Title:
Plantar For Reflexological Stimulation
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An insole (1) for reflexological stimulation of the sole of the foot, comprising a plurality of elastic elements (4) extending in a direction substantially orthogonal to the sole of the foot and arranged at selected areas thereof to perform said stimulation by deforming elastically during a subject's walking, said elastic elements (4) having a first end (41) fixed on a support (2) and a second end (42) apt to act onto the sole of the foot, wherein the rigidity and the height of the elastic elements (4) is differentiated in different zones of the sole of the foot.



Inventors:
Fusco, Maria Antonietta (Avellino, IT)
Application Number:
12/094603
Publication Date:
12/11/2008
Filing Date:
11/22/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A43B13/38
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Primary Examiner:
PRANGE, SHARON M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Steinfl + Bruno LLP (Pasadena, CA, US)
Claims:
1. An insole for reflexological stimulation of the sole of the foot, comprising a plurality of elastic elements extending in a direction substantially orthogonal to the sole of the foot and arranged at selected areas thereof to perform said stimulation by deforming elastically during a subject's walking, wherein the rigidity and/or the height of said elastic elements is differentiated in different zones of the sole of the foot.

2. The insole according to claim 1, wherein the height and/or the rigidity of said elastic elements is greater at the centre of each of said selected reflexological areas of the sole of the foot.

3. The insole according to claim 1, wherein each of said elastic elements has a top end apt to act onto the sole of the foot, said top end comprising a coupling means for coupling with the sole of the foot.

4. The insole according to claim 3, wherein said coupling means has a shape selected from a group comprising a substantially hemisphere-like shape, a substantially dome-like shape and a substantially drop-like shape.

5. The insole according to claim 3, wherein said coupling means is made of an elastic material.

6. The insole according to claim 5, wherein said coupling means is made of a material selected from a group comprising silicone, Indian rubber and Para Rubber.

7. The insole according to claim 3, wherein said coupling means has a height comprised in a range of about 1-1.5 mm.

8. The insole according to claim 3, wherein said coupling means has a plan width equal to about (2×2) mm.

9. The insole according to claim 1, wherein at least part of the elastic elements have a rigidity such as to reduce their height of about ⅓ when deflected during walking.

10. The insole according to claim 1, wherein at least part of the elastic elements have a rigidity such as to reduce their height of about ½ when deflected during walking.

11. The insole according to claim 1, wherein said elastic elements are made of an elastic fiber material.

12. The insole according to claim 1, wherein said elastic elements comprise helical compression springs.

13. The insole according to claim 1, wherein said elastic elements comprise spiral compression springs.

14. The insole according to claim 1, wherein said selected areas of the sole of the foot are selected from a group comprising areas corresponding to: adductor hallucis, flexor hallucis brevis, flexor digiti minimi brevis pedis, abductor digiti minimi brevis pedis, supinator wedge, pronator wedge and abductor hallucis.

15. The insole according to claim 1, comprising a bottom layer at which there are fixed first ends of said elastic elements and a top layer apt to cover said elastic elements at second ends thereof and to contact the sole of the foot.

16. The insole according to the preceding claim 15, wherein said first layer is made of flexible PVC.

17. The insole according to claim 15, wherein said second layer is made of a material soft to the touch.

18. The insole according to claim 15, wherein said first layer has a thickness of about 1 mm.

19. The insole according to claim 15, further comprising an intermediate layer arranged between said top layer and said second ends of said elastic elements.

20. The insole according to claim 1, wherein the elastic elements of each of said selected areas are received into a respective cell.

21. The insole according to claim 1, which is an insole removably insertable into and extractable from a shoe.

22. The insole according to claim 1, which is an insole incorporated into a shoe.

Description:

The present invention refers to an insole of a type apt to be employed for reflexological stimulation of the sole of the foot in order to perform a vertical pressure stimulation thereof.

Several kinds of insoles are known, insertable into shoes or incorporated therein, aiming at stimulating selected zones of the sole of the foot for reflexological purposes, e.g. for improving or correcting a subject's walking or posture.

However, known insoles generally perform an undifferentiated stimulation of the various areas of the sole of the foot, and therefore are not selective with respect to the specific stimulation that can be more indicated for each single reflexological area or area portion. Therefore, the known insoles are less than satisfactory in terms of attainable therapeutic results.

Hence, the technical problem set and solved by the present invention is to provide an insole for reflexological stimulation overcoming the drawbacks mentioned above with reference to the known art.

Such a problem is solved by an insole according to claim 1.

Preferred features of the present invention are present in the dependent claims thereof.

The present invention provides several relevant advantages. The main advantage lies in that the insole of the invention, by having elastic elements of different rigidity and/or height in different zones of the sole of the foot, allows to attain a specific and selective stimulation and support.

Other advantages, features and the operation modes of the present invention will be made apparent in the following detailed description of some embodiments thereof, given by way of a non-limiting example. Reference will be made to the figures of the annexed drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 shows a partially sectional perspective view of an embodiment of the insole according to the present invention when inserted in a sports shoe and worn on by a user;

FIG. 2 shows a top plan view of the insole of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 3 shows a cross-sectional view of the insole, taken along line A-A of FIG. 2.

Initially referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, an insole for reflexological stimulation of the sole of the foot according to an embodiment of the invention is generally denoted by 1. The insole 1 is of a type apt to be removably extracted and inserted into a shoe.

The insole 1 comprises a bottom layer 2 apt to contact the shoe insole and a top layer 3 apt to contact the subject's sole of the foot. Between said layers 2 and 3 it is received a plurality of elastic elements, generally denoted by 4, extending in a direction substantially orthogonal to the sole of the foot and arranged at selected reflexological areas thereof to perform said stimulation.

Preferably, the bottom layer 2 is made of flexible PVC and has a thickness of about 1 mm. Always according to a preferred embodiment, the top layer 3 is made of a material soft to the touch.

The bottom layer 2 and the top layer 3 are fixed therebetween, e.g., glued, at the periphery of the insole. The perimeter of the insole 1 may also be reinforced by linear seams. Moreover, a fixing between the two layers of the insole, by gluing lines and/or perimeter seams, may be provided also at the periphery of each reflexological area at which the elastic elements are arranged, as schematically shown in FIG. 2, so as to provide a containment casing or cell for the elastic elements 4 arranged in said area.

Preferably, between the top layer 3 and the elastic elements 5 it is also provided an additional intermediate layer 6, made e.g. of Para rubber, to improve the comfort of the subject wearing the insole 1.

In the present embodiment the elastic elements 4 are helical compression springs, each having a first end 41 fixed onto the bottom layer 2 and a second end 42 apt to act onto the sole of the foot. For this purpose, at said second end 42 each elastic element has a coupling means 5 for coupling to the sole of the foot, which in the present embodiment is implemented by an element substantially hemisphere- dome- or drop-shaped preferably made of an elastic material like, e.g., silicone, Indian rubber (caoutchouc) or Para rubber.

Always according to a preferred embodiment, the coupling means 5 has a height comprised in a range of about 1-1.5 mm and a plan width equal to about (2×2) mm. The coupling means 4 makes the resting of the sole of the foot onto the insole comfortable, and propagates the pressure wave to an area of the reflexological zones of the sole of the foot without creating decubitus ulcers or irritations.

According to a preferred embodiment, the main body of the elastic elements comprised between the two ends 41 and 42 is made of an elastic fiber material, like, e.g. carbon fiber or tempered steel having controlled deflection, i.e., specific for the weight to which it has to be subjected and therefore for the patient's anthropometric characteristics.

As it is shown in FIG. 2, in the present embodiment the elastic elements 4 are arranged in sets at reflexological areas corresponding to the adductor hallucis, the flexor hallucis brevis, the flexor digiti minimi brevis pedis, the abductor digiti minimi brevis pedis, the supinator wedge, the pronator wedge and the abductor hallucis.

As it is known to those skilled in the art, insole reflexology consists in the stimulation of determined points of the sole of the foot, basically corresponding to the muscle insertions of the so-called intrinsic muscles maintaining the foot arches, with which it is possible to influence the general physiology of human body for therapeutic purposes. In particular, a therapeutic correction of the ascending postural anomalies is possible.

In general, the elastic elements 4 are apt to perform a proprioceptive, exteroceptive, pressoceptive and/or reflex triggering stimulation for correcting musculoskeletal, myofascial and/or vascular disorders; for this purpose, they are arranged in correspondence of exteroceptors, proprioceptors, pressoceptors and/or any other reflexological point of the sole of the foot. Said proprioceptors, exteroceptors, pressoceptors and reflexological points, of superficial, articular and deep type, are basically located at the muscle insertions of the sole of the foot.

Of course, variant embodiments could provide elastic elements arranged in correspondence of any other point of exteroceptive, pressoceptive and reflex triggering stimulation of the sole of the foot, in association or not in association with the seven proprioceptive points indicated above.

The rigidity and/or the height of the elastic elements 4 is differentiated in different zones of the sole of the foot. In particular, FIG. 2 shows an exemplary map of the distribution of the elastic elements 4 in said selected areas. The elastic elements depicted as darker and denoted by 401 in said figure have a height and rigidity greater than the elements depicted as lighter and denoted by 402; this in order to act also as support in the various reflexological points of the sole of the foot. Hence, in the present embodiment it is provided that the height and the rigidity of the elastic elements 4 are greater at the centre of each of said selected reflexological areas of the sole of the foot.

It will be understood that the shape, the height and the elasticity of each elastic element may be selected so as to attain a correct reflexotherapic stimulation of the proprioceptors, exteroceptors, pressoceptors and reflexological points in general of the sole of the foot in each specific patient and for each specific pathology. Said parameters are selected on the basis of therapeutic indications referring to the patient who should wear on the insole 1.

Referring also to FIG. 1, during walking the elastic elements 4 deflect under the subject's load and then gradually return, as the load is eliminated, in the extended condition at rest. Preferably, the rigidity of the elastic elements 4, or of at least part thereof, is such that those, under the maximum load exerted by the subject, reduce their height of about ⅓ or of about ½.

It will be appreciated that the insole 1 provides not only a pressure stimulation, but, by virtue of the spring-like implementation of the elastic elements, also a vibratory stimulation, above all when the elastic elements are made of metal; hence, the stimulation actually is a two-fold one.

Of course, the insole of the invention is susceptible of several embodiments alternative to the one described hereto. E.g., it may be permanently incorporated into a shoe instead of being removable with respect thereto.

Moreover, the elastic elements could provide an embodiment different from the above-illustrated one, e.g. by replacing, in some or all of the elements, the helical springs with spiral compression springs.

Moreover, according to a variant embodiment it is possible to provide additional stimulation areas arranged below the toes, schematically depicted as hatched in FIG. 2 and denoted by 7, for the therapy of hammer or en griffe toes.

The present invention has hereto been described with reference to preferred embodiments thereof. It is understood that there could be other embodiments referable to the same inventive concept, all however falling within the protective scope of the claims set forth hereinafter.





 
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