Title:
Hand and fingers stretch device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
In accordance with the present invention, a hand and fingers stretch device comprises a glove with a rigid material attached permanently or temporarily to the inside or the outside of the palm-side of the glove, or a hand shaped rigid material that is attached to the hand using rings or finger holders. The rigid material provides resistance to the curving of the fingers and the palm of the hand, stretching the fingers and palm towards a single plane.



Inventors:
Findeisen, Kurt Charles (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/359299
Publication Date:
11/01/2007
Filing Date:
02/21/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/44, 482/124
International Classes:
A63B23/16; A63B21/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GINSBERG, OREN ISAAC
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Law Office of J Curtis Edmondson (Hillsboro, OR, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. An hand and fingers stretch device comprising: a glove for receiving a human hand there within, the glove including a plurality of pockets each adapted for receiving an individual digit of a human hand and having a palm side and a knuckle side corresponding to the anatomy of a human hand, rigid support material whose exterior boundaries from a top view approximately duplicate a human handprint and is relatively thin when viewed from the side and is made of a material that resists deformation or bending that is affixed to the bottom or palm portion of the glove.

2. The hand and fingers stretch device of claim 1, wherein a plurality of rings or finger holders adapted for receiving an individual digit of a human hand encircle each pocket of the glove to further secure each finger digit to the rigid support material.

3. The hand and fingers stretch device of claim 1, wherein the glove is shaped to receive a human foot and toes and the exterior boundaries of the rigid support material approximately duplicate a human footprint.

4. The hand and fingers stretch device of claim 1, wherein the rigid support material is slightly concave in a plane opposite to the natural closure of the hand.

5. The hand and fingers stretch device of claim 1, wherein the rigid material is affixed to the inner surface of the palm side of the glove in contact with the hand.

6. The hand and fingers stretch device of claim 1, wherein the rigid material is affixed to the outer surface of the palm side of the glove.

7. The hand and fingers stretch device of claim 1, wherein the rigid material is affixed to the outer surface of the palm side of the glove by encapsulating said rigid material with additional glove material.

8. A hand and fingers stretch device comprising: a plurality of rings or finger holders each adapted for receiving an individual digit of a human hand, rigid support material whose exterior boundaries from a top view duplicate a human handprint and is relatively thin when viewed from the side and is made of a material that resists deformation or bending that is affixed to the finger holders or rings by placing the palm side of a human hand in contact with the rigid support material and then placing the finger holders on each digit, so as to cause the rings to secure the rigid support material against the hand.

9. The hand and fingers stretch device of claim 8, wherein the rings or finger holders do not correspond to the number of digits of the human hand; rather, the rings or finger holders receive multiple digits of the human hand.

10. The hand and fingers stretch device of claim 8, wherein the rigid support material is shaped to receive a human foot and toes and the exterior boundaries of the rigid support material approximately duplicate a human footprint.

11. The hand and fingers stretch device of claim 8, wherein the rigid support material is slightly concave in a plane opposite to the natural closure of the hand.

12. The hand and fingers stretch device of claim 1, wherein the human hand is a human foot.

13. A method of exercising the human digits comprising: placing a flexible sheet on an appendage covering the digits and conforming to the outline of the hand or foot, looping an elastic material over the digits and the sheet, and application of a force opposite the natural curling of said digits.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an apparatus for exercising hands and fingers, more particularly a device for the stretching of the hand and fingers with the intended therapeutic effect of treating various hand ailments.

BACKGROUND

This preferred embodiment invention relates to exercising, more specifically to the exercising or stretching of the hand and fingers, for the prevention and treatment of various hand ailments such as loss of mobility due to injury or arthritis, as well as symptoms caused by repetitive stress injury.

Additionally, it is foreseeable that this invention can be utilized for stretching and strengthening the toes and feet; the only change would be that the glove and rigid material portion of the device would be shaped to conform to the foot and toes of the user.

The preferred embodiment of the invention discloses a novel way of stretching the hand and fingers, but can foreseeably be used in strengthening injured or weakened fingers by causing resistance to the closing motion of the hand, that is drawing one's fingers towards the palm of one's hand in an effort to make a fist. However, because of the invention's configuration, it is better suited as a stretching device because the rigid material is configured in a fashion that would make clenching a fist impossible. This is one of the key distinguishing features of this invention from the myriad of finger and hand strengthening devices. The other devices typically have the tensioning members or stays on the knuckle side of the glove apparatus to allow for complete or near complete closure of the hand, in other words the making of a fist. Because of this difference the stays or tensioning members are in tension or stretched as opposed to this invention whereby the stay or member is actually in compression and pushes against the hand and fingers as opposed to pulling against them when the fingers attempt to bend. This is a desirable feature because the force is constant and gradual and requires no effort on the part of the user. It is a passive stretching exercise, which is very important in rehabilitation from injuries, such as post surgery ruptured tendons, where a slow smooth stretch is necessary to prevent additional injury.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART

The applicant is aware of the following U.S. patents concerning devices related to the stretching of fingers.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,557,177 (May 6, 2003) to Hockmuth teaches a flexible glove with a reinforcement strip.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,746,707 (May 5, 1998) to Eck describes a two digit restraining device. This is in contrast to the present invention that uses five digits.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,453,064 (Sep. 26, 1995) to Williams describes the use of a flexible device for exercise purposes that covers the back of the hand.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,121,743 (Jun. 16, 1992) to Bishop specifies a cumbersome device that immobilizes the wrist in addition to the thumbs.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,058,576 (Oct. 22, 1991) to Grim, et al. depicts a wrist and hand split where the fingers are bendable.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,781,178 (Nov. 1, 1998) to Gordon teaches an orthopedic glove that comprises independent parts that must be assembled by the user.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,384,571 (May 24, 1983) to Nuzzo, et al. describes an adjustable splint whereby the parts require assembly by the end user.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,944,220 (Mar. 16, 1976) to Fasano provides for an adjustable hand exercise system.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,164,841 (Jan. 12, 1965) to Burtoff teaches a flexible glove designed to reduce injuries to the hand.

U.S. Pat. No. 2,794,638 (Jun. 4, 1957) to Risher describes a wrist positioning device.

U.S. Pat. No. 2,695,999 (Dec. 7, 1954) to Arnold provides for a hand shield that is designed to protect the hand.

U.S. Pat. No. 2,438,144 (Mar. 23, 1948) to Bunyar shows a surgical brace for the wrist and hand that must be assembled from individual parts.

U.S. Pat. No. 2,205,957 (Jun. 25, 1940) to Kinkis describes a hand shield that is flexible.

U.S. Pat. No. 2,154,197 (Apr. 11, 1939) to Callaway depicts a glove for restraining wrist motion, primarily for playing golf.

U.S. Pat. No. 2,108,236 (Feb. 15, 1938) to Scott demonstrates finger exercising device that is flexible.

U.S. Pat. No. 2,025,357 (Dec. 24, 1935) to Pagan describes a flexible glove designed for cutting sugar cane.

U.S. Pat. No. 1,919,084 (Jul. 18, 1933) to Wyant teaches a hand protector.

U.S. Pat. No. 1,797,057 (Mar. 17, 1931) to Foulke describes a surgical splint for the hand.

SUMMARY

The preferred embodiment discloses a novel hand stretching device. The purpose of the abstract is to neither define the invention, nor is it intended to be limiting as to the scope of the invention in any way. Its purpose is to inform, on a cursory inspection, the nature and essence of the technical enclosure of the invention.

The invention provides a novel hand and fingers stretching device that can be fashioned in the shape of a conventional glove or as an open glove, that is having the fingers attached, not in their entirety, to the stretching mechanism in strategic locations, so as to form an open air glove.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a new hand and fingers stretching device that easily and effectively stretches and straightens the fingers and hand.

It is another objective of the present invention to produce an inexpensive easily manufactured hand and fingers stretching device that can be made from a variety of materials, such as, but not limited to, plastic, nylon, cotton, synthetic cloth material, vinyl, and leather.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Taking the following specifications in conjunction with the accompanying drawings will cause the invention to be better understood regarding these and other features and advantages. The specifications reference the annexed drawings wherein:

FIG. 1A is a top plan view of the hand and fingers stretch device.

FIG. 1B is a bottom plan view of the hand and fingers stretch device of FIG. 1A.

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the rigid material insert of the hand and fingers stretch device.

FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view of the hand and fingers stretch device along line A-A of FIG. 1B.

FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view analogous to FIG. 3 with an alternate embodiment of the rigid material insert.

FIG. 5 is a cross sectional view analogous to FIG. 3 with an alternate embodiment of rigid material insert.

FIG. 6A is a top plane view of the hand and fingers stretch device rigid material insert and finger holders.

FIG. 6B is a top plane view of the hand and fingers stretch device rigid material insert and finger holders of FIG. 6A with the hand and fingers inserted.

FIG. 7A is a top plane view of another embodiment of the hand and fingers stretch device rigid material insert and finger holders.

FIG. 7B is a top plane view of another embodiment of the hand and fingers stretch device rigid material insert and finger holders of FIG. 7A with the hand and fingers inserted.

FIG. 8A is a side view of the hand and fingers stretch device of FIG. 6.

FIG. 8B is a side frontal view of the hand and fingers stretch device of FIG. 7.

FIG. 8C is a side view of the hand and fingers stretch device of FIG. 6 and FIG. 7 with the hand and fingers inserted.

FIG. 9A is a top view of the stretching device modified for use by the foot.

FIG. 9B is a top view of the stretching device for the foot with the foot and toes inserted.

FIG. 10A is a side view of the stretching device for the foot

FIG. 10B is a side view of the stretching device for the foot with the foot and toes inserted.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

While describing the invention and its embodiments, various terms will be used for the sake of clarity. These terms are intended to not only include the recited embodiments, but also all equivalents that perform substantially the same function, in substantially the same manner to achieve the same result.

A preferred embodiment of the present invention discloses a hand and fingers stretch device depicted in top plan view in FIG. 1A and indicated generally by the reference number 100 is comprised of a glove 10a for receiving a human hand therein. The glove 10a is shaped as to define a plurality of pockets each receiving an individual digit of a human hand terminating into a larger pocket 14 to receive the palm of a human hand. The glove 10a can be fabricated from a myriad of material, some examples, but not limitations are: cloth, leather, rubber, plastic, nylon, silk, and other fabrics.

As shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B, the glove 100 has a knuckle surface 110 and a palm surface 120. On receipt of a human hand the orientation of the glove 100 is such that the knuckle surface 110 is in contact with the knuckle portion of the human hand and the palm surface 120 is in contact with the palm portion of the human hand.

FIG. 2 depicts the rigid support material 12 which shape is defined as the outline of the glove 10a as seen in the bottom plan view in FIG. 1B and which is of a slightly smaller perimeter dimensions to allow for insertion into the glove 10a and that is essentially flat, that is the top and bottom faces are parallel to each other. FIG. 3 illustrates the insertion of the rigid support material 12 into the glove 10a to form the hand and fingers stretch device 100 so that the interior of the palm surface 130 is in direct contact with the support material 12.

In another embodiment, the rigid support material 12 may be affixed to the exterior of the palm surface 120 by a means such as adhesive, stitches, rivets or any other method of fastening two dissimilar materials, as shown in FIG. 4.

In yet another embodiment, as depicted in FIG. 5, the rigid support material 12 is encapsulated or sandwiched and completely surrounded by a fabric material 16 that is attached to the interior of the palm surface 130 forming a pocket.

There are several contemplated embodiments of the rigid support material 12, although the perimeter geometry is constant the actual material used can vary, that is the rigid support material 12 can be formed from, but not limited to, plastic, metal, carbon fibers, wood, a combination of the aforementioned items arranged in laminate or stacked configuration. This is to provide resistance to the fist-making or curving action of the fingers and hands, whether done voluntarily or due to involuntary contractions, so that the base of the fingers and the palm of the hand are positioned in approximately the same plane, that is to stretch the hand flat. The rigid support material 12 acts as a spring member resisting the contraction of the fingers and hands.

Additional embodiments of the hand and finger stretching device 100 contemplate a rigid support material 12 that is slightly bent or concave relative to the palm surface 130 as seen from a side view along the longest part of the device, viewing from finger to palm. This concavity allows for the stretching of the hands and fingers beyond a flat plane for added flexibility and can also allow for a more aggressive stretch if desired.

FIGS. 6A and 6B also show another embodiment of the hand and finger stretch device 100. This embodiment comprises a plurality of finger holders 18. The finger holders 18 are circular ring shaped members with internal openings corresponding to each digit on the hand and large enough to insert one finger or thumb. The finger holders 18 are affixed to the rigid support material 12 and serve to connect the fingers and thumb to the rigid support material 12, to allow for the stretching and straightening of the hand and fingers. A normal human hand would require a minimum of five finger holders, corresponding to each finger or thumb.

The finger holders 18 can be made from any pliable material that can be worn against the skin. The finger holders 18 can be elastic or not. Elastic finger holders 18 allow for a more snug fit. Finger holders 18 without elastic are easier to put on and take off.

FIGS. 7A and 7B are two views of another embodiment of the hand and finger stretch device. In FIG. 7A the rigid support material 12 is similar in design to those described in prior embodiments. In this embodiment, the finger holders 18 are modified to loop over multiple fingers rather than a single finger.

FIGS. 8A and 8B are side and front views of the embodiment as described in FIGS. 6A, 6b, 7A, and 7B. The rigid support material 12 is attached to finger holders 18 that are modified to loop over single or multiple fingers. In FIG. 8C fingers are inserted into the loops.

In FIGS. 9A and 9B another embodiment is shown of the hand and finger stretch device. In this embodiment, the rigid support material 20 is shaped to fit the area surrounding the toes. The rigid support material 20 is attached to a number of toe holders 22. As in FIG. 8, FIG. 9B depicts the toe holders 22 with the toes inserted.

FIGS. 10A and 10B provides a side view of the hand and finger stretch device modified for the toes. The toe holders 22 are located near the base of the digits and are attached to the rigid support material.

The invention has been described in terms of the preferred embodiment. One skilled in the art will recognize that it would be possible to construct the elements of the present invention from a variety of means and to modify the placement of the components in a variety of ways. While the embodiments of the invention have been described in detail and shown in the accompanying drawings, it will be evident that various further modifications are possible without departing from the scope of the invention as set forth in the following claims.