Title:
Proprioception enhancement bands
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention is a band that improves proprioception. The band comprises a soft covering and a tension-creating device. The tension-creating device puts pressure on the skin and improves the awareness of the user of the position of their body. The band is placed over the muscle group that an improvement in proprioception is desired. The preferred placement is over the belly of a muscle in the muscle group. The preferred tension-creating device comprises two to twenty elastic rings. Other versions have the band attached to a shirt or other article of clothing.



Inventors:
Toronto, Brian (Arnold, MD, US)
Application Number:
11/405137
Publication Date:
02/08/2007
Filing Date:
04/17/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B23/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MATHEW, FENN C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mr. Brian Toronto (Arnold, MD, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A proprioception enhancement band comprising a tension-creating device that is placed on the body of a user around a muscle group that an improvement in proprioception is desired so that the user experiences improved proprioception.

2. The proprioception enhancement band of claim 1 where the band is attached to an article of clothing.

3. The proprioception enhancement band of claim 1 where the band is attached to a shirt.

4. The proprioception enhancement band of claim 1 where the band comprises a tension-creating device with a soft covering.

5. The proprioception enhancement band of claim 4 where the band has an opening with two ends, with a fastener on one end and a corresponding fastener on the other end, that allows the band to be placed around a muscle group and then the opening is closed by reversibly attaching the fastener to the corresponding fastener, securing the band to the muscle group.

6. The proprioception enhancement band of claim 5 where the fastener is a fastener selected from the group consisting of statistical fasteners, hook and loop fasteners, snaps, ties, or buttons.

7. The proprioception enhancement band of claim 1 where the tension-creating device is made of a ring of material selected from the group consisting of elastic, rubber, string, or cloth.

8. The proprioception enhancement band of claim 1 where the tension is created by the combination of more than one tension creating devices.

9. The proprioception enhancement band of claim 1 where the tension is created by a rib that projects within the band.

10. The proprioception enhancement band of claim 1 where the tension of the band is such that the band is one to two inches smaller in diameter than the muscle group the band is fitted over.

11. The proprioception enhancement band of claim 1 where the number of tension-creating devices is two to twenty.

12. A proprioception enhancement band comprising: A tension-creating device; A covering for the tension-creating device; So that the proprioception enhancement band is placed around the belly of the muscles that improvement in proprioception is desired so that the user experiences improved proprioception.

13. The proprioception enhancement band of claim 12 where the tension-creating device is made of a ring of material selected from the group consisting of elastic, rubber, string, or cloth.

14. The proprioception enhancement band of claim 12 where the band is created by the combination of more than one tension-creating devices.

15. The proprioception enhancement band of claim 12 where the tension is created by a rib that projects within the band.

16. The proprioception enhancement band of claim 12 where the tension of the band is such that the band is one to two inches smaller in diameter than the muscle group the band is fitted over.

17. The proprioception enhancement band of claim 12 where the number of tension-creating devices is two to twenty.

18. An article of athletic clothing comprising an article of clothing with at least one tension-creating band attached to the clothing, with the band positioned so that it fits around a muscle group and creates a tension that gives the user an increased sense of proprioception for that muscle group.

19. The, proprioception enhancement band of claim 18 where the tension-creating device is made of a ring of material selected from the group consisting of elastic, rubber, string, or cloth.

20. The proprioception enhancement band of claim 18 where the tension is created by the combination of more than one tension-creating devices.

21. The proprioception enhancement band of claim 18 where the band is attached to a shirt.

22. The proprioception enhancement band of claim 18 where the tension is created by a rib that projects within the band.

23. The proprioception enhancement band of claim 18 where the tension of the band is such that the band is one to two inches smaller in diameter than the muscle group the band is fitted over.

24. The proprioception enhancement band of claim 18 where the number of tension-creating devices is two to twenty.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/705,103, filed Aug. 8, 2005 by the present inventor.

FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH

No

SEQUENCE LISTING OR PROGRAM

No

FIELD OF INVENTION

This invention relates to athletic equipment. More specifically it relates to equipment that improves proprioception.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Many devices have been developed to repair the loss of proprioception in medical patients. These devices are designed for rehabilitation of injuries, rather than prehabilitation and enhancement. These devices generally comprise a strap or straps and place pressure on the injured joint. These devices are meant to be worn as part of a program of physical therapy and not meant to be worn by healthy persons. These devices are also not meant to be worn during an athletic activity or athletic competition.

U.S. Pat. Nos. 8,086,551 and 5,957,873, both by Allen, are examples of these types of the proprioception therapy devices. Patent '551 is a compression suit used for proprioception therapy. Patent '873 is a compression vest used for proprioception therapy. Both use all over pressure to heal lost proprioception, rather than focused tension on certain parts of certain muscles to improve healthy proprioception.

Patent application 20050193461, by Cailibotte and Rouiller, is a device that uses elastic to improve athletic performance. The '461 invention wraps muscle groups, especially on the legs, in strips of elastic for the purpose of capturing lost energy from the muscles and returning the energy to the limb to increase the power of the next movement of the limb. The invention does not improve proprioception and does not place the elastic on a specific part of the muscles in the muscle groups. Rather the elastic is distributed over the muscles, much like the two Allen inventions.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

This invention is a device that improves proprioception. The inventor has discovered that use of sets of bands, strategically placed and tensionized, can improve the wearer's proprioceptive abilities. This invention is a device that allows the body to be more aware of the position of the limbs. This invention is a prehabilitative and enhancement device, rather than a rehabilitation device. The purpose of this invention is to improve athletic performance by improving proprioception of the wearer. For the purposes of this invention, proprioception is the awareness of the position of the body.

The invention operates by making the wearer aware of the position of the limbs relative to the torso. This is achieved by applying a light amount of pressure to the skin. The pressure on the skin stimulates tactile sensors in the skin that then make the brain aware of the position of that part of the body. The invention can be used on any part of the body.

The invention comprises a band with a tension-creating device within the band. The band is placed around a muscle group. Only one band is needed for each muscle group, but the invention will function with more than one band. In the preferred embodiment, the tension-creating device comprises at least two rings of elastic. The preferred embodiment envisions the use of up to twenty rings of elastic as the tension-creating device, but other versions could use more. Other versions could use one elastic ring, or more than twenty elastic rings. The preferred embodiment envisions the placement of the band over the belly of one or more of the muscles in the muscle group. As an example, and not meant as a limitation in any way, the band could be placed over the belly of the bicep when the band is used with the upper arm. The belly of a muscle is the widest part of the muscle.

The tension-creating device creates tension that improves the proprioception of the user. The tension creates a light pressure on the skin of the user. This pressure is enough to be noticeable, yet light enough to avoid contraction of blood vessels or causing muscle fatigue. In some embodiments, the band is attached to an article of clothing. In the preferred embodiment, the tension-creating device has a diameter that this one to two inch less than the muscle group it is being fitted around. Thus a 15 inch diameter upper arm would use a band that has a 13 to 14 inch diameter, with a 13 to 14 inch diameter tension-creating device. The preferred embodiment of the tension-creating device has a tension such that a 13 to 14 inch piece of elastic would be stretched to 15 inches.

The width of the band can be any size. The preferred embodiment envisions bands with a width between 0.5 inches and 6 inches. Other versions could be more narrow that 0.5 an inch. Still other versions could be wider than 6 inches.

This tension-creating device is envisioned to be a strip of elastic material. In other versions of the invention, the tension-creating device could also be a ridge of material that projects within the band. Other versions of the invention could use a rib as the tension-creating device. Still other versions could use a non-elastic piece of material that can be tightened. This piece of material could be tightened by being pulled and secured by some kind of toggle or fastener. Any manner of fastener could be used, including, but not limited to, buttons, ties, snaps, clips, cord locks, statistical fasteners, hook and loop fasteners or adhesives. The invention envisions the use of one or more tension creating devices.

The preferred embodiment envisions the invention used to improve the speed and accuracy of a baseball pitcher. The invention achieves this effect by improving the proprioception of the pitcher. By allowing the pitcher to feel the location of his limbs, the pitcher can more carefully position his throw to insure maximum efficiency. In the case of baseball pitching, the throw is optimized by a series of movements of the arm. This optimization decreases the farther the arm is from the path of the ideal set of movements. By increasing proprioception, the pitcher can insure that his arm travels in the ideal path of movement to optimize the throw. The invention can also improve the athletic performance of other parts of the body or within the context of other sports. In all cases, an ideal position or movement of the body or the part of the body determines performance. The closer the athlete is to this ideal, the greater the optimization of the athlete's performance.

A preferred embodiment envisions a long sleeve shirt. Sown into the fabric of the shirt are strips of elastic material. Collectively, these strips of elastic comprise the tension-creating device. Preferably the elastic material is sown into the inside of the shirt, but other versions could have the elastic on the outside of the shirt. In this preferred embodiment, each sleeve has two tension-creating devices. The first tension-creating device encircles the forearm. The second tension-creating device encircles the upper arm. The first tension-creating device circles the forearm at the belly of the muscle. The second tension-creating device circles the upper arm at the belly of the bicep. The belly of a muscle is the fattest part of the muscle. In this preferred embodiment, a third tension-creating device is around the body of shirt. The third tension-creating device is placed just underneath the pectoral muscles. An optional fourth tension-creating device can be placed around the shoulder.

Still other versions of the invention could place tension-creating device in other locations of each arm other than the belly of the muscle. Still other versions could place the tension-creating devices in a different location on the body than underneath the pectoral muscles.

Still other version could have the tension-creating device run parallel to the length of the body or arm. Still other versions could have a tension-creating device placed parallel to the back of the shirt that then divides so that the tension-creating device touches both shoulders.

Any person skilled in the art would understand that the tension-creating device could be made of any material that can generate pressure on the skin.

Other embodiments could use other articles of clothing, such as pants, jumpsuits and shorts. This invention could be applied to any article of clothing. This invention can have any distribution of elastic material within that article of clothing. The invention only requires that the article of clothing have at least one tension-creating device sown into the article of clothing. The invention could have more than one length of elastic material sown into the article of clothing. The lengths of elastic material could be placed in any orientation relative to the length of the article of clothing.

Another embodiment of the invention is the use of the band without an article of clothing. In this embodiment of the invention, the band is made of a covering and more than one tension creating devices. The preferred embodiment envisions a cloth covering, but any soft, flexible material could be used. The tension creating devices could be any of the embodiments stated above, but the preferred embodiment is elastic. The embodiment of the invention with the band without an article of clothing is operated by being placed over the belly of the muscle that the user wishes to improve proprioception. The preferred embodiment envisions use of this version of the invention with the upper arm.

Another version of the embodiment of the invention that uses a band without an article of clothing, includes an opening in the band that can be opened and sealed. The opening has a fastener on one end and a corresponding fastener on the other end of the band. The fastener and corresponding fastener could be a statistical fastener, such as VELCRO, a snap, a button, hook and loop fastener, or a tie.

The preferred embodiment envisions the use of the invention in pairs of bands. Each pair of bands would be fitted around a muscle group on the right and left side of the body. As an example, and not meant as a limitation in anyway, One band could be on the right upper arm and the other band could be on the left upper arm. Other versions could use single bands for only one muscle group.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and form part of the specification, illustrate the embodiments of the present invention and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention.

FIG. 1 is a picture of the long sleeved shirt embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a picture of the short-sleeved shirt embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 3 is a picture of the band embodiment of the invention on an upper arm.

FIG. 4. is a picture of the band embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates the long sleeved shirt embodiment of the invention. The shirt 1 has bands sown into it. The chest band 2 is shown encircling the torso, just underneath the pectoral muscles. The forearm band 3 is shown encircling the forearm at the belly of the muscle. The upper arm band 4 is shown encircling the upper arm at the belly of the bicep. The shoulder band 5 is shown encircling the shoulder. In FIG. 1, the shoulder band 5 is shown so that it is divided into a Y that is a single band at the bottom of the shoulder, but is two bands at the top of the shoulder.

FIG. 2 illustrates the short-sleeved shirt embodiment of the invention. The shirt 1 has bands sown into it. The chest band 2 is shown encircling the torso, just underneath the pectoral muscles. The upper arm band 4 is shown encircling the upper arm at the belly of the bicep. The shoulder band 5 is shown encircling the shoulder.

FIG. 3 illustrates the embodiment of the invention where the band is used without a piece of clothing. The upper arm bands 4 is made of a casing 6 and tension-creating device 7. The tension-creating device 7 comprises two elastic rings in this figure. The upper arm strip 4 is fitted around the belly of the bicep 8.

FIG. 4 illustrates the embodiment of the invention where the band is used without a piece of clothing. The upper arm band 4 is made of a casing 6 and tension-creating device 7. The tension-creating device 7 comprises two elastic rings in this figure. The upper arm strip 4 has fastener 9 and corresponding fastener 10.

In the preferred embodiment, the tension-creating device 7 has a diameter that this one to two inches less than the muscle group it is being fitted around. Thus a 15 inch diameter upper arm would use a band that has a 13-14 inch diameter, with a 13-14 inch diameter tension creating device 7. The preferred embodiment of the tension-creating device 7 has a tension such that a 13-14 inch piece of elastic would be stretched to 15 inches.

This tension-creating device 7 is envisioned to be a strip of elastic material. Alternatively, the tension-creating device 7 could be made of rubber, cloth or string. In other versions of the invention, the tension-creating device 7 could also be a ridge of material that projects within the band. Other versions of the invention could use a rib as the tension-creating device 7. Still other versions could use a non-elastic piece of material that can be tightened. This piece of material could be tightened by being pulled and secured by some kind of toggle or fastener. Any manner of fastener could be used, including, but not limited to, buttons, ties, snaps, clips, cord locks, statistical fasteners, hook and loop fasteners or adhesives. The invention envisions the use of one or more tension creating devices 7.

Another version of the embodiment of the invention that uses a band without an article of clothing includes an opening in the band that can be opened and sealed. The opening has a fastener 9 on one end and a corresponding fastener 10 on the other end of the band. The fastener 9 and corresponding fastener 10 could be a statistical fastener, such as VELCRO, a snap, a button, hook and loop fastener, or a tie.

Although this invention has been illustrated by reference to specific embodiments, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes and modification may be made which clearly fall within the scope of the invention. The invention is intended to be protected broadly within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.