Title:
Lower leg pillow
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A lower leg pillow separates a person's legs and prevents the knees and ankles from touching. The lower leg pillow has a resilient pillow body within a covering. The symmetric resilient pillow body supports and separates the knees and ankles. The body has opposite first and second ends with a waist between the ends, connected by a continuous rim. A top and an opposite bottom have the rim as their perimeter. The covering fits snugly upon the pillow body. In use, a person has the lower leg pillow with the first end between their knees and the second end between their ankles thus separating the legs and aligning the spine during sleep.



Inventors:
Hunter, Steven C. (St. Louis, MO, US)
Application Number:
10/864150
Publication Date:
12/15/2005
Filing Date:
06/09/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/632
International Classes:
A47C17/86; A47C20/00; A47C20/02; (IPC1-7): A47C17/86
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SPAHN, GAY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CHARLES C. MCCLOSKEY (TOWN & COUNTRY, MO, US)
Claims:
1. An orthopedic pillow for separating the legs of a person resting in a lateral position comprises: a resilient pillow body, said body having a generally symmetric shape upon the longitudinal and lateral axes, a first end and an opposite second end, a waist between said first end and said second end, a planar top and mutually parallel and spaced apart planar bottom, an outer rim continuously connecting said first end, said second end, and said waist located generally midway between said top and said bottom; and, a covering fitting snugly upon said body; whereby a person places said pillow between their legs with said first end between their knees and said second end between their ankles thus separating the legs and aligning the spine during sleep.

2. The orthopedic pillow of claim 1 wherein said first end and said second end have a curvature suitable for grasping by a person's feet.

3. The orthopedic pillow of claim 1 wherein an inner perimeter connects said top to an edge connecting to said outer rim and an inner perimeter connects said bottom to an edge connecting to said bottom.

4. The orthopedic pillow of claim 3 wherein said edge is selected from the group consisting of rounded, semi-circular, or elliptical.

5. The orthopedic pillow of claim 3 wherein said edge is selected from the group consisting of square, beveled, or pointed.

6. The orthopedic pillow of claim 1 further comprising: said waist having narrower width than said first end and said second end.

7. The orthopedic pillow of claim 6 wherein said pillow body has a generally dog bone shape.

8. The orthopedic pillow of claim 1 wherein said pillow body is selected from the group consisting of foam, spun polyester fill, down, and cotton.

9. A method of separating the legs of a person during sleep comprising: a) shaping a pillow for grasping by feet and for spanning between the knees and the ankles of a person; b) placing said pillow within a covering; and, c) locating said pillow between the knees and ankles of a person, whereby the feet grasp and hold said pillow in position while sleeping thus, a person has their legs separated to permit the spine to align during sleep.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The lower leg pillow relates generally to house wares or bed linens, and more specifically to pillows that separate the legs of a sleeping person. Upright, a person has their legs separated for sitting, standing, or walking and the knees and ankles do not contact each other. Reclining on the side, a person has one leg rest upon the other. With the legs together, the ankles and knees contact each other and form pressure points. The bony nature of the ankles and knees rubs the skin upon those joints potentially causing abrasion for people in lengthy stays at hospitals, nursing homes, or other long term care facilities.

Over many years, people have used pillows to support their legs during sleep. People place regular rectangular pillows between their knees and ankles to separate their legs. The softness of regular pillows allows them to compress when placed between legs. Compressed pillows permit the legs to rotate the pelvis and misalign the spine. Alas, movement during sleep dislodges the regular pillows and the knees and ankles rub each other.

Further with the legs together, the pelvis rotates and misaligns the spine. The upper leg, furthest from a bed, rotates downward and rests upon the lower leg. For the upper ankle to reach the lower ankle, the pelvis rotates towards the feet. Normally, people move during sleep to reduce pressure and minimize abrasion at the knees and the ankles. However, people may have medical conditions that limit their ability to support their body. A stable cushioned support between the knees and the ankles maintains proper leg alignment reducing stress on skin, joints, and musculature.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART

As all people sleep, those with skeletal and other conditions desire restful sleep. People have sought pillows and supports of many kinds for the lower legs.

For example, body pillows allow people to embrace a support and pads cushion individual joints. However during sleep, people may release their grasp on a body pillow and pads may turn away the cushioning from the joint. Pillows and adaptations of pillows are known in the prior art.

The patent to Smith, H. H., No. 2,720,660, shows a pillow construction of a flexible material within a covering. As in the present invention, this pillow has two widths suitable for different body parts and a covering upon foam. Differing from the present invention, this pillow has ends of different widths, straight sides, and the ability to fold in half lengthwise. In general, this pillow supports the shoulders, neck and head but may be manipulated to support the knees and ankles.

The patent to McCullough, No. 3,327,330 has an L shaped pillow with pivoting wings. Unlike the present invention, this pillow has two wings that pivot upon seamed joints to alter and to reduce the shape of the pillow. The pillow also has an intended use to support the head and the neck but makes little mention of supporting the lower legs.

The patent to Hofstetter, No. 4,624,021, shows a cushion like support for use by sleeping people. Similar to the present invention, this support has a wider section that separates the knees and the ankles, foam cushioning, and a removable cover. Unlike the present invention, this support has a narrow neck extending away from the wider portion used below the knees, a pointed end opposite the neck, and a straight side for contact with the torso of a sleeping person. Generally, this support extends for approximately the length of a recumbent person asleep.

The patent to Avery, No. 4,794,657, shows a three part pillow combination. Like the present invention, this pillow combination has a leg pillow possibly for separating the knees and ankles. Unlike the present invention, this pillow combination has pillow sections joined by male pins inserted into female sockets, generally rectangular shaped sections, and a narrow leg pillow. This combination supports main parts of the body but does not focus upon the lower legs.

Then the patent to Mintz, No. 5,497,519, has an inflatable pillow for supporting the legs of a sleeping person. As in the present invention, this pillow supports the legs to straighten the spine and has a location between the knees and the ankles. In contrast to the present invention, this pillow has inflatable chambers, rounded corners forming a generally rectangular shape, and a length greater than the distance from a knee to an ankle. This inflatable pillow provides for an adjustable separation of legs to assist a person in sleeping on their side.

The patent to Kelly, No. 6,052,848, shows a generally U shaped pillow for the length of a person. As in the present invention, this pillow supports the legs when folded. In contrast to the present invention, this pillow can surround a person, has a generally constant width and thickness, and has a strap with hook and loop fasteners to secure the wings of this pillow. The present invention differs distinctly from this pillow.

The patent to Jamvold et al., No. D471,750, shows a butterfly shaped pillow. This pillow has two symmetric ends with a narrow waist and a band upon the waste but no description of the perimeter edge of the pillow. In contrast, the present invention has a wider waste, no centered band, and a shaped edge.

The present invention overcomes the difficulties of dislodging the pillow during sleep, knees and ankles causing pressure points, and abrasion and risk of ulceration at low leg joints. The present invention has a particular size to fit from the knees to the ankles, single piece construction, and no inflation required.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Generally, the present invention provides a lower leg pillow that separates a person's legs and prevents the knees and ankles from contacting each other. The lower leg pillow separates the legs of a person resting upon their side using a resilient pillow body within a covering. The resilient pillow body supports and separates the knees and ankles from one another. Symmetric in length and width, the resilient pillow body has opposite first and second ends with a waist between the ends. A rim continuously connects the ends and the waist. A top and an opposite bottom have the rim upon their perimeter. The top and the bottom have a generally flat shape and are spaced apart and parallel. Secondly, the covering fits snugly upon the pillow body and rounds any edges of the pillow body. A person places the lower leg pillow between their legs with the first end between their knees and the second end between their ankles for their feet to grasp thus separating the legs and aligning the spine during sleep.

There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, the more important features of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof that follows may be better understood and that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated.

The invention may also include curved ends, shaping of the rim as round or beveled, and various materials used as the pillow body. Additional features of the invention will be described hereinafter and which will form the subject matter of the claims attached.

Numerous objects, features and advantages of the present invention will be readily apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art upon a reading of the following detailed description of the presently preferred, but nonetheless illustrative, embodiment of the present invention when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. Before explaining the current embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

One object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved lower leg pillow.

Another object is to provide a lower leg pillow that can be easily and efficiently manufactured and marketed to the consuming public.

Another object is to provide a lower leg pillow with rounded tapered ends for feet to grasp.

Another object is to provide a lower leg pillow retained between the legs during movement while a person sleeps.

A further object is to provide a lower leg pillow that separates the legs of a sleeping person, stabilizes the pelvis, and thus straightens the spine when a person sleeps on their side.

These together with other objects of the invention, along with the various features of novelty that characterize the invention, are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming a part of this disclosure. For a better understanding of the invention, its operating advantages and the specific objects attained by its uses, reference should be had to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which there is illustrated a preferred embodiment of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows the preferred embodiment of the lower leg pillow in use by a person sleeping upon their side;

FIG. 2 shows a plan view of the preferred embodiment of the lower leg pillow having a dog-bone like shape constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention;

FIG. 3 shows a sectional view longitudinally of the lower leg pillow with a beveled edge;

FIG. 4 shows a sectional view laterally of the lower leg pillow through an end with a beveled edge;

FIG. 5 shows a sectional view laterally of the lower leg pillow through the waist with a beveled edge;

FIG. 6 shows a sectional view longitudinally of the lower leg pillow with a round edge;

FIG. 7 shows a sectional view laterally of the lower leg pillow through an end with a round edge; and,

FIG. 8 shows a sectional view laterally of the lower leg pillow through the waist with a round edge.

The same reference numerals refer to the same parts throughout the various figures.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The present art overcomes the prior art limitations by providing a lower leg pillow symmetrically supporting both knees and ankles of a person. As a person tires or begins sleeping, a person reclines upon a bed as shown in FIG. 1. Commonly a person 2 sleeps upon their side with one leg 3, the lower leg 3a, in contact with the bed and the other leg 3, the upper leg 3b, in contact with the lower leg 3a. Placed between the legs 3, the present invention separates and cushions the knees 12 and ankles 13. Properly separated knees 12 and ankles 13 place the upper leg 3 in a plane parallel with the plane of the lower leg 3. With the two legs 3 in parallel planes, the pelvis is perpendicular to both planes and the spine straightens.

Used between the knees 12 and the ankles 13, the present invention appears in FIG. 2. The lower leg 3 pillow 1 has a covering 11 upon a body 4. The covering 11 is removable for laundering and generally smoothes the edges 16 of the body 4. The covering 11 has a zipper, or other closure to allow placement of the pillow body 4 within the covering 11. The body 4 has a generally dog bone shape with two opposite ends 5, 6: a first end 5 and a second end 6. Midway between the first end 5 and the second end 6, the body 4 has a waist 7 generally narrower than the first end 5 and the second end 6. Upon the perimeter, the body 4 has a rim 10 defining the outermost edge of the present invention. Within the rim 10, the body 4 has a top 8 of dog bone shape of lesser dimension than the rim 10 and perpendicular to the rim 10. The body 4 is symmetric upon the longitudinal and lateral axes.

The first end 5 and the second end 6 have a curvature 14 or generally round shape suitable for gripping by feet. With the present invention in place during sleep, a person's 2 feet remain in contact with the second end 6. The shape of the second end 6 permits the feet of an unconscious person 2 to grip the present invention holding it in place between the knees 12 and the ankles 13.

Turning to FIG. 3, the body 4 has a top 8 and an opposite bottom 9. At the limits of the top 8 and the bottom 9, the body 4 has an inner perimeter 15 that follows the outer rim 10. The inner perimeter 15 is inset from the outer rim 10. The first end 5 and the second end 6 have similar edges 16. Between the outer rim 10 and the inner perimeters 15 of the top 8 and the bottom 9, the first and second ends 5, 6 have a beveled edge 16, at approximately forty five degrees to the plane of the top 8. The beveled edge 16 is a planar surface connecting the inner perimeter 15 to the outer rim 10. The beveled edges 16 are symmetric between the top 8 and the bottom 9, and the first end 5 and the second end 6. With the beveled edges 16, the lower leg 3 pillow 1 has a generally octagonal shaped cross section.

At the end shown in FIG. 4, the body 4 continues the top 8 and the bottom 9 surfaces. The top 8 and bottom 9 have an inner perimeter 15 inset from the outer rim 10. A beveled edge 16 connects the outer rim 10 to the inner perimeter 15 in a generally octagonal shape. At an end, the lower leg 3 pillow 1 is symmetric from top 8 to bottom 9, and left to right.

Between the ends 5, 6, the waist 7 has a narrower cross section. The top 8 and bottom 9 continue but more narrow. The inner perimeters 15 define the limits again of the top 8 and the bottom 9. Then a beveled edge 16 connects the inner perimeter 15 to the outer rim 10. In a sectional view, the waist 7 also has a generally octagonal shape.

An alternate embodiment now appears in FIGS. 6, 7, 8. Turning to FIG. 6, lengthwise, the body 4 pillow 1 has a top 8 and an opposite bottom 9. At the extent of the top 8 and the bottom 9, the lower leg 3 pillow 1 has two inner perimeters 15 that follow the outer rim 10. The inner perimeter 15 is inset from the outer rim 10. The first end 5 and the second end 6 have similar edge conditions 16. Between the outer rim 10 and the inner perimeters 15 of the top 8 and the bottom 9, the first and second ends 5, 6 have a round edge 16. The round edge 16 is a semi-circular surface connecting the inner perimeter 15 of the top 8 through the outer rim 10 to the inner perimeter 15 of the bottom 9. The rounded edges 16 are symmetric between the top 8 and the bottom 9, and the first end 5 and the second end 6. The body 4 has a generally rectangular shaped cross section with round ends 5, 6.

At the end shown in FIG. 7, the lower leg 3 pillow 1 continues the top 8 and the bottom 9 surfaces. The top 8 and bottom 9 have an inner perimeter 15 inset from the outer rim 10. A rounded edge 16 connects the outer rim 10 to the inner perimeter 15 in a generally semi-circular shape. At an end, the lower leg 3 pillow 1 is symmetric from top 8 to bottom 9 and left to right.

Between the ends 5, 6, the waist 7 has a narrower cross section as shown in FIG. 8. The top 8 and bottom 9 continue narrower than at the ends 5, 6. The inner perimeters 15 define the extent of the top 8 and the bottom 9. Then a round edge 16 connects the inner perimeter 15 to the outer rim 10. In a sectional view, the waist 7 also has a generally rectangular shape with round ends 5, 6. Alternatively, the lower leg 3 pillow 1 has an elliptical shaped edge 16 connecting the top 8 and the bottom 9.

From the aforementioned description, a lower leg pillow has been described. The lower leg pillow is uniquely capable of separating a person's legs at the knees and ankles without dislodging during sleep. The lower leg pillow and its various components may be manufactured from many materials including but not limited to open and closed cell foam, down, polyester, polymers, polypropylene PP, polyvinyl chloride PVC, nylon, cotton and other textiles, and composites.

As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception, upon which this disclosure is based, may readily be utilized as a basis for the designing of other structures, methods and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. Therefore, the claims include such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and the scope of the present invention.