sliding of the carriage on the support base. When the patient can tolerate further movement of the lower extremity, the carriage may be longitudinally displaced on the support base per patient tolerance.

[0034] As seen in FIG. 1B the platform arrangement 18 may be removed, whereby making possible for the present device to be employed as a transferring board.

[0035] FIG. 2 shows another embodiment of the present invention. The details of this embodiment are best illustrated in FIG. 2 in conjunction with FIG. 2A. As described previously in the preferred embodiment of the present invention; similarly this embodiment includes a carriage 16 which is slidably associated with the support base 10 by means of a track rail 12 and guide block 14. In order to permit decreased friction operation, the guide block 14 may be mounted on ball bearing arrangements which are guided by the track rail 12.

[0036] Furthermore, as seen in FIGS. 2 and 2A in conjunction, the sliding resistance force may be adjusted by an adjustable knob 46 attached to a generally cylindrical member 44. The cylindrical member is constructed in such a manner as to have a clockwise female thread on part of its length, plus a counter clockwise female thread on another part of its length. Furthermore, the generally cylindrical member 44 is functionally connected with two accommodating male threaded screw spring plungers 42 and 42A which are removable supported by a plurality of brackets 88 or any other suitable means to the underside of the carriage 16. As is further evident from FIGS. 2 and 2A the screw plunger is intended to be connected to a low friction slideable member 40, a plurality of lock nuts 42B and 42C may be provided to prevent unwanted movement of the screw plungers. Instead of the slidable member 40, a rollable element such as polymer coated ball bearings may be employed. In addition a plurality of adjustable travel stops 92 may be provided in order to limit the length of the travel of the carriage 16 in the rail track 12.

[0037] The sliding resistance in between the carriage 16 and the track rail 12 may be increased by rotating the adjustable knob 46 attached to the cylindrical member 44 counter clockwise. This rotation will cause a linear movement of the associated plungers 42 and 42A in such a manner as to increase the pressure on the sliding members 40 against the inner side walls of the track rail 12.

[0038] As seen in FIG. 2, in addition a lateral guide track 50 may be mounted longitudinally on each lateral side of the support base 10. Furthermore each track 50 includes a plurality of guide blocks 52. The guide block 52 includes removable connective means such as hooks which may be employed in combination other fastener means such as adjustable straps, hook-and-loop fastener, or any other suitable means deemed necessary to assist in the process of stretching the affected lower extremity.

[0039] FIG. 3 illustrates another embodiment of the present invention. The details of this embodiment are best illustrated in FIG. 3A.

[0040] As described previously in FIGS. 2 and 2A of the present invention, similarly this embodiment includes a carriage 16 which is slidably associated with the support base 10 by means of a track rail 12A and guide block 14. As is further evident from FIG. 3, the carriage also includes an arrangement of adjustable set screw 60 and 60 B which are medially connected to the knob 46 and laterally to a plurality of rolling elements 62 which are supported in place by brackets 64 and 64A. Furthermore, as FIG. 3 indicates the set screws 64 and 64A are preferably mounted with brackets 88, similarly to FIG.2, to the underside of the carriage 16 in a manner that enables the user to adjust the resistance force of the longitudinal displacement of the carriage over the support base 10. Typically, the resistance force is applied on an intermediate wear strip 66, as seen in FIG. 3A, towards the inner longitudinal side walls of the guide track 12A which is mounted on the top surface of the support base 10. An elongated inflatable member 68 is inserted longitudinally and is positioned in between the inner longitudinal side wall of the guide track 12 and the wear strip 66.

[0041] In addition as seen in FIG. 3B the present embodiment includes an air flow directional check valve 70 which allows the inflatable member 68 to be pressurized by means such as a generic air pump. Furthermore an additional check valve 76, an air flow control valve 78 and an air pressure gauge 74 are connected to each longitudinal end of the pressurized inflatable member 68.The longitudinal ends of the inflatable member 68 are connected through air conductive means such as copper tubing arrangement 80 inserted laterally to the track rail 12 in the support base 10. Similarly to the previous embodiments of the present invention the carriage 16 in this embodiment is longitudinally displaced on the support base 10 by muscle energy. When increased sliding resistance is desired, the knob 46 is rotated counterclockwise. This movement will have an effect of increased positive air pressure in the inflatable member 68 which corresponds with increased sliding resistance of the carriage 16 on the support base 10.Consequently increased muscular energy is required to initiate a longitudinal displacement of the carriage 16 on the support base 10.

[0042] Depending on the directional movement of the carriage 16, part of the air contained in the inflatable member 68 will be forced in a closed circuit manner through the directional check valve 76 located at the corresponding longitudinal end of the inflatable member. Furthermore the forced air will continue to flow through the tubing 80 towards the opposite end of the longitudinal member 68. The air pressure gauges 74 in this embodiment of the present invention have a function to prevent over inflation of the inflatable member 68 and, to measure the sliding resistance in combination with the knob 46.

[0043] Accordingly, the reader will see that the previously described embodiments of the present invention provide a portable versatile and easy to use therapeutic device for lower extremities. In addition, this invention permits a simple method of adjusting the sliding resistance, and the recording of measurements if desired. In this way, the rehabilitation progress can be properly recorded and demonstrated.

[0044] Although the description above contains many specificities, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention but as merely providing illustrations of some of the preferred embodiments of this invention. Any combination of the previously described features may be considered in any of the embodiments of the present invention. Thus, the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents rather than by the examples given.