Title:
Mobility aid retention clip
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A walking cane retention clip that provides convenient temporary placement of the cane so that the user can perform a two-handed task. The retention clip provides a garment clasping region for attachment to a garment such as a waistband, a belt or both. A mobility aid receiving region is used for releasably retaining a mobility aid such as a cane or walking staff. The retention clip comprises a unitary construction that is configured for vertical or horizontal retention of a mobility aid. The retention clip is fabricated from high strength materials that are capable of delivering long-term function without significant risk of wear or mechanical failure. The retention clip is configured and fabricated from materials that facilitate cleaning and sanitization of the retention clip.



Inventors:
Broadwell, Susan Elizabeth Cassell (Wichita Falls, TX, US)
Broadwell, John David (Wichita Falls, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/544202
Publication Date:
04/10/2008
Filing Date:
10/06/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45F5/00
View Patent Images:
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20100096420Artist portfolio carrierApril, 2010Holmer
20090026240Reversible tote bagJanuary, 2009Wang
20080041906ADJUSTABLE POSITIONING MECHANISM AND A BAG OR PACK, SUCH AS A BACKPACK OR OTHER ARTICLE, HAVING SUCH MECHANISMFebruary, 2008Rose et al.
20060289589Backpack having auto-adjusting waistbeltDecember, 2006Gregory
20040211806Epinephrine (EpiPen) carrierOctober, 2004Wilkerson et al.
20080156835Bag with reinforced adjustable shoulder strapJuly, 2008Schlipper
20040159689Fishing rod protective carrier and methodAugust, 2004Wright



Primary Examiner:
WAGGENSPACK, ADAM J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Michael Philip Artemis (Sparks, NV, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A mobility aid retention clip for releasably retaining a portion of a user mobility aid when installed on a user garment, said retention clip comprising: a garment clasp portion including a resilient leg portion having a top end, a substantially rigid central support member having a top end, and a web member having opposite ends that integrally connect to each of the top ends and mutually space the leg portion and the support member, wherein the leg portion, the web member, and the central support member together define a garment clasping region; and a mobility aid receiving portion integrally formed with the central support member, the receiving portion further comprising a substantially resilient curved retention cradle extending away from both the central support member and the garment clasp portion and providing a concave receiving surface for said portion of the mobility aid, the retention cradle having a distal end with an integrally formed essentially S-shaped release cusp curving inwardly toward the central support member and then outwardly thereof, the release cusp and central support member providing a cradle pinch-point there between, wherein the retention cradle and central support member together define a mobility aid receiving region for said portion of the mobility aid; and wherein the cradle pinch-point is sized to releasably retain said portion of the mobility aid.

2. The mobility aid retention clip of claim 1, wherein the retention clip is fabricated as a unitary construction.

3. The mobility aid retention clip of claim 2, wherein the unitary retention clip is fabricated using a thermoplastic polymer.

4. The mobility aid retention clip of claim 1, wherein the leg portion has a bottom end with a garment release flange integrally formed from therein and extending toward the central support member, wherein the release flange and support member form a garment pinch-point there between for releaseably clasping a confronting garment portion when the clip is installed.

5. The mobility aid retention clip of claim 4, wherein the garment release flange is formed in an arcuate shape with a convex surface facing the garment clasping region.

6. The mobility aid retention clip of claim 1, wherein the central support member has a bottom end and wherein the mobility aid receiving portion is integrally formed from the bottom end of the central support member, so that the retention cradle extends generally towards the web member.

7. The mobility aid retention clip of claim 1, wherein the central support member has a first side edge and a second side edge; and wherein the mobility aid receiving portion is integrally formed from the first side edge of the central support member, so that the retention cradle extends generally towards the second side edge.

8. The mobility aid retention clip of claim 1, wherein the central support member has a first side edge and a second side edge; and wherein the mobility aid receiving portion is integrally formed from the second side edge of the central support member, so that the retention cradle extends generally towards the first side edge.

9. The mobility aid retention clip of claim 1, wherein a mobility aid receiving region longitudinal axis is substantially parallel with respect to a garment clasping region longitudinal axis.

10. The mobility aid retention clip of claim 1, wherein a mobility aid receiving region longitudinal axis is substantially perpendicular with respect to a garment clasping region longitudinal axis.

11. A mobility aid retention clip for releasably retaining a portion of a user mobility aid when installed on a user garment, said retention clip comprising: a garment clasp portion including a resilient leg portion having a top end, a substantially rigid central support member having a top end, and a web member having opposite ends that integrally connect to each of the top ends and mutually space the leg portion and the support member, wherein the leg portion, the web member, and the central support member together define a garment clasping region; and a mobility aid receiving portion integrally formed with a bottom edge of the central support member, the receiving portion further comprising a substantially resilient curved retention cradle extending away from both the central support member and the garment clasp portion, so that the retention cradle extends generally towards the web member, and providing a concave receiving surface for said portion of the mobility aid, the retention cradle having a distal end with an integrally formed essentially S-shaped release cusp curving inwardly toward the central support member and then outwardly thereof, the release cusp and central support member providing a cradle pinch-point there between, wherein the retention cradle and central support member together define a mobility aid receiving region for said portion of the mobility aid; and wherein the cradle pinch-point is sized to releasably retain said portion of the mobility aid.

12. The mobility aid retention clip of claim 11, wherein the retention clip is fabricated as a unitary construction.

13. The mobility aid retention clip of claim 12, wherein the unitary retention clip is fabricated using a thermoplastic polymer.

14. The mobility aid retention clip of claim 1 1, wherein the leg portion has a bottom end with a garment release flange integrally formed from therein and extending toward the central support member, wherein the release flange and support member form a garment pinch-point there between for releaseably clasping a confronting garment portion when the clip is installed.

15. The mobility aid retention clip of claim 14, wherein the garment release flange is formed in an arcuate shape with a convex surface facing the garment clasping region.

16. A mobility aid retention clip for releasably retaining a portion of a user mobility aid when installed on a user garment, said retention clip comprising: a garment clasp portion including a resilient leg portion having a top end, a substantially rigid central support member having a top end, and a web member having opposite ends that integrally connect to each of the top ends and mutually space the leg portion and the support member, wherein the leg portion, the web member, and the central support member together define a garment clasping region; and a mobility aid receiving portion integrally formed with a first side edge of the central support member, the receiving portion further comprising a substantially resilient curved retention cradle extending away from both the central support member and the garment clasp portion, so that the retention cradle extends generally towards a second side edge, and providing a concave receiving surface for said portion of the mobility aid, the retention cradle having a distal end with an integrally formed essentially S-shaped release cusp curving inwardly toward the central support member and then outwardly thereof, the release cusp and central support member providing a cradle pinch-point there between, wherein the retention cradle and central support member together define a mobility aid receiving region for said portion of the mobility aid; and wherein the cradle pinch-point is sized to releasably retain said portion of the mobility aid.

17. The mobility aid retention clip of claim 16, wherein the retention clip is fabricated as a unitary construction.

18. The mobility aid retention clip of claim 17, wherein the unitary retention clip is fabricated using a thermoplastic polymer.

19. The mobility aid retention clip of claim 16, wherein the leg portion has a bottom end with a garment release flange integrally formed from therein and extending toward the central support member, wherein the release flange and support member form a garment pinch-point there between for releaseably clasping a confronting garment portion when the clip is installed.

20. The mobility aid retention clip of claim 19, wherein the garment release flange is formed in an arcuate shape with a convex surface facing the garment clasping region.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to the art of canes, walking sticks and staffs. More particularly, the invention relates to a waist-mounted cane retention clip having improved holding capability and ergonomic functionality.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Throughout history people have used canes, walking sticks and staffs to facilitate personal mobility. Canes, walking sticks, hiking staffs, trekking poles, and walking umbrellas may commonly be referred to as “mobility aids.” There are many reasons why a person may require the use of a mobility aid, such as to overcome a physical disability, increase balance, or conserve energy. The use of a mobility aid assists a person to walk straighter, in natural and proper body alignment, which in turn minimizes stress and strain upon joints and muscles. By using a mobility aid, people are able to participate and enjoy various daily activities that otherwise would have been difficult without the use of such an aid.

However, mobility aid users frequently encounter a predicament upon arrival at a chosen destination, that being a convenient way to temporarily store the mobility aid while performing a two-handed task. Examples of such tasks may include, checking out at a cash register, pumping gasoline, taking field notes, or making copies in an office environment. As a result, many mobility aid users will clumsily attempt to hold the aid while performing the two-handed task. Some disadvantages of holding the aid during the task are the risk of dropping the aid, taking excessive time to perform the task, interference with performing the task or generally feeling inept. Frequently, some users may lean the mobility aid against a counter, surface or object for temporary placement while performing the two-handed task. However, this presents an opportunity for the mobility aid to fall to the ground. With the mobility aid now on the ground, a user is required to bend down and retrieve the aid. In doing so, depending on the user's agility, the user may suffer discomfort, injury, muscle/joint strain, or loss of balance.

Additionally, using a mobility aid quite often has negative connotations that represent a loss of independence, nuisance, awkwardness, and geriatric predisposition. These factors can discourage the consistent use of a mobility aid or discourage the use of a mobility aid altogether.

There have been several attempts to provide a convenient way to temporarily secure a mobility aid while performing a two-handed task. One device comprises a lanyard that is worn around the user's neck. Attached to the lanyard is a preformed rubber-type loop into which a mobility aid may be inserted. While useful to some extent, this design has the drawback of dangling the mobility aid across the user's torso. This makes performing the desired task more difficult because the dangling mobility aid is directly in front of the user and may strike or swing into the user. There is also the possibility of the user tripping while storing the mobility aid using this device, particularly if the task requires lower body movement, because the aid may become entangled between the user's legs. Additionally, cleaning and sanitizing the loop is difficult because the loop is made of a porous rubber-type material. The ability to clean and sanitize a mobility aid and its associated hardware is extremely important in healthcare settings and rehabilitation facilities. Furthermore, this device does not place the mobility aid in a “ready-to-use” position or at a safe and proper height where the user may instinctively reach for and use the aid.

Another device that attempts to provide a hands-free mobility aid retention device comprises a leather strap configured in a double loop or “FIG. 8” shape. One loop is secured with a belt to the user's waist, the other loop is for sliding the mobility aid within. Although useful, this design has disadvantages such as: requiring the user to hang the mobility aid such that the aid could drag the ground, the lengthy second loop may catch on environmental objects such as tables and chairs, and the leather-type material is difficult to clean or sanitize.

In other waist mounted devices, these generally comprise a holster or scabbard type configuration that requires the user to lift the bottom of the mobility aid to waist level and then insert the aid through an opening in the device and slide the aid into the device lengthwise (similar to inserting a sword into a sheath). While useful, this design requires extensive movement of the mobility aid and does not provide for quick subsequent retrieval of the aid in case of an emergency. Also, these devices are typically fabricated from cloth or leather and are difficult to clean or sanitize.

Additionally, there are other devices that provide a retractable tether or leash that is attached to the mobility aid. One teaching of a mobility aid retention device with a retractable tether is found in U.S. Pat. No. 4,884,730 to Carpenter, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference. The '730 Patent teaches the use of a waist mounted spring-loaded pulley with a retractable tether that is attached to the mobility aid. Although this design may be beneficial when the mobility aid is dropped, by providing a way to retrieve the aid without bending down, it requires that the aid be attached to the tether and this limits freedom of movement. Additionally, while the user is walking constant energy is required to keep the mobility aid from being retracted or pulled into a non-stable position by the device. Also, due to the multi-part construction of the device cleaning and sanitization are difficult to perform.

Another teaching of a mobility aid retention device with a retractable tether is found in U.S. Pat. No. 5,964,385 to Simon, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference. The '385 Patent teaches the use of a wrist-mounted spring-loaded retractable tether. Although somewhat useful, this wrist mounted device hinders the “hands-free” objective of providing the user with a way to temporarily store the aid while performing a two-handed task. Also, since the mobility aid is attached to the user's wrist, it is likely that the aid will interfere with the task at hand. This device also requires that a tether be attached to the mobility aid and with its multi-part construction may prove difficult to clean or sanitize.

Additionally, the teaching of U.S. Pat. No. 6,691,722 to Hutchinson et al., the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference, provides a cane holder that attaches to the user's clothing and prevents the cane from falling to the ground. Although this device does permit a user to temporarily store a mobility aid at their side, it requires that a tether be attached to the aid by way of a hook-and-loop fastener and its multi-part construction may prove difficult to clean or sanitize.

Against this background of innovation, currently available mobility aid retention devices still suffer from severe deficiencies in providing: a readily accessible means for temporary placement; a retention device that does not require affixing anything to the aid; an aid retention device that is ergonomically positioned; a device constructed of high strength materials durable enough to withstand long-term, repeated, daily use; an easily sanitized device; or a device that produces positive perceptions surrounding use of a mobility aid. Correspondingly, current mobility aid retention devices have not met with significant success to date.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a mobility aid retention clip enabling the user to instinctively store and naturally retrieve the mobility aid without attaching anything to the aid and further providing for easy cleaning and sanitizing of the clip.

In one embodiment, the invention comprises a mobility aid retention clip for releasably retaining a portion of a user mobility aid when installed on a user garment. The retention clip has a garment clasp portion and a mobility aid receiving portion.

The garment clasp portion includes a resilient leg portion having a top end, a substantially rigid central support member having a top end, and a web member having opposite ends that integrally connect to each of the top ends and mutually space the leg portion and the support member. The leg portion, the web member, and the central support member together define a garment clasping region.

The mobility aid receiving portion is integrally formed with the central support member. The receiving portion includes a substantially resilient curved retention cradle extending away from both the support member and the garment clasp portion. The receiving portion provides a concave receiving surface for a portion of the mobility aid. The retention cradle has a distal end with an integrally formed essentially S-shaped release cusp curving inwardly toward the support member and then outwardly thereof. The release cusp and support member providing a cradle pinch-point there between, wherein the retention cradle and central support member together define a mobility aid receiving region for a portion of the mobility aid. The cradle pinch-point is sized to releasably retain the portion of the mobility aid.

The invention may further comprise a mobility aid retention clip that is fabricated as a unitary construction. The unitary construction may be fabricated from a thermoplastic polymer.

In another embodiment, leg portion has a bottom end with a garment release flange integrally formed from the bottom end and extending toward the central support member. The release flange and support member form a garment pinch-point there between for releaseably clasping a confronting garment portion when the clip is installed. The garment release flange may be formed in an arcuate shape with a convex surface facing the garment clasping region.

Another embodiment includes a central support member that has a bottom end and wherein the mobility aid receiving portion is integrally formed from the bottom end of the central support member, so that the retention cradle extends generally towards the web member.

In one embodiment, the central support member has a first side edge and a second side edge; and the mobility aid receiving portion is integrally formed from the first side edge of the central support member, so that the retention cradle extends towards the second side edge. Conversely, in another embodiment, the mobility aid receiving portion may be integrally formed from the second side edge of the central support member, so that the retention cradle extends towards the first side edge. In this way the, the retention clip may accommodate either left or right handed users.

In another embodiment, there is established a mobility aid receiving region longitudinal axis that is substantially parallel with respect to an established garment clasping region longitudinal axis. In contrast, another embodiment has a mobility aid receiving region longitudinal axis that is substantially perpendicular with respect to a garment clasping region longitudinal axis.

The invention enables a person to conveniently and effortlessly store a mobility aid at their waist. The mobility aid retention clip provides an intuitive and easy way to temporarily store a mobility aid without any complex attachments or devices. The invention is constructed of high strength materials suitable for long-term, repeated use.

The invention further provides a retention clip that is easy to clean and sanitize, an important factor for users with disabilities and multiple health conditions who may be at a greater risk because of compromised immune systems. Correspondingly, viral and bacterial concerns may be addressed with cold germicidal methods or steam sterilization of the retention clip in rehabilitative facilities, medical settings, and long-term care settings as well.

Finally, the invention provides increased ease of use in storing a mobility aid and increases self-confidence, independence, productivity and usefulness for the user because the user has an efficient means for temporary placement of the mobility aid while performing a two-handed task.

For a fuller understanding of the nature and advantages of the present invention, reference should be made to the ensuing detailed description and claims, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The components in the figures are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention. In the figures, like reference numerals designate corresponding parts or structure throughout the different views.

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a mobility aid inserted into a retention clip, as viewed from above;

FIG. 2A is an isometric view of a mobility aid retention clip, as viewed from above;

FIG. 2B is an elevation view of a mobility aid retention clip, as viewed from the right side;

FIG. 2C is an elevation view of a mobility aid retention clip, as viewed from the front;

FIG. 3A is an isometric view of an alternate embodiment of the mobility aid retention clip, as viewed from above;

FIG. 3B is an elevation view of an alternate embodiment of the mobility aid retention clip, as viewed from the right side;

FIG. 3C is an elevation view of an alternate embodiment of the mobility aid retention clip, as viewed from the front.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The invention relates to a cane, walking stick, or staff retention clip. In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a more thorough description of the present invention. It will be apparent, however, to one skilled in the art, that the present invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known features and processes have been indicated although not described in detail so as not to obscure the invention.

Referring to the figures, FIG. 1 illustrates a retention clip 100 attached to a garment such as a waist band or belt 102 worn about the waist of an individual. A mobility aid 104 has a portion 106, such as a handle, secured within the retention clip 100. As used herein, the term “mobility aid” indicates a device such as a cane, walking stick, hiking staff, trekking pole, walking umbrella, or other item that a person would use to enhance personal mobility or involvement in various activities. Additionally, the term “garment” as used herein is defined as an article of clothing such as a waistband, belt or sash that is worn about the waist of an individual.

FIG. 2A is an isometric view illustrating the retention clip 100. The retention clip 100 has a garment clasping region 200 and a mobility aid receiving region 202. As shown in FIG. 2A, the garment clasping region 200 opening is generally oriented in a downward direction and the mobility aid receiving region 202 opening is essentially oriented in an upward direction with respect to the primary horizontal and vertical axes of the retention clip 100. The garment clasping region 200 has a longitudinal axis 201 projected along the clasping region. The mobility aid receiving region 202 has a longitudinal axis 203 projected along the receiving region.

FIG. 2B is an elevation view from the right side of retention clip 100. In this view, the garment clasping region 200 is formed between a resilient leg portion 204, a web member 206, and a substantially rigid central support member 208. The resilient leg portion 204 has a top end 204a and a bottom end 204b. The web member has opposite ends. The central support member 208 has a top end 208a, a bottom end 208b, and a first side edge 208c and a second side edge 208d (shown in FIG. 2C). The web member 206 integrally connects and mutually spaces both top ends of the leg portion 204 and central support member 208 such that the leg portion 204 and central support member 208 extend in a generally parallel relationship therefrom.

A garment release flange 210 is integrally formed from the bottom end 204b of the leg portion 204 and opposite the web member 206. The garment release flange 210 is substantially quarter circular in profile. The release flange 210 engages a waist band, bottom of a belt or both so that the retention clip 100 is securely attached to the garment. A garment pinch point 216 is formed between the release flange 210 and the retention cradle 212, and provides a means for securely engaging a waistband, a belt or both.

Also in FIG. 2B, the mobility aid receiving region 202 is essentially semicircular in profile and is formed between a curved retention cradle 212 and the substantially rigid central support member 208. Although the mobility aid receiving region 202 is shown in circular shape, other appropriate shapes include ovals or other suitable geometric shapes for retaining a mobility aid. The central support member 208 provides a supportive structure with sufficient rigidity to allow the leg portion 204 and retention cradle 212 to independently deflect and thus permit releasable retention of a garment and a mobility aid, respectively. The retention cradle 212 tangentially extends from the bottom edge 208b of support member 208 and opposite the web member 206. In one specific example, the retention cradle 212 is approximately 1″ in diameter or similar size to adequately accommodate a portion 106 of a mobility aid.

A curved retention cradle release cusp 214 tangentially extends from the distal end of retention cradle 212 inversely curving away from the central support member 208. The release cusp 214 allows deflection of the retention cradle 212 away from the central support member 208 for insertion of a portion 106 of a mobility aid 104.

A cradle pinch point 218 is formed between the retention cradle release cusp 214 and the central support member 208 and provides a means for releasably retaining a mobility aid within the receiving region 202. The cradle pinch point 218 is sized such that the cradle pinch point 218 is smaller than the diameter of retention cradle 212 and the cradle pinch point 218 is sufficiently spaced from the central support member 208 to facilitate receipt of a portion 106 of a mobility aid 104 upon minimal resilient deflection of retention cradle 212. For example, the diameter of portion 106 of the mobility aid 104 is about 1″, the diameter of the retention cradle 212 is about 1″ and the distance defined by the cradle pinch point 218 is about 0.75″.

Referring to FIGS. 2A and 2C, the garment clasping region longitudinal axis 201 and mobility aid receiving region longitudinal axis 203 are arranged in a substantially parallel orientation with respect to each other. Additionally, in these views retention cradle 212 is shown extending from the bottom edge 208b of the central support member 208 to beyond the mid-point of the central support member 208. It is contemplated that the height and width of the retention clip 100 is sized sufficient to provide adequate support for releasable retention of a mobility aid. For example, the height is preferably about 2″ to 2.5″ and the width is preferably between approximately 1″ to 1.5″.

The garment clasping region 200 and mobility aid receiving region 202 are preferably formed such that they will releasably retain a garment and a mobility aid respectively. This functionality is accomplished when the supporting structure for each cavity has some resiliency or residual spring tension. In this way, the supporting structure can be momentarily deflected to permit insertion of an item and then the structure returns to the pre-deflected position when released as a result of the residual spring tension or material resiliency.

The retention clip 100 is fabricated from several known types of materials. Some examples of suitable construction materials are: thermoplastic sheet, thermoformed polymers, thermoset polymers, fiber reinforced composites, metals, alloys, plastics, epoxies or resins. These materials provide a vast variety of textures, patterns, colors and aesthetic appearance options. The construction material should provide high strength, durability, resiliency, flexibility (semi-rigid), low-porosity, elastomeric memory, spring tension, and lubricious glide characteristics. The finished thickness of the construction material is approximately 0.125″ and should provide sufficient support and flexibility for releaseable retention of a mobility aid and a garment waistband or belt. The actual minimum thickness may diverge from the 0.125″ dimension depending on the specific material characteristics. For example, a thermoplastic polymer may require 0.125″ thickness to provide adequate support and flexibility; however, if a fiber reinforced polymer is used a thickness of 0.060″ may prove sufficient.

There are several well known manufacturing processes that are suitable to produce the structure of the present invention. Some examples of various processes are: injection molding, thermal forming, vacuum forming, composite lay-up, casting, extrusion or machining. These manufacturing processes are well known and not described in detail so as not to obscure the invention.

It is contemplated that the structure and components are formed using injection molding techniques and a resilient thermoplastic polymer such as: filled and unfilled polyetherimide, acrylic-polyvinyl chloride alloy, or other high performance engineering polymers. There are many other plastics and variations available that provide a vast array of suitable material properties. The specific material properties can be adjusted or modified by the addition of dissimilar materials. These dissimilar materials may include fiberglass, carbon fibers, metal flake and pigments to name a few.

In operation, the retention clip 100 is attached to a waistband, a belt or both. By momentarily deflecting the leg portion 204, this permits the garment clasping region 200 to expand and encompass a waistband, belt or both. Upon release, the internal spring tension of the leg portion 204 will snugly clasp the waistband. The deflection is effectuated by placing the waistband at the entrance to the garment clasping region 200 adjacent to the garment pinch point 216 and applying a downward force to slide the retention clip 100 onto the waistband.

Now with the retention clip 100 adequately attached at the user's waist, the user can conveniently store a mobility aid within the retention cradle 212. By positioning a portion 106, such as the handle, of the mobility aid 104 in the receiving region 202 and using a pinching or squeezing motion between the mobility aid and the bottom of the retention cradle 212, the mobility aid receiving region 202 will slightly expand and permit the mobility aid to seat within the retention cradle 212. To remove the mobility aid 104 from the retention clip 100, the user applies an upward force on the handle of the mobility and an opposing force on the central support member 208, thus causing the mobility aid receiving region 202 to expand and release the mobility aid from the retention clip. Alternately, the user can momentarily deflect (expand) the retention cradle 212 by depressing the release cusp 214 in a generally outward direction away from the central support member 208 and then simultaneously applying an upward force on the mobility aid.

An alternate embodiment for the retention clip 300 is shown in FIGS. 3A-3C where the mobility aid receiving region longitudinal axis 203 is arranged in a substantially perpendicular orientation with respect to the garment clasping region longitudinal axis 201. In this embodiment the manufacturing processes, materials and operation are essentially similar to the embodiment previously described and are not repeated to avoid undue prolixity.

FIG. 3B is an elevation view from the right side of retention clip 300. In this view, the garment clasping region 200 is formed between a resilient leg portion 204, a web member 206, and a substantially rigid central support member 208. The resilient leg portion 204 has a top end 204a and a bottom end 204b. The web member has opposite ends. The central support member 208 has a top end 208a, a bottom end 208b, a first side edge 208c and a second side edge 208d. The web member 206 integrally connects and mutually spaces both top ends of the leg portion 204 and central support member 208 such that the leg portion 204 and central support member 208 extend in a generally parallel relationship therefrom.

A garment release flange 210 is integrally formed form the bottom end 204b of the leg portion 204 and opposite the web member 206. The garment release flange 210 is substantially quarter circular in profile. The release flange 210 engages a waist band, bottom of a belt or both so that the retention clip 100 is securely attached to the garment. A garment pinch point 216 is formed between the release flange 210 and the central support member 208, and provides a means for securely engaging a waistband, a belt or both.

Referring to FIGS. 3A-3C, the mobility aid receiving region 202 is essentially semicircular in profile and is formed between a curved retention cradle 212 and the substantially rigid central support member 208. Although the mobility aid receiving region 202 is shown in circular shape; other appropriate shapes include ovals or other suitable geometric shapes for retaining a mobility aid. The central support member 208 provides a supportive structure with sufficient rigidity to allow the leg portion 204 and retention cradle 212 to independently deflect and thus permit releasable retention of a garment and a mobility aid, respectively. The retention cradle 212 tangentially extends from the first side edge 208c of central support member 208 and generally towards the second side edge 208d of central support member 208. In one specific example, the retention cradle 212 is approximately 1″ in diameter or similar size to adequately accommodate a portion 106 of a mobility aid.

A curved retention cradle release cusp 214 tangentially extends from the distal end of retention cradle 212 inversely curving away from the central support member 208. The release cusp 214 allows deflection of the retention cradle 212 away from the central support member 208 for insertion of a portion 106, such as the shaft, of a mobility aid 104.

As best illustrated in FIG. 3B, a cradle pinch-point 218 is formed between the retention cradle release cusp 214 and the central support member 208 and provides a means for releasably retaining a mobility aid within the receiving region 202. The cradle pinch-point 218 is sized such that the cradle pinch-point 218 is smaller than the diameter of retention cradle 212 and the cradle pinch point 218 is sufficiently spaced from the central support member 208 to facilitate receipt of a shaft portion of a mobility aid 104 upon minimal resilient deflection of retention cradle 212. For example, in one embodiment the diameter of the shaft portion of the mobility aid 104 is about 1″, the diameter of the retention cradle 212 is about 1″ and the distance defined by the cradle pinch point 218 is about 0.75″.

Referring to a combination of FIGS. 3B & 3C, the garment clasping region longitudinal axis 201 and mobility aid receiving region longitudinal axis 203 are arranged substantially perpendicular with respect to each other. The mobility aid receiving region 202 is arranged substantially offset with respect to the primary vertical axis of the central support member 208. Additionally, retention cradle 212 is shown extending to beyond the mid-point of central support member 208. It is contemplated that the height and width of the retention clip 100 would be sufficient to provide adequate support for releasable retention of a mobility aid. For example, the overall height and width is preferably about 2″ to 2.5″.

Although the retention cradle 212 has been shown extending from the first side edge 208c generally towards the second side edge 208d of central support member 208, another embodiment is configured such that retention cradle 212 extends from the second side edge 208d generally towards the first side edge 208c. In these alternate configurations the retention clip 300 accommodates either left or right handed mobility aid users.

With this alternate orientation of the garment clasping region 200 and mobility aid receiving region 202 this embodiment is well suited for vertically oriented retention of a cane, walking stick or staff. It is contemplated that this embodiment operatively engages the mobility aid along a primary shaft. Additionally, this embodiment is adapted to retain a mobility aid that has an oversized handle or grip for releasable retention about the shaft of the aid.

The mobility aid retention clip invention disclosed herein provides several advantages not found in known mobility aid retention devices. Firstly, the invention enables the user to secure their mobility aid at their waist. Consequently, the aid is conveniently ready for use and quick access. Secondly, the invention provides for a very simple device that does not require any attachments to the mobility aid or complicated adjustments to the retention clip. Thirdly, the invention provides a retention platform that is intuitive and natural to use by ergonomically positioning the clip where the mobility aid may be secured during normal physical movement. Consequently, the user instinctively reaches for the mobility aid at their waist, where the aid is “at-the-ready”. Fourthly, the components of the invention are fabricated from a substantially smooth, non-porous high strength polymer, durable enough to withstand long-term, repeated daily use. Fifthly, the physical construction is such that cleaning and sanitizing are facilitated and non-problematic. Finally, the invention addresses the user's emotional response and provides the user with a positive, enabling, experience with a mobility aid that restores a feeling of usefulness, continued independence, confidence and increased productivity unlike other mobility aid retention innovations to date. The increased convenience and ease of using a mobility aid can promote greater compliance in restorative and rehabilitative therapies, reducing length of treatment, medical costs, and possibly reducing dependence upon public assistance.

Although the above provides a full and complete disclosure of the preferred embodiments of the invention, various modifications, alternate constructions and equivalents will occur to those skilled in the art. For example, the retention clip may be configured to clasp another portion of a person's clothing such as a pocket, a vest, a jacket, or an accessory (such as a waist-level purse, a backpack, or a satchel shoulder strap). Also, the retention clip may be a two piece construction where the garment clasp portion pivots with respect to the mobility aid retention portion. Additionally, the aesthetic appearance of the invention may be altered to provide an enhanced fashionable statement such as incorporating various embellishments like inlay artwork/contouring, or color coordination with wardrobe items. Therefore, the disclosure should not be construed as limiting the invention, which is defined by the claims.