Title:
Kneepad having an ergonomic notch
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A kneepad comprises a base, a rigid cap attached to the base, and a notch located on the base or rigid cap. The notch is configured to conform to a leg of the user to prevent the base and the rigid cap from changing position on the knee of the user during movement.



Inventors:
Cunningham, Ian W. (Matthews, NC, US)
Application Number:
10/972844
Publication Date:
06/09/2005
Filing Date:
10/25/2004
Assignee:
CUNNINGHAM IAN W.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D13/00; A41D13/06; (IPC1-7): A41D13/00; A41D13/06
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Primary Examiner:
PATEL, TAJASH D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Dennis J. Williamson (Research Triangle Park, NC, US)
Claims:
1. A kneepad for protecting a knee of a user comprising: a base; a rigid cap attached to said base; and a notch, located on said base or said rigid cap, configured to conform to a leg of said user to prevent said base and said rigid cap from changing position on said knee of said user during movement.

2. The kneepad of claim 1, further comprising a strap assembly connected to said base to secure said base to said leg of said user in position over said knee.

3. The kneepad of claim 1, wherein said notch is defined on a lower portion of said base.

4. The kneepad of claim 3, wherein said notch is contoured to at least partially surround a shin of said leg of said user.

5. The kneepad of claim 4, wherein said notch has a substantially trapezoidal shape.

6. The kneepad of claim 4, wherein said notch comprises three sides.

7. The kneepad of claim 6, wherein at least two of said three sides of said notch have equal lengths.

8. The kneepad of claim 7, wherein said length of said at least two of said at least three sides are less than or equal to a length of another of said three sides.

9. The kneepad of claim 1, wherein said notch comprises a thigh notch defined on an upper portion of said base.

10. The kneepad of claim 9, wherein said notch is contoured to at least partially surround a front thigh of said user.

11. The kneepad of claim 10, wherein said notch has an arcuate shape.

12. The kneepad of claim 1, wherein said notch is defined on said rigid cap.

13. The kneepad of claim 12, wherein said notch is defined on a lower portion of said rigid cap.

14. The kneepad of claim 13, further comprising a second notch defined on a lower portion of said base.

15. The kneepad of claim 14, wherein said notch has a shape substantially matching said second notch.

16. The kneepad of claim 15, wherein said notch is contoured such that as said user moves, a shin of said user will not disturb positioning of said kneepad over said knee.

17. The kneepad of claim 12, wherein said notch is defined on an upper portion of said rigid cap.

18. The kneepad of claim 17, wherein said notch is contoured such that as said user moves, a thigh of said user will not disturb said positioning of said kneepad over said knee.

19. The kneepad of claim 3, further comprising a second notch located on a lower portion of said rigid cap.

20. The kneepad of claim 19, wherein a shape of said notch substantially matches a shape of said second notch.

21. The kneepad of claim 19, further comprising a third notch located on an upper portion of said base.

22. The kneepad of claim 21, further comprising a fourth notch located on an upper portion of said rigid cap.

23. The kneepad of claim 22, wherein a shape of said fourth notch substantially matches a shape of said third notch.

24. The kneepad of claim 1, wherein said rigid cap is removably attached to said base.

25. A kneepad comprising: a base; a rigid cap attached to said base; and a notch configured to conform to a leg of a user and formed in portions of said kneepad selected from the group consisting of a lower portion of said base, an upper portion of said base, a lower portion of said rigid cap, and an upper portion of said rigid cap.

26. The kneepad of claim 25, wherein said notch prevents said flexible base and said rigid cap from changing position on said knee of said user during movement.

27. The kneepad of claim 26, further comprising a strap assembly, said strap assembly being connected to said base to secure said flexible base and said rigid cap to said leg of said user in position over said knee.

28. The kneepad of claim 25, wherein said rigid cap is removably attached to said flexible base.

29. A method for putting on a kneepad comprising: providing a kneepad comprising: a base; a rigid cap attached to said base; and a notch, located on said base or said rigid cap, configured to conform to a leg of said user to prevent said base and said rigid cap from changing position on said knee of said user during movement. placing said kneepad over a leg of a user such that said notch partially surrounds a shin or a thigh of said user; and securing said kneepad to said leg of said user.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present patent document claims the benefit of the filing date under 35 U.S.C. ยง119(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 includes 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, protective kneepads are often designed for use when a user is in a kneeling position only. This creates problems when a user wearing a protective kneepad must often move from a kneeling position to a standing position while performing an activity. The constant movement from a kneeling position to a standing position typically causes the kneepad over the front of a knee to move out of position due to the shin or thigh of the user coming into contact with the rigid cap portion of the protective kneepad. This movement of the protective kneepad causes discomfort to the user, and more seriously, increases the possibly of injury due to the fact that the protective kneepad may no longer protect the front of the knee.

BRIEF SUMMARY

It is therefore desirable to have a kneepad designed to remain stationary over the knee of a user when the user must move from a kneeling position to a standing position during a physical activity. The present invention is directed at correcting this deficiency in the prior art.

In one aspect of the invention, a kneepad may include a base, a rigid cap attached to the base, and a notch located on the base or rigid cap. The notch is configured to conform to a leg of the user to prevent the base and the rigid cap from changing position on the knee of the user during movement. More specifically, the notch is configured to prevent the shin or the thigh of the user from coming into contact with the rigid cap and to ease pressure on the knee while the user is standing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a kneepad having a shin notch, a rigid cap notch, and a thigh notch in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a planar front view of the kneepad of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3A is a planar bottom view of the kneepad of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3B is an enlarged view along line 3B of the bottom of the rigid cap of FIG. 3A;

FIG. 4 is a planar top view of the kneepad of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a planar rear view of the kneepad of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of a kneepad having a rigid cap notch in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a planar front view of the kneepad of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a planar bottom view of the kneepad of FIG. 6;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a third embodiment of a kneepad having a shin notch and a rigid cap notch in accordance with the present invention; and

FIG. 10 is a planar front view of the kneepad of FIG. 10.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PRESENTLY PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, a first embodiment of a kneepad 102 to protect a knee of a user 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 any way 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 any way 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.

As shown in FIG. 2, the flexible base 104 has a lower portion 116, a left portion 117, an upper portion 118, and a right portion 119. Preferably, the rigid cap 106 is positioned in the center of the flexible base 104 such that the rigid cap 106 is positioned directly over the front of the knee of the user, but the rigid cap 106 may also be positioned offset from the center of the flexible base 104, towards the lower portion 116, left portion 117, upper portion 118, or right portion 119 of the flexible base 104.

In general, a user places the flexible base 104, including 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 using the strap assembly 108 around the leg.

Preferably, as shown in FIG. 1, the strap assembly 108 generally includes an elongated strap 124 having a first end 126 attached to the flexible base 104. A second end 128 of the elongated strap 124 includes a surface of minute hooks 130 that contacts one or more surfaces of uncut pile 132 to secure the kneepad 102 when the elongated strap 124 is wrapped around a leg of a user. In other embodiments, any type of strap assembly 108 known in the art could be used to secure the kneepad 102.

As shown in FIGS. 1-5, in a first embodiment of the current invention, the kneepad 102 includes at least one notch defined in the flexible base 104 or the rigid cap 106 to prevent the kneepad 102 from changing position on a leg of a user during movement. The notch may be a shin notch 110, a thigh notch 112, a lower rigid cap notch 113, or an upper rigid cap notch 115.

The shin notch 110 is preferably located on the lower portion 116 of the flexible base 104. The shin notch 110 has a generally trapezoidal shape having a first side 134, a second side 136, and a third side 138. The shin notch 110 is contoured such that the flexible base 104 may conform to the lower leg of a user below the knee. Preferably, as the kneepad 102 surrounds the front of the knee of the user, the shin notch 110 partially surrounds and embraces the shin of the user in such a manner that the kneepad 102 is securely positioned on the knee of the user. In particular, the first and third sides 134, 138 of the shin notch 110 embrace the sides of the shin of the user while the second side 136 of the shin notch 110 partially surrounds the front of the shin of the user. This positioning and design increases comfort to the user during use.

Preferably, the first and third sides 134, 138 of the shin notch 110 are equal in length, but the first and third sides 134, 138 of the shin notch 110 may also have different lengths. Further, the first and third sides 134, 138 of the shin notch 110 may have the same or different lengths than the second side 136 of the shin notch 110.

During use, the shin notch 110 serves to ease pressure above the knee created by the upper portion 118 of the kneepad 102 when a user is standing. In other embodiments, the shin notch 110 may be arcuate or any other shape that allows the flexible base 104 to embrace the sides of the user's shin such that the kneepad 102 is securely positioned on the user's knee.

The thigh notch 112 is preferably located on the upper portion 118 of the flexible base 104. The thigh notch 112 is typically an arcuate shape, but the thigh notch 112 can also be other shapes such as trapezoidal. Preferably, the thigh notch 112 is contoured such that the flexible base 104 may partially surround and embrace the user's front thigh above their knee to prevent the kneepad 102 from shifting position or causing the user discomfort when a user is in a standing position or changing positions between a kneeling position and a standing position.

In particular, a first and third portion of the curve 140, 144 of the thigh notch 112 embrace the sides of the thigh of the user while a second portion of the curve 142 of the thigh notch 112 partially surrounds the front of the thigh of the user. This positioning allows the kneepad 102 to surround the front of the knee of the user without causing the user discomfort when the user is in a standing position or is changing positions between a kneeling position and a standing position.

In each of the embodiments shown in FIGS. 1-8, two rigid cap notches 113, 115 are utilized. The lower rigid cap notch 113 is located on a lower portion 120 of the rigid cap 106, and the upper rigid cap notch 115 is located on an upper portion 122 of the rigid cap 106. Some embodiments may only contain one of the lower and upper rigid cap notches 113, 115.

Preferably, the lower rigid cap notch 113 is contoured such that as a user moves, the shin of the user will not disturb the positioning of the kneepad 102 over the knee. As shown in FIG. 3B, the lower rigid cap notch 113 is preferably angled so that as the kneepad 102 moves forward when a user is in a standing position, the rigid cap 106 will not come in contact with the knee or shin of the user. Typically, the shape of the lower rigid cap notch 113 generally matches the shape of the corresponding shin notch 110 located on the lower portion 116 of the flexible base 104. Therefore, as seen in the first embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-5, both the lower rigid cap notch 113 and the shin notch 110 are generally trapezoidal in shape.

Preferably, the upper rigid cap notch 115 is contoured such that as a user moves, the knee or thigh of the user will not disturb the positioning of the kneepad 102 over the knee. Typically, the shape of the upper rigid cap notch 115 generally matches the shape of the corresponding thigh notch 112 located on the upper portion 118 of the flexible base 104. Therefore, as seen in the first embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-5, both the upper rigid cap notch 115 and the thigh notch 112 are generally arcuate in shape.

As shown in FIGS. 6-10, other embodiments may include different combinations of the shin notch 110, thigh notch 112, lower rigid cap notch 113, and upper rigid cap notch 115. For example, as shown in FIGS. 6-8, the embodiment of FIGS. 1-5 may be altered so as to only contain the upper and lower rigid cap notches 113, 115. Additionally, as shown in FIGS. 9-10, the embodiments of FIGS. 1-5 may be altered so as to only contain the shin notch 110 and the lower rigid cap notch 113. Furthermore, in each of the embodiments of FIGS. 1-10, extra padding could be added to the shin notch 110 and the thigh notch 112 in order to further improve the comfort level.

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.