Title:
Kneepad having a sling strap system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A kneepad includes a base, a first and second mounting ring attached to the base, and an elongated strap removably attached to the first and second mounting rings. During use, the base is placed over a knee of user. The elongated strap is placed behind the knee of the user and a first end of the elongated strap is wrapped around the knee and inserted into the first mounting ring. A second end of the elongated strap is then wrapped around the knee and inserted into the second mounting ring. The first and second ends of the elongated strap are pulled through the first and second mounting rings to obtain a desired tension between the kneepad and the knee. Once the desired tension is obtained, the kneepad is secured to the knee.



Inventors:
Cunningham, Ian W. (Matthews, NC, US)
Application Number:
10/972606
Publication Date:
06/09/2005
Filing Date:
10/25/2004
Assignee:
CUNNINGHAM IAN W.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D13/06; (IPC1-7): A41D13/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20050268378Ornamental clip for hatsDecember, 2005Butler
20070163030Scrotal catchJuly, 2007Reddy
20100050327CHEST PROTECTORMarch, 2010Kataoka
20090144872Attachment System For A HelmetJune, 2009Lebel et al.
20070266480EXIGENT HELMET RELEASE SYSTEMNovember, 2007Tovo
20050102732Five-finger glove permitting wearer's hand to be liberated as it is wornMay, 2005Nakagawa
20090000013SHOULDER STRAP FASTENERJanuary, 2009Haile et al.
20070074326Headgear With Cooling DeviceApril, 2007Komechak
20090044318Lens inserts for cage masksFebruary, 2009Spagna et al.
20070163024Protective collar for the therapeutic protection of the head and face of very young childrenJuly, 2007Kuehn
20090235928Helmet for artificial respiration without the aid of face masks or tracheal tubes, with improved wearabilitySeptember, 2009Borsari



Primary Examiner:
PATEL, TAJASH D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Dennis J. Williamson (Research Triangle Park, NC, US)
Claims:
1. A kneepad comprising: a base; a mounting system attached to said base; and an elongated strap removably attached to said mounting system, said elongated strap securing said base to a leg of said user in position over said knee.

2. The kneepad of claim 1, wherein said mounting system comprises: a first mounting ring attached to said base, said first mounting accepting a first end of said elongated strap; a second mounting ring attached to said base, said second mounting ring accepting a second end of said elongated strap; and wherein said first and second ends of said elongated strap are attached to each other in front of said base.

3. The kneepad of claim 2, further comprising a rigid cap attached to said base.

4. The kneepad of claim 3, wherein said first and second mounting rings each are D-rings.

5. The kneepad of claim 3, wherein said first and second mounting rings each have a square shape.

6. The kneepad of claim 2, wherein said first end of said elongated strap comprises a surface of minute hooks and said second end of said elongated strap comprises a surface of uncut pile, said surface of minute hooks operable to secure to said surface of uncut pile.

7. The kneepad of claim 2, wherein said first end of said elongated strap has a first snap section defined thereon and said second end of said elongated strap has a second snap section defined thereon, said first snap section operable to secure to said second snap section.

8. The kneepad of claim 2, wherein said first end of said elongated strap has a buckle defined thereon and said second end of said elongated strap has at least one hole defined thereon, said second end of said elongated strap operable to secure to said first end of said elongated strap at said buckle.

9. The kneepad of claim 2, further comprising: a second elongated strap removably received by said mounting system, said second elongated strap secures said base and said rigid cap to said leg of said user in position over said knee; wherein said mounting system further comprises: a third mounting ring attached to said base, said third mounting ring accepts a first end of said second elongated strap; a fourth mounting ring attached to said base, said fourth mounting ring accepts a second end of said second elongated strap; and wherein said first and second ends of said second elongated strap are attached to each other in front of said base.

10. The kneepad of claim 1 wherein said mounting system comprises: a first mounting ring attached to said base; and a second mounting ring attached to said base; wherein a first end of said elongated strap passes through said first mounting ring and is folded back and secured to a first attachment section of said first elongated strap; and wherein a second end of said elongated strap passes through said second mounting ring and is folded back and secured to a second attachment section of said first elongated strap.

11. The kneepad of claim 10, wherein said first end of said elongated strap comprises a first surface of minute hooks and said first attachment section comprises a surface of uncut pile, said first surface of minute hooks operable to secure to said first surface of uncut pile, and said second end of said elongated strap comprises a second surface of minute hooks and said second attachment are comprises a surface of uncut pile, said second surface of minute hooks operable to secure to said second surface of uncut pile.

12. The kneepad of claim 10, wherein said first end of said elongated strap has a first snap section defined thereon and said first attachment section of said elongated strap has a second snap section defined thereon, and said second end of said elongated strap has a first snap section defined thereon and said second attachment section of said elongated strap has a second snap section defined thereon.

13. The kneepad of claim 10, wherein said first end of said elongated strap has at least one hole defined thereon and said first attachment section of said elongated strap has a buckle defined thereon, and said second end of said elongated strap has at least one hole defined thereon and said second attachment section of said elongated strap has a buckle defined thereon.

14. The kneepad of claim 2, wherein said elongated strap is not permanently attached to said base.

15. The kneepad of claim 1, wherein a first end of said elongated strap comprises a first snap section and said mounting system comprises a second snap section, said first snap section operable to secure to said second snap section.

16. The kneepad of claim 1, wherein said mounting system has a buckle defined thereon and a first end of said elongated strap has at least one hold defined thereon, said first end of said elongated strap operable to secure to said buckle.

17. A method for securing a protective kneepad to a knee of a user comprising: providing a kneepad comprising: a base; a first mounting ring attached to said base; a second mounting ring attached to said base; an elongated strap removably attached to said first and second mounting rings, said elongated strap securing said base to a leg of said user in position over said knee; placing said base over said knee of said user; placing said elongated strap behind said knee of said user; wrapping a first end of said elongated strap around said knee and inserting said first end into said first mounting ring; wrapping a second end of said first elongated strap around said knee and inserting said second end into said second mounting ring; pulling said first and second ends of said first elongated strap through said first and second mounting rings to obtain a desired tension between said kneepad and said knee; securing said kneepad against said knee.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein the step of securing said kneepad against said knee comprises: securing said first and second ends of said first elongated strap to each other to secure said kneepad against said knee.

19. The method of claim 17, wherein the step of securing said kneepad against said knee comprises: folding back said first end of said first elongated strap to secure said first end to said first elongated strap; and folding back said second end of said first elongated strap to secure said second end to said first elongated strap to secure said kneepad against said knee.

20. The method of claim 17, further comprising: wherein said kneepad further comprises: a third mounting ring attached to said base; a fourth mounting ring attached to said base; and a second elongated strap removably attached to said third and fourth mounting rings, said second elongated strap securing said base to said leg of said user in position over said knee placing said second elongated strap behind said knee of said user; wrapping a first end of said second elongated strap around said knee and inserting said first end into said third mounting ring; wrapping a second end of said second elongated strap around said knee and inserting said second end into said fourth mounting ring; pulling said first and second ends of said second elongated strap through said third and fourth mounting rings to obtain a desired tension between said kneepad and said knee; securing said kneepad against said knee.

21. The method of claim 20, wherein the step of securing said kneepad against said knee comprises: securing said first and second ends of said second elongated strap to each other to secure said kneepad against said knee.

22. The method of claim 20, wherein the step of securing said kneepad against said knee comprises: folding back said first end of said second elongated strap to secure said first end to said second elongated strap; and folding back said second end of said second elongated strap to secure said second end to said second elongated strap to secure said kneepad against said knee.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present patent document claims the benefit of the filing date under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) of Provisional U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. 60/527,851, filed Dec. 8, 2003, the entire contents of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND

Historically, to prevent knee injuries during physical activity that requires being in a kneeling position, a user would wear a protective kneepad over the front of their knee. Traditional protective kneepads normally include some type of rigid cap secured against the front of a knee by some type of strap that surrounds the knee and leg of the user.

These traditional protective kneepads, however, suffer from a number of deficiencies. For example, traditional kneepads are often designed to have a strap assembly that is permanently fixed to the protective kneepad. This design limits the life of the kneepad due to the fact the entire kneepad must be replaced once a portion of the strap assembly becomes worn or breaks. Additionally, this design creates problems in that a designer must design a strap assembly for the protective kneepad that can comfortably surround a number of different sized knees and legs for various users.

BRIEF SUMMARY

It is therefore desirable to have a strap assembly for a protective kneepad that can be easily adjusted to surround a number of different sized knees and legs for various users, and provides a way to replace a portion of the strap assembly should it become worn or break. The present invention is directed at correcting these deficiencies in the prior art.

In one aspect of the invention, a kneepad includes a base, a first and second mounting ring attached to the base, and an elongated strap removably attached to the first and second mounting rings. During use, the base is placed over a knee of user. The elongated strap is placed behind the knee of the user and a first end of the elongated strap is wrapped around the knee and inserted into the first mounting ring. A second end of the elongated strap is then wrapped around the knee and inserted into the second mounting ring. The first and second ends of the elongated strap are pulled through the first and second mounting rings to obtain a desired tension between the kneepad and the knee. Once the desired tension is obtained, the kneepad is secured to the knee.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a first embodiment of a kneepad having a sling strap system showing the ends of the sling strap system open in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2A is a perspective view of the kneepad of FIG. 1 showing the ends of the sling strap system closed;

FIG. 2B is a perspective view of a second embodiment of a kneepad having a sling strap system showing the ends of the sling strap system closed;

FIG. 3 is a side view of the kneepad of FIG. 1 showing the ends of the sling strap system open;

FIG. 4A is a side view of the kneepad of FIG. 1 showing the ends of the sling strap system closed;

FIG. 4B is a right perspective view of the kneepad of FIG. 3 showing the ends of the sling strap system closed;

FIG. 5 is a back view of the kneepad of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6A is a front view of a first embodiment of an elongated strap to be used with the sling strap system and kneepad of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6B is a rear view of the embodiment of the elongated strap of FIG. 6A;

FIG. 6C is a front view of a second embodiment of an elongated strap to be used with the sling strap system and the kneepad of FIG. 2B;

FIG. 7 is a front view of an embodiment of a D-ring to be used with the sling strap system of FIGS. 1-6;

FIG. 8 is a front view of the D-ring shown in FIG. 7 in communication with the elongated strap of FIGS. 6A-B; and

FIG. 9 is a front view of the D-ring shown in FIG. 7 in communication with the elongated strap of FIG. 6C.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PRESENTLY PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

As shown in FIG. 1, a kneepad 102 to protect a knee of a user generally includes a flexible base 104, a rigid cap 106, and a strap assembly 108. Preferably, the flexible base 104 is made of a padded fabric with an elastomeric or silicone interior.

The rigid cap 106 is preferably a rigid plastic such as PVC, but any rigid material could be used. In one embodiment, the rigid cap 106 may be permanently attached to the flexible base 104 by ways known in the art such as sewing the rigid cap 106 to the flexible base 104 or gluing the rigid cap 106 to the flexible base 104. In other embodiments, the rigid cap 106 may be removably attached to the flexible base 104 by ways known in the art such that different sized rigid caps 106 or rigid caps 106 made of different materials could be used with the same kneepad 102.

In general, a user places the flexible base 104 containing the rigid cap 106 over the knee such that the rigid cap 106 covers the front of the knee. Once the flexible base 104 and the rigid cap 106 are in a desired position, the user secures the kneepad 102 to the knee by wrapping the strap assembly 108 around the leg.

As shown in FIGS. 1-5, the kneepad 102 may contain at least one, but preferably two, sling strap systems 110 to secure the kneepad 102 to a leg of a user in position over the knee. The sling strap system 110 generally includes an elongated strap 128, 128′, a first mounting ring 114 attached to the flexible base 104, and a second mounting ring 116 attached to the flexible base 104. The mounting rings 114, 116 may be any type of ring such as a D-ring or square-ring that is capable of mounting the ends of the elongated strap 128, 128′. A D-ring is a mounting ring that is flat on one side and curved on the opposite side. Preferably, the first and second mounting rings 114, 116 are located on an upper portion 115 of the flexible base 104 or a lower portion 117 of the flexible base 104, but the mounting rings 114, 116 may be located on any portion of the flexible base 104.

As shown in FIGS. 6A-C, the elongated strap 128, 128′ of the sling strap system 110 generally includes two straps 112, 112′ attached or sewn to a padded area 120 so as to define a first end 118 and a second end 122. The padded area 120 is preferably made of a soft elastomeric material, but any material could be used that does not cause discomfort to a user during use of the kneepad 102. Further, the padded area 120 is preferably ergonomically shaped to increase comfort to the user of the kneepad 102.

In a first embodiment of the elongated strap 128 shown in FIGS. 6A-B, the free ends 118, 122 of the straps 112 includes a surface of minute hooks 133 while the padded area 120 of the elongated strap 128 and a portion of the first and second straps 112 includes a first and second attachment area 136, 138 having surfaces of uncut pile. The elongated strap 128 is designed such that when the free ends 118, 122 of the straps 112 are folded back against the padded area 120, the surface of minute hooks 133 will engage the surfaces of uncut pile 136, 138, thereby securing the free end of one of the straps 112 against the padded area 120 and securing the free end of the other strap 112 against the padded area 120.

In a second embodiment of the elongated strap 128′ shown in FIG. 6C, a free end 118′ of one strap 112′A and a free end 122′ of the other strap 112′B make up a hook and loop fastening system, but any fastening system could be used. In the second embodiment, the free end 118′ of one of the straps 112′A includes a surface of minute hooks on an outer side while the second end 122′ of the other strap 112′B includes a surface of uncut pile on an inner side. The elongated strap 128′ is designed such that when the free end 118′ of one strap 112′A is folded towards the free end 122′ of the other strap 112′B, the surface of minute hooks will engage the surface of uncut pile and securely hold the free ends 118′, 122′ together.

Preferably, the elongated strap 128, 128′ is not permanently attached to the kneepad 102 so that the elongated strap 128, 128′ may be removed from the kneepad 102 and replaced if a elongated strap breaks or wears out so that the entire kneepad 102 does not have to be replaced. Additionally, the elongated strap 128, 128′ is preferably available in various lengths to accommodate the different leg sizes of different users.

During operation, as shown in FIGS. 3-5, a user places the flexible base 104 containing the rigid cap 106 over the front of his or her knee. The padded area 120 of the elongated strap 128, 128′ is placed behind the knee of the user while a free end 122, 122′ of one strap 112, 112′ is wrapped around the leg of the user and inserted through the first mounting ring 114 on the flexible base 104. As shown in FIG. 1, the same end 122, 122′ is pulled through the first mounting ring 114 such that the end 122, 122′ moves from an outside portion 124 of the kneepad 102 towards an inner portion 126 of the kneepad 102.

FIG. 7 illustrates an enlarged view of the first mounting ring 114 located on the flexible base 104 without any elongated straps from a sling strap assembly 110. FIG. 8 illustrates how, in the first embodiment of the sling strap system 110, the free end 122 of one 112 strap of FIGS. 6A-B is inserted through the first mounting ring 114 and folded back on the attachment area 138 to secure the same end to the first mounting ring 114. FIG. 9 illustrates how, in the second embodiment of the sling strap system 110, the free end 122′ of one strap 112′B of FIG. 6C is inserted through the first mounting ring 114 and the other free end 118′ of the strap 112′A is inserted through the second mounting ring 116. The free ends 118′, 122′ of the straps 112′A, 112′B are then secured to each other to secure the elongated strap 128′ to the first and second mounting rings 114, 116.

Referring again to FIGS. 3-5, as with the free end 122, 122′ of one strap 112, 112′B, the free ends 118, 118′ of the other straps 112, 112′A are wrapped around the leg of the user and inserted through the second mounting ring 116 on the flexible base 104 such that the other ends 118, 118′ move from the outside portion 124 of the kneepad 102 towards the inner portion 126 of the kneepad 102.

The free ends 118, 118′ of the straps 112, 112′A and the free ends 122, 122′ of the other straps 112, 112′B are pulled through the first and second mounting rings 114, 116 to force the kneepad against the leg of the user in position over the front of the knee of the user and to force the padded areas 120 of the elongated strap 128, 128′ against the back of the knee. In a first embodiment of the sling strap system shown in FIGS. 2A, 3, and 4A, once a desired tension is achieved between the kneepad 102 and the knee of the user, the first end 118 of one strap 112 is folded back and secured against the first attachment area 136 while the end 122 of the other strap 112 is folded back and secured against the second attachment area 138, thereby securing one end of the kneepad 102 to the knee of the user. For kneepads containing more than one sling strap system 110, this process is repeated for each elongated strap 128.

In a second embodiment shown in FIGS. 2B and 4B, once the desired tension is achieved between the kneepad 102 and the knee of the user, the free ends 118′, 122′ of the straps 112′A, 112′B are secured to each other in front of the kneepad 102, thereby securing one end of the kneepad 102 to the knee of the user.

In other embodiments, in alternative to the mounting rings 114, 116, other mounting device/systems may be provided on the flexible base 104 and/or the elongated strap 128, 128′ such as hook and loop fastening systems, snaps, fabric loops, buckles, or other means. For example, in embodiments using a snap, the free ends of the elongated strap could make up a snap fastener; a free end of the strap and a mounting area of the flexible base could make up a snap fastener; or a free end of a strap and a first attachment area of an elongated strap could make up a snap fastener. Similarly, in embodiments using a buckle, the free ends of the strap could make up a buckle; a free end of the strap and a mounting area of the flexible base could make up a buckle; or a free end of the strap and a first attachment area of the strap could make up a buckle.

It is therefore intended that the foregoing detailed description be regarded as illustrative rather than limiting, and that it be understood that it is the following claims, including all equivalents, that are intended to define the spirit and scope of this invention.