Elastic arc anatomical shoulder pulley system
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An Elastic Arc Anatomical Shoulder Pulley System for use in rehabilitation of various shoulder conditions. The device provides a means that a user can employ to produce passive shoulder motion that approximates the normal arc the shoulder describes during active movement. A door unit is included that allows for a convenient attachment site of a pulley. An arc that has elastic properties is routed through a pulley that is located above the user's head. Handles are attached to the elastic arc. The user pulls down on one handle to accomplish upward movement of an injured arm. The arc shape of the elastic arc insures that the movement produced corresponds to the normal arc shaped movement of the shoulder that is produced during active movement.

Gustafson, Norman P. (Pittsburgh, PA, US)
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Primary Examiner:
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Norman P. Gustafson (Pittsburgh, PA, US)
I claim:

1. An Elastic Arc Anatomical Shoulder Pulley System for producing passive movement of a user's shoulder in an anatomical arced fashion consisting of: a. a door unit with means of attaching said door unit to a standard door b. a pulley and pulley height adjuster that are attached to said door unit c. an elastic arc d. upper and lower handles

2. The device of claim one wherein said elastic arc is formed of material allowing elastic deformation of said elastic arc and return to the original shape.

3. The upper and lower handles of claim one wherein said upper and lower handles are flexibly and detachably connected to said elastic arc.

4. The pulley and pulley height adjuster of claim one wherein said pulley height adjuster provides a means of adjusting the vertical height of said pulley.



1. Field of Invention

This invention is a modification containing new art that is related to my coexisting patent application Ser. No. 10/863,436 for an Anatomical Shoulder Pulley System. This invention relates to a device that can be used in shoulder rehabilitation to assist a person's shoulder movement in an arc that approximates the arc that is produced during normal active, non assisted motion.

2. Description of Prior Art

There are many shoulder injuries, surgeries or other conditions that require rehabilitation. Rotator cuff injuries, humeral fractures, and frozen shoulder are among this category. During the rehabilitation phase of these conditions it is often beneficial for the injured person to perform passive or assisted motion when they are not capable of performing full active range of motion. Passive or assisted range of motion has the positive effect of maintaining joint structure and integrity as well as maintaining or restoring the proper length of muscles and connective tissue structures.

Devices that are known that can accomplish passive or assisted shoulder motion can be grouped into two categories, pulleys that use a downward motion of the opposite arm to lift the injured arm upward and continuous passive motion devices. There are a number of commercially available pulley systems. These systems consist of a rope with handles and a pulley that is attached to the top portion of a doorway. While these systems are effective in lifting the injured shoulder upward, they have the disadvantage of using linear forces (the straight angle pull of the rope) to produce rotary motion of the shoulder. This is problematic for the user as a linear upward force produces a force that translates the humerus upward and may result in a close approximation of the humerus to the acromion. This is known as shoulder impingement. Impingement is often the very condition that caused the patient's initial shoulder problem. CPM's or continuous passive motion devices are machines that are based on the research of Dr. Robert B. Salter that demonstrated the benefits of safe continuous passive motion vs. immobilization in the treatment of injuries. Many of these devices are commercially available for the shoulder and other joints. These devices consist of electric motors and machined actuators to produce motion and are thus expensive. There remains therefore a real need for a device that can safely and inexpensively assist a person with shoulder motion that corresponds to physiologic or anatomical movement.


Accordingly it is an object of the current invention to provide a device that can assist a person with shoulder movement through the range of motion

It is a further object of the invention to provide a device that is capable of assisting shoulder motion in an arc that approximates anatomical motion.

It is a further object of the current invention to provide a device that can assist a person with forward shoulder flexion movement.

To accomplish these objectives the device consists of a door unit that provides a base for the device that can be secured to any standard sized door. A second section of the device is a pulley that is suspended from the door unit. A third section of the device is an elastic arc that is made of elastic material such that the arced shape can be deformed and return to the original shape. This elastic arc runs through the pulley during use. A fourth section of the device consists of handles that the user employs to move the arced track.


FIG. 1 is a side view of the device being used.


With reference to figure one, an elastic arc 1 is shown. This elastic arc is routed through a pulley 2. The pulley is attached to a door unit 3. A pulley height adjuster 4 allows vertical height adjustment of the pulley. An upper handle 5 and lower handle 6 are attached to the elastic arc.


Referring to figure one, a typical application of the invention is shown. For shoulder flexion, the user will sit facing a doorway. For shoulder abduction movement the user will sit at a 90 degree angle to the door. The door unit 3 is positioned over a door. The elastic arc 1 is routed through the pulley 2. The pulley height adjuster 4 is positioned to accommodate the arm length of the individual user. The user grasps the upper handle 5 in one hand and the lower handle 6 in the other hand. In this set up it is assumed the injured arm is holding the lower handle 6. The user pulls down on the upper handle 5 and the elastic arc is pulled through the pulley 2. The arm holding the lower handle 6 is thus moved upward in an arced fashion. The elastic arc 1 is capable of deformation such that as the upper handle 5 moves downward the elastic arc 1 can be flexed to accommodate comfortable movement.