Title:
Hand protecting device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A gripping glove for supporting and protecting the hand of a weightlifter or other user performing an activity that is strenuous to the hand. The gripping glove cushions the junction of the fingers and palm without constricting flexibility or airflow to the skin. Constructed of flexible resilient material, the glove has an insert made of a resilient compressible flexible elastic substance. The insert cushions the palm of the hand without affecting finger articulation. The gripping glove may be of varying sizes to best support both male and female hands as well as juvenile and adult hands.



Inventors:
Provezano, Nick (Metairie, LA, US)
Lentini, Joseph (Kenner, LA, US)
Application Number:
12/012289
Publication Date:
08/06/2009
Filing Date:
02/01/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/16, 2/161.1, 2/163
International Classes:
A41D13/08; A41D19/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HADEN, SALLY CLINE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KEATY LAW FIRM, LLC (NEW ORLEANS, LA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A hand protection device, comprising: a flexible resilient shell having a peripheral edge and a bottom surface, said bottom surface is sized and configured to cover at least an area of a palm of a human hand between a carpal bone zone and a metacarpal zone without extending over distal phalanges; a flexible resilient compressible insert fitted into the shell between the peripheral edge and the bottom surface, said insert having an upper surface; and a finger-engaging means secured to the upper surface of the insert for engaging fingers of a user.

2. The device of claim 1, wherein said peripheral edge is defined by a first elongated side, a second elongated side, a first end and a second end unitary connected to form the peripheral edge.

3. The device of claim 2, wherein said second side has longitudinal dimensions greater than the first elongated side.

4. The device of claim 1, wherein the first elongated side and the first end and the second end are connected by curved corner edge.

5. The device of claim 1, wherein the first elongated side and the first end and the second end are connected by a curved corner edge, and wherein the second elongated side, the first end and the second end are connected by a curved corner edge.

6. The device of claim 1, wherein said finger engaging means comprises a flexible resilient stretchable band comprising a plurality of loops for engaging the user's fingers.

7. The device of claim 2, wherein said first end has an arcuate configuration.

8. The device of claim 2, wherein said first end extends at a substantially acute angle in relation to the second elongated side.

9. The device of claim 1, wherein said insert is formed from a material selected from a group comprising an elastomer, polymer gel and dry polymer substance.

10. The device of claim 1, wherein said insert is formed from a polymer gel substance.

11. A hand protection device, comprising: a flexible resilient shell having a peripheral edge and a bottom surface, said bottom surface is sized and configured to cover at least an area of a palm of a human hand between a carpal bone zone and a metacarpal zone without extending over distal phalanges, said shell having a first elongated side and an opposed second elongated side, and wherein said second elongated side has longitudinal dimension at least slightly greater than the first elongated side; a flexible resilient compressible elastic insert fitted into the shell between the peripheral edge and the bottom surface, said insert having an upper surface; and a finger-engaging means secured to the upper surface of the insert for engaging fingers of a user.

12. The device of claim 11, wherein said finger engaging means comprises a flexible resilient stretchable band formed into a plurality of loops for receiving fingers of the user therein.

13. The device of claim 11, wherein said peripheral edge is defined by the first elongated side, the second elongated side, a first end and a second end unitary connected to form the peripheral edge.

14. The device of claim 13, wherein said first end is defined by an arc.

15. The device of claim 13, the first elongated side and the first end and the second end are connected by a curved corner edge, and wherein the second elongated side, the first end and the second end are connected by a curved corner edge.

16. A method of protecting a human hand from abrasion by an item being lifted, the method comprising the steps: providing a flexible resilient hand-protecting pad sized and configured to cover at least an area of a human hand between a carpal bone zone and a metacarpal zone without extending over distal phalanges, said pad having a peripheral edge and a bottom surface; providing a flexible compressible resilient elastic insert fitted between the peripheral edge and the bottom surface; providing a plurality of finger engaging loops secured on a top surface of the insert; engaging fingers in said loops such that user's thumb is not covered by the pad, while user's palm in the area between a carpal bone zone and a metacarpal zone contacts the insert and is covered by the pad without extending over distal phalanges.

17. The method of claim 16, wherein said insert is formed from a material selected from the group consisting of elastomer, dry polymer and polymer gel substance.

18. The method of claim 16, wherein said finger engaging loops are formed from a flexible resilient stretchable material.

19. The device of claim 11, wherein said pad comprises a peripheral edge defined by a first elongated side, a second elongated side, a first end and a second end unitary connected to form the peripheral edge, and wherein said second elongated edge is at least slightly longer the first elongated edge, and wherein said first end has an arcuate configuration.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Gloves have been used since the beginning of time and serve numerous functions such as to warm, decorate or protect the hand. Protective gloves provide an impenetrable barrier between toxic materials and the human skin or serve as a shield against abrasions, bruises, cuts and calluses. Throughout the centuries, gloves have been manufactured in a variety of materials such as rubber, latex, leather, or cloth and for a variety of purposes, for instance, surgery, gardening, defense against cold weather, as well as gloves developed for sports such as baseball, golf, hockey and weightlifting.

While there are many athletic and stress-reducing gloves available, many problems arise from their current designs. They can be confining, blocking the air circulation to the outside of the hand as well as the majority portion of the inside of the hand, creating heat buildup and hence, sweat; this can impair traction, which is especially important in weightlifting and other activities where a cylindrical—often heavy—object is repetitively lifted. Numerous gloves have had cutaways to solve this problem, however when the cutaway occurs, the normal amount of material that would be available for grasping the item that is being gripped by the hand and lifted is also diminished.

Conventionally, when a user is lifting weights or performing other prolonged strenuous activities related to gripping a cylindrical object, for instance weightlifting, digging and shoveling dirt or snow, swinging a baseball bat or the like, the hands undergo a tremendous amount of stress. If barehanded, the user will develop unwanted and unhealthy calluses on the hand where the weights are most commonly gripped. The stress of repetitive, irritating motion pulls the skin in the juncture of the fingers (at the metacarpal phalanx joint) and the hand, causing sores and blisters. Sweat and dirt may inflame these open sores and make further exercise painful or impossible.

Unfortunately, most of the currently available gloves for this type of activity do not lessen the likelihood of discomfort and calluses. Specifically, calluses may still form where confining material bunches up and sweat is trapped between the skin of the user's hand and the material of the glove. If the glove is not effective, the user is more likely to not use it and to perform the activity barehanded, bringing us full cycle back to the original problems associated with this kind of activity.

A number of patents have been issued on different designs of hand-protecting gloves. For instance, U.S. Pat. No. 4,754,499 discloses a gripper pad for providing a non-slip grip on a weightlifting bar. However, the pad extends beyond the edges of the palm and covers a large portion of the hand, which could make it uncomfortable and unwieldy on the user's hand. U.S. Pat. No. D546,954 discloses an orthopedic device to shield the hands, which appears to be bulky, covering most of the fingers. U.S. Pat. No. 6,898,802 teaches grip-gloves to absorb shock during weightlifting. However, the single strap to secure the grip glove to the hand may not provide the utmost protection and may easily break. The surface of the glove itself, while flexible, appears to be stiff and covers the entirety of the palm, which may be uncomfortable to the hand and discourage the user from wearing. U.S. Pat. No. D465,617 discloses a weightlifting glove that provides loops and holes for the fingers as well as the thumb. It has a baseball “mitt”-like appearance and thus it appears that the glove will interfere with the repetitive motion of weightlifting. U.S. Pat. No. 4,977,621 discloses a general utility handgrip assist pad that is manufactured from Neoprene with a thicker portion at the heel of the hand that appears to be cumbersome when the user grips an object. The pad is affixed to the hand with finger holes, but it appears that the band would slip out of place on the hand and the user would be forced to concentrate extra attention to keeping it in place or would likely not use the device. U.S. Pat. No. 5,600,853 discloses an orthopedic glove that wraps securely around the user's hand and this will strangle the hand's ability to breath, for the skin to contact the air. The material of the glove will not conform to both the hand and the object to be lifted which may restrict the traction between the hand and the object. U.S. Pat. No. 5,173,963 teaches a protective band for the hand that resembles a catcher's mitt or boxing glove. This glove is entirely unsuitable for the lifting of cylindrical objects and the size and shape of the glove will restrict both the motion of the hand and airflow.

Still another example of a prior design is shown in U.S. Pat. No. D363,146, where a hand protector is secured by opposing tabs which connect at the back of the hand while the pad of the protector covers the entire palm. However, because there is nothing to secure the pad to the fingers, the user will find that the device shifts up towards the fingers and down towards the palm, especially as the strenuous repetitive motion loosens the opposing tabs. U.S. Pat. No. 5,081,715 discloses a palm protector that covers the entirety of the lower palm and thumb, but leaves free and unprotected the crucial finger and palm juncture that specifically curls around the object to be lifted. The base of the user's palm will be protected, but is likely to overheat in the enclosed protector.

While the patented devices may work satisfactory in many environments, they still leave an area for improvement, especially where the user engages in repetitive weightlifting activity.

The present invention contemplates elimination of drawbacks associated with the prior designs and provision of a hand-protecting band that is particularly adapted for use in weight-lifting activity or where a user lifts circular objects, around which a hand is curled.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore, an object of the present invention to provide a hand-protecting device for supporting and protecting the user's hand during strenuous activity.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a hand-protecting device that allows freedom and flexibility of use without constraining the movements.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a hand-protecting device that allows air circulation to cool the hand during strenuous activities.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a hand-protecting device that is flexible enough to allow the user to curl finger around a cylindrical object and still cushions the palm and fingers of the user's hand.

These and other objects of the invention are achieved through a provision of a hand protection device, which comprises a flexible resilient shell having a peripheral edge and a bottom surface, said bottom surface being sized and configured to cover at least an area of a palm of a human hand between a carpal bone zone and a metacarpal zone without extending over distal phalanges.

The shell, or pad has a first elongated side and an opposed second elongated side, with the second elongated side having longitudinal dimension at least slightly greater than the first elongated side. A flexible resilient compressible insert made of an elastomer, dry polymer or polymer gel is fitted into the shell between the peripheral edge and the bottom surface, said insert having an upper surface. A flexible stretchable band formed into a plurality of finger-engaging loops is secured to the upper surface of the insert for engaging fingers of a user, without engaging the user's thumb.

The gripping glove of this invention supports and protects the hand of a weightlifter or other user performing an activity that is strenuous to the hand. The gripping glove cushions the junction of the fingers and palm without constricting flexibility or airflow to the skin. Constructed of flexible resilient material, the glove has an insert made of a resilient compressible flexible elastic substance. The insert cushions the palm of the hand without affecting finger articulation. The gripping glove may be of varying sizes to best support both male and female hands as well as juvenile and adult hands.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the hand-protecting device in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a cutaway view of the device in accordance with the present invention illustrating an inner insert.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the device in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a side elevation of the device of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a detail view showing a resilient insert for use in the device of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is an illustration of the device of the present invention positioned on a user's hand and contacting an object being lifted.

FIG. 7 is an illustration of the critical areas on the user's hand, which the band of the present invention protects.

FIG. 8 is an illustration of the device protecting the palm of the user's hand.

FIG. 9 is an illustration of the device of the present invention engaging the user's fingers.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Turning now to the drawings in more detail, numeral 10 designates the hand-protecting device of the present invention. The device 10 comprises a flexible, resilient shell, or pad 12 having a peripheral edge defined by a first elongated side 14, a second elongated side 16, a first end 18 and a second end 20. The pad 12 has a uniform bottom surface 24. The shell 12 can be formed from a number of materials, one of the preferred materials being a synthetic rubber, such as Neoprene.

As can be seen in the drawings, the side 14 is somewhat smaller in longitudinal dimension than the side 16. The end 18 of the shell 12 has a curved configuration, and connects to the sides 14 and 16 by curved corners 26, 28. The end 20 can be straight (FIG. 1) or slightly arched (FIG. 2), if desired, and connects to the sides 14 and 16 by the curved corners 30, 32, respectively. The first end 18 extends at a substantially acute angle in relation to the second elongated 16.

A flexible, compressible, resilient insert 40 is positioned in the shell 12, fitted into a “pocket” formed by the bottom 24, the sides 14, 16 and ends 18 and 20. The size and configuration of the insert 40 generally conforms to the configuration of the shell 12, such that the insert 40 fits inside the peripheral edge of the shell 12 and rests on the bottom 24. Similarly to the peripheral configuration of the shell 12, the insert 40 has a narrow corner 46 defined between end wall 48 and a side 50. The insert 40 has rounded sides and corners, as can be seen in FIG. 5 so as to tightly fit into the shell 12.

The insert 40 can be made of elastomer, polymer gel material or dry-polymer gel material suitable to be fitted into the shell 12. The upper surface 42 of the insert 40 is exposed between the sides 14, 16 and the ends 18, 20. The surface 42 forms the top surface of the band 10. The insert 40 resiliently flexes and bends together with the shell 12 as can be seen in FIG. 6.

Secured to the upper surface 42 of the insert is a plurality of finger loops 50 that are sized and configured to receive fingers of the user's hand therein. The loops 50 can be formed from a band of flexible stretchable resilient material, for instance elastic band made of cotton, polyester, braid elastic, latex and the like. The band is secured to the upper surface 42 of the insert 40 by stitching, adhesive, by heat or any other suitable method. The band is folded and stitched at to the surface 42 at predetermined intervals to form the loops 50.

The band 10 is sized to extend at least between the area 60 along the carpal bone zone and the metacarpal zone 62. If desired the width of the body 12 can be selected for the side 14 to extend over the proximal phalanges on the palm side of the hand. The loops are positioned to engage at least a part of the proximal phalanges. It is preferred that the shell not extend over the distal phalanges, leaving the ends of the finger free to articulate. The narrow corner 28 is located adjacent the little finger (FIG. 8). Since the end 18 tapers towards the middle finger, the device 10 does not interfere with the normal articulation of the hand.

In use, a person inserts the fingers in the loops 50, with the palm of the person's hand contacting the insert 40. The person can then grip a cylindrical object 54, with the bottom surface 24 contacting the cylindrical object 54 and frictionally engaging the object 54. It is preferred that the bottom surface 24 provide a non-slip surface, thereby facilitating lifting of the object 54. The thumb 56 is free to engage the object 54, as well.

Although the drawings illustrate a hand-protecting device made for the human right hand, it will be apparent to persons skilled in the art that a mirror image device can be made for positioning on the user's left hand.

The device of the present invention protects the user's hand from calluses and tears due to the stress of lifting the object. The elastic finger loops ensure that the shell 12 does not slip out of place or off the hand. The device 10 is sized to cover the critical areas involved in lifting of weights and allows the rest of the hand is exposed so that the skin may breathe. The particular advantage of the instant device is that it does not interfere with the fingers' articulation, allowing the user to curl the hand around an object and securely grip the object during lifting.

Other workout gloves may cover a larger portion or the entire hand and are often unsatisfactory to users. They do not allow the hand breathing room, which causes the hand to sweat atypically and can make the glove uncomfortable or unwieldy. The gripping hand-protecting device of the instant invention protects the pertinent area of the hand, but still allows much of the hand to be free to breathe and to flex as needed. In the instant device, only the portion of the hand crucial to gripping is covered, allowing the majority of the hand freedom of movement.

It will be understood that the particular shapes and materials of the outer shell, the gel insert and finger loops are exemplary and can be easily modified depending on the requirements of the user's hand. For instance, the gripping glove may be smaller to fit the hand appropriately for women and adolescents or larger to fit the hand of males and adults. Also, the material may be decorated with designs that may be glued, sewn or otherwise incorporated, such as a camouflage pattern for the particular use of sportsmen, or the school mascot of a specific sports team.

Many other changes and modifications may be made in the design of the present invention without departing from the spirit thereof. I therefore pray that my rights to the present invention be limited only by the scope of the appended claims.