Title:
Device and method for foot hygiene and the prevention and treatment of infected feet
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A novel “open toes” garment or ribbon which “snakes” from toe cleft to toe cleft each optionally impregnated with a suitable medicament for example a deodorant or an antifungal agent to treat infected feet such as athlete's foot and a non-medicated open foot garment for prevention and non-reoccurrence of said infection is disclosed. The garment or ribbon act as toe cleft ventilators and toe separators.



Inventors:
Rosental-reis, Bat Sheva (Haifa, IL)
Reis, Daniel (Haifa, IL)
Application Number:
11/059721
Publication Date:
08/17/2006
Filing Date:
02/17/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A43B17/00; A41B11/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HOEY, ALISSA L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Professor Daniel Reis (HAIFA, IL)
Claims:
What we claim is:

1. An open sock (foot mitten) as described herein or ribbon which snakes from toe cleft to toe cleft, optionally impregnated with a suitable active medicament that is used for the treatment and prevention of foot ailments.

2. A foot mitten or ribbon according to claim 1 wherein the mitten or ribbon is made of a suitable moisture absorbing fabric of any thickness.

3. The fabric according to claim 2 is selected from paper, parchment, natural or synthetic fiber moisture absorbing material or any other moisture absorbing material.

4. A medicament according to claim 1 wherein the medicament is an active antifungal agent.

5. An open sock according to claim 1 optionally impregnated with a suitable medicament used for the treatment or prevention of foot ailments.

6. A ribbon according to claim 1 wherein the ribbon is optionally impregnated with a suitable medicament used for the treatment or prevention of foot ailments.

7. A therapeutic method of applying a suitable active medicament to the toe clefts of an infected foot wherein the active medicament is impregnated in an open sock or ribbon according to claim 1 which maintains constant and continual contact with person's toe clefts, comprising: wearing the open sock or applying the ribbon onto a user's toe clefts, the said sock or ribbon being fabricated from a moisture absorbing material and optionally impregnated with an active medicament.

8. A method according to claim 7 wherein said foot infection is characterized by athlete's foot exposing the Tinea pedis foot area by wearing the open sock or applying the ribbon between the toe clefts each of which is optionally impregnated with an active antifungal agent.

9. An active medicament delivery system to specific skin areas of the foot wherein the medicament impregnated in the open sock or ribbon according to claim 1 leaches out onto and into the skin areas in which it is in contact.

Description:

REFERENCES CITED

U.S. PUBLISHED Pat. APPLICATION DOCUMENTS
2001/00465514A1November 2001Loaiz
2004/0161452A1August 2004Petit
U.S. Pat. DOCUMENTS
4,865,844September 1989Blank et al
5,641,481June 1997Koniger
5,819,438October 1998Wanniarachchi

OTHER PUBLICATIONS

  • O'Braun-Falco et al, pp 219-246, Dermatology, Springer, Berlin 1991
  • Borko & Gabbay, The FASEB Journal express article 10. 1096. Published online Sep. 2, 2004.

1. FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to foot hygiene by ventilating and gently opening the toe clefts and the treatment and control of dermatomycosis and their pathogens, perspiration and body odor by applying a medicated delivery system to specific areas of the foot. In particular the method consists of treating an infected foot by wearing a novel open sock (foot mitten) or a toe snake ribbon, herein defined as ribbon, and optionally impregnated with a suitable active medicament such as for example an antifungal agent. The active medicament impregnated in the garment leaches out of the open sock or ribbon onto and into the skin with which it is in contact. Furthermore the method consists in the prevention of infection or recurrence by wearing the open sock or applying said ribbon that are not necessarily impregnated with an active medicament to ensure good feet hygiene between the toe clefts.

2. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a new medical garment. In particular the invention consists of a medicated toeless sock or pair of open socks or toe ribbon which snakes from toe cleft to toe cleft which are optionally impregnated with an active medicament such as for example anti-fungal agent or agents incorporated into the fabric of the foot mitten or mittens, that would be used to cure or prevent dermatomycosis such as, for example, athlete's foot (tinea pedis) and other similar foot ailments.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a reliable and durable medicated foot mitten or ribbon that may be easily manufactured and marketed and if desired may be manufactured for cosmetic purposes to promote foot hygiene.

The clefts between the toes are often moist and not ventilated because of the close proximity of the toes to one another. Furthermore the ventilation is considerably reduced by wearing socks and closed shoes or boots. This may cause in the presence of moisture an optimal culture medium for the rapid growth of bacteria and fungi. Vast numbers of people suffer from sweaty putrid feet with or without fungus infection, commonly occurring in the toe clefts (athlete's foot or tinea pedis. These infections are treated by applying antifungal powders, deodorants or creams containing a variety of active medicaments. Unfortunately, these infections have a tendency to frequently reoccur. Therefore there is a need for a method of treatment and prevention of infection involving treating the foot by means of a ventilated device that will keep the toe clefts dry to prevent infection and, when infection is present, a method delivering the active medicaments to the common site of the infection, namely the toe clefts.

The delivery system applied to the specific site should ideally, be continuous over time, whilst ventilation and moisture absorption occurs simultaneously. After curing the infected site there must be provided an ongoing prophylactic treatment, both by periodic preventive delivery of active medicaments and by long term prevention of moisture and ventilation in the toe clefts.

The open socks can be worn like ordinary socks for foot hygiene thus allowing the open socks to act as an anti-sweat agent eliminating repulsive odors and ventilation of toe clefts including anti-itching. The socks of the invention are manufactured from a suitable absorbent such as cotton and can be of cosmetic in appearance. The socks can be of any thickness depending on the amount of moisture resorbtion required or if required a suitable amount of active impregnated medicament to be delivered.

3. DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART

Dermatomycosis is an ailment widely spread and potentially psychologically highly adverse to the patient on account of their frequently cosmetic implications. Tinea pedis (“athlete's foot”) in particular may be termed a widespread dermatomycosis considered highly unpleasant. Its occurrence is estimated at 15 to 30% in Europe and North America. It is mainly caused by the ubiquitous dermatophytes, mostly trichophyton rubrum, trichophyton mentagrophytes and epidermophyton floccosum which invade and attack keratinized skin areas of the body, causing itching, maceration, cracking, and scaling of skin areas of the feet and other parts of the body. Furthermore it may spread to the toe nails (tinea unguium), to the hands (tinea manus) and to other body parts, and may be introduced together with bacterial infections and/or a fungal infection by means of candida, or a skin ailment, with a clinical appearance practically not different from tinea pedis, which also may extend to other body locations, and may be entirely caused by either or both of the last stated two infections. Very frequently this ailment is accompanied by bromidrosis (foul smelling perspiration) which is widely considered being caused by bacteria, and consequently raises a serious cosmetic problem. Predispositional factors in particular for tinea pedis are hyperidrosis (excessive sweating) and acrocyanosis (circulatory disorder in which the hands, and less commonly the feet, are persistently cold, blue, and sweaty.) which frequently is accompanied by local hyperidrosis. When untreated, the ailment is mostly chronic. However, even when treated by the presently available methods and observance of all required hygienic procedures, it is not often curable, and relapse, especially in the presence of the above cited predispositional factors, is frequent (for overview of present day treatments of dermatomycosis, see O'Braun-Falco et al, Dermatology, Springer, Berlin 1991, pp 219-246). Problems are also encounted when disinfecting wear, especially shoes. As a rule, solutions containing formaldehyde (formalin) are often recommended, which however, may trigger allergies and therefore cannot be considered an ideal resolution on account of the known health dangers of formaldehyde. Unpleasant body odors arises both from the elimination of foul smelling substances from the feet and other parts of the body as well as from the effects of bacteria and/or oxygen on substances eliminated from the body that initially were without or with little odor but which in the process are converted into strongly odorous decomposition products.

Odor formation can be controlled on the one hand by reducing or preventing the separation of the body's elimination products, in particular sweat. This results in a deodorizing effect. Odor formation may be controlled further by preventing already eliminated substances from producing a foul smell, in particular (a) eliminating the decomposing bacteria, (b) preventing oxygen from effectively reacting (oxidation) by conversion into olfactory components. There are a number of methods utilizing active anti-fungal agents that are formulated for topical application, such as undecylenic acid and tolnaftate to treat or prevent foot diseases such as tinea pedis.

Ventilated garments such as ventilated shoes are known from Wanniarachchi U.S. Pat. No. 5,819,438 describes a method for providing positive air ventilation for closed-toe shoes that consists of an air pump secured to the top of the shoe.

Petit's US Published Patent Application No. 2004/0161452 refers to a drug-dispensing dressing for administering a fluid containing an antifungal agent to a fungus infected nail on a toe or a finger. Petit's medicated dressing treats only the toe or finger nail fungus infections.

Loaiza's US Published Patent Application No. 2001/004514 describes and claims a medicated sock that has an anti-fungal medication impregnated into to a nylon-type sock and reduces or eliminates the time and effort needed when applying the antifungal medicament directly to the foot of a user. There is no toe-separating sock described or claimed therein. The sock is a complete sock that one can buy in any clothes shop that is impregnated with an antifungal agent to be worn underneath another outer sock. It is impossible that a complete sock can come into intimate contact with the toe clefts and thereby separate the toes, ventilate the toe clefts, and if required deliver the desired anti-fungal agent specifically to this site of maximal fungal infection. The use of nylon is inappropriate since a nylon fabric will tend to retain moisture instead of minimizing the dampness which is essential for treating sweaty, malodorous and/or tinea infected feet. It is obvious that Loaiza's medicated sock teaches away from our invention described herein.

Borkow's publication (Borkow et al; The FASEB Journal express article 10, 1096/fj.04-2029fje. (Published 2 Sep. 2004); discusses copper-impregnated garments with biocidal activities. Although it is mentioned that copper impregnated antifungal socks may alleviate the symptoms of athlete's foot are mentioned, these socks are just ordinary socks and not the toeless socks as described in our invention.

There are many different types of toe separators commercially available from Foot Care manufacturers. These are usually made of variously shaped pieces of soft silicon, felt or foam material that may be impregnated with soothing oils or aromatic substances. These are placed separately between the toes which chafe each other to prevent the interdigital friction. The toe separators are not garments and none have the function of the toeless sock of the present invention.

The inter-digital “snake” ribbon (FIG. 4) is different from all other garments or pieces of material which are used for ventilating, drying and medicinal delivery to the toe clefts (for example, pads, wedges, pledgelets, gauzes and cotton wool) in that it is specifically designed to remain stable and in position in the toe clefts without dislodgement particularly when socks are worn over the ribbon.

Furthermore the “snake” ribbon is applied by weaving in and out of the depths of the toe clefts. By making a double weave, to and fro, the entire surface of the toes come into contact with the ribbon material should this be desired for therapeutic treatment such as athlete's foot.

3. DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The terms “antimycotic agent” and “antifingal agent” are used interchangeably herein to mean any medicament that either kills or inhibits the growth of a pathogenic fungus infecting the toe clefts.

The terms “toeless or open sock” and “foot mitten” are used interchangeably and are understood to be the same foot garment. Furthermore the said sock may be a garment not covering the ankle as shown in FIG. 6 or may be an ankle open sock as shown in FIG. 8.

Other, objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become more readily apparent from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment when considered with the attached figures and appended claims.

With reference to FIG. 1.

The toe clefts (1) are normally potential spaces only since the toes lie close to one another. This is particularly true to inside footwear; here the toes are often even more approximated.

FIG. 2.

The foot mitten, in its short tarsal version (4), is a foot glove with toe extensions for each toe (3) reaching only to the interphalangal joints so as to leave the end of the toe with its nail exposed. The inter-toe webs of the mitten, when completely pulled on, by virtue of the thickness of the material, bring about a gentle spreading, separating, and ventilating of the toe cleft (2). The mitten is made of a suitable material such as for example, paper, parchment, natural or synthetic fiber material of various weaves that is moisture absorbing but not moisture retaining. The material is used as a disposable foot hygiene garment to prevent foot and interdigital sogginess, malodor and fungus infection. It is also used to treat tine pedis infections in the toe clefts and foot region, either in combination with various local and general active medicaments or, in an additional embodiment, as an impregnated version in which the anti-fungal agent has been previously impregnated into the material of the foot mitten.

FIG. 3.

The material in the toe clefts is thickened, or tiny pouch in the material is incorporated (5) in order to bring about a further separation of the toes to provide a better more copious reservoir for the medicament to be delivered specifically mainly to the toe clefts.

FIG. 4.

An embodiment of the concept of toe cleft hygiene, separation, and ventilation having the same function as those described above in FIG. 2. Instead of a foot mitten a round or flat ribbon which winds from toe cleft to cleft as shown (6), and is made of any material as herein described vide supra as used for the foot mitten.

FIG. 5.

The tarsal version (7) extends from the interphalangeal joints to the midfoot.

FIG. 6.

The heel inclusion version (8) has a dual purpose: (i) by including the heel to the foot mitten as shown in FIG. 1, the close approximation of the material of the mitten in the toe clefts is ensured by the stretching force on the toe clefts as the foot mitten is pulled backwards around the heel. Also this embodiment allows for treatment for the skin of the whole foot incase this is indicated by the extent of the fungal infection or other similar skin condition requiring the impregnated version. The foot mitten shown in FIG. 3 is equally applicable to the heel inclusion version.

FIGS. 7 and 8.

A further embodiment wherein the foot mitten as shown in FIG. 1 includes the ankle region (9) with the same functions (5) as those described above.

FIG. 9.

The “snake-like” ribbon (6) viewed from the side.

It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that changes could be made to the embodiments described above without departing from the broad invention concept thereof. It is understood, therefore, that this invention is not limited to the particular embodiments disclosed, but it is intended to cover modifications within the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.