Title:
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR TREATING ABNORMAL NAILS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device for treating a pincer nail includes a user-controlled rotary wand with grinding tip for passage along the nail bed. The speed of the grinding tip is variably controlled by a rheostat/motor combination. Safety sensors sense the temperature at the nail bed and along the wand so as to either warn the user of undesirable temperatures being approached and/or cease power to the grinding tip.



Inventors:
Stockbauer, Katherine A. (Lake Waukomis, MO, US)
Application Number:
13/272296
Publication Date:
04/18/2013
Filing Date:
10/13/2011
Assignee:
STOCKBAUER KATHERINE A.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45D29/05
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GILL, JENNIFER FRANCES
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
AVEK IP, LLC (Leawood, KS, US)
Claims:
Having thus described the invention, what is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is as follows:

1. An apparatus for use on a nail bed of a human comprising: a wand having a grinding tip for contact with a nail bed; a power source; means responsive to a delivery of power from said power source for rotating said wand about an imaginary, longitudinal axis passing therethrough, a rotation of said wand and said grinding tip thereon contacting the nail bed for a therapeutic abrasion thereof.

2. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1 further comprising a first sensor adjacent said grinding tip, said sensor ceasing said delivery of power from said power source upon a preselected temperature appearing at said nail bed during said abrasion.

3. The apparatus as claimed in claim 2 further comprising a second heat sensor adjacent said grinding tip, said second sensor ceasing said delivery of power from said power source upon sensing a preselected temperature along said wand at a position adjacent said grinding tip.

4. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1 further comprising a second heat sensor adjacent said grinding tip, said second sensor ceasing said delivery of power from said power source upon sensing a preselected temperature along said wand at a position adjacent said grinding tip.

5. The apparatus as claimed in claim 3 further comprising: a housing about said wand adjacent said grinding tip; at least one aperture in said housing for passage of cooling air therethrough.

6. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1 further comprising means for regulating the amount of power delivered from said power source to said rotating means, whereby to regulate the speed of rotation of said tip.

7. The apparatus as claimed in claim 2 further comprising means for providing a signal to said user that said preselected temperature at said nail bed is being approached.

8. The apparatus as claimed in claim 3 further comprising means for providing a signal to said user that said predetermined temperature at said tip is being approached.

9. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein said grinding tip is releasable from said wand.

10. An apparatus for use on a nail bed of a human comprising: a shaft having an abrasive tip at a free end thereof; a power source; means responsive to a delivery of power from said power source for rotating said shaft and said tip thereon for abrading the nail bed upon contact therewith; sensing means responsive to a predetermined temperature at the nail bed resulting from said abrading for ceasing said delivery of power.

11. The apparatus as claimed in claim 10 wherein said sensing means comprises a first sensor responsive to said predetermined temperature at the nail bed, said sensor interrupting said delivery of said power from said power source upon sensing the predetermined temperature at the nail bed.

12. The apparatus as claimed in claim 11 wherein said sensing means further comprises a second heat sensor adjacent said tip, said second sensor interrupting said delivery of power upon sensing a predetermined temperature at said tip.

13. The apparatus as claimed in claim 10 wherein said sensing means comprises a heat sensor adjacent said tip, said sensor interrupting said delivery of power upon sensing a predetermined temperature at said tip.

14. An apparatus for use on a nail bed of a human comprising: a shaft having an abrasive tip at a free end thereof; a power source; means for rotating said shaft and said tip upon a delivery of power from said power source, said tip abrading the nail bed upon contact therewith; means responsive to a predetermined temperature at the nail bed resulting from said abrading for warning an operator of said apparatus that said predetermined temperature is being approached.

15. The apparatus as claimed in claim 14 wherein said warning means comprises: a first sensor responsive to said predetermined temperature at the nail bed; a warning element; means for delivering said power to said warning element upon said first sensor response to energize said warning element.

16. The apparatus as claimed in claim 15 wherein said warning means comprises: a second heat sensor responsive to a predetermined temperature adjacent said free end of said shaft; means for delivering said power to said warning element upon said second heat sensor response to energize said warning element.

17. The apparatus as claimed in claim 14 wherein said warning means further comprises: means responsive to a second predetermined temperature adjacent said free end of said shaft for warning the operator that said second predetermined temperature is being approached.

18. The apparatus as claimed in claim 14 further comprising means for ceasing rotation of said shaft upon sensing said predetermined temperature at the nail bed during said abrading.

19. The apparatus as claimed in claim 14 further comprising means for ceasing rotation of said shaft upon sensing a predetermined temperature at a preselected location along said shaft during said abrading.

20. The apparatus as claimed in claim 18 further comprising means for ceasing rotation of said shaft upon sensing a predetermined temperature at a preselected location along said shaft during said abrading.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a method and apparatus of treating a nail condition commonly referred to as pincer nail so as to relieve the accompanying discomfort.

Pincer nails, also called omega nails, are a form of ingrown fingernails or toenails. As the lateral sides of the nail penetrate the surrounding flesh, the transverse portion of the nail therebetween forms an arcuate or over-curved surface. Such a configuration causes discomfort, if not pain, to the patient as the lateral sides of the nail are pressing into the flesh. This penetration causes the surrounding flesh to become tender, irritated and inflamed. Also, in some cases, when shoes are worn the arcuate wall is flattened which further aggravates this piercing action.

The treatments of pincer nails have involved a plurality of methods, including soaking the nail in warm water and massaging the skin away from the flesh. Removal of the nail by surgery is also done in extreme situations. Corrective filing of the free edge of the nail has also been performed as it is believed this allows the nail to grow and widen so the edges do not dig into the skin. Also a notched “V” has been cut into the free edge in an attempt to diminish the severe curvature of the transverse nail portion so that the nail will be flatter and wider. Holes have also been drilled along the sides of the nail with wires passing therethrough. Upon tightening the wire the arch of the nail will flatten causing the edge of the nails to flare away from the skin.

In some cases, acid destruction of the nail, called phenolmetrectomy, has also been performed which first removes the edge of the nail and phenol then applied to prevent growth of the nail cells. It has also been suggested that a filing of the transverse portion of the nail bed may alleviate the pain.

The above nail treatments are relatively severe, vary widely and costly. Such various treatments are indicative that no one method has been found consistently satisfactory.

Thus, an apparatus for a conservative and cost-effective treatment of pincer nails which allows the user to safely and effectively thin the nail so as to alleviate the accompanying discomfort is desired.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In response thereto. I have invented an instrument for safely attenuating the thickness of a human nail and thus reducing the transverse curvature of the nail. My device basically comprises a rotary wand powered by a motor at a user-selectable speed. The wand has an abrasive grinding tip which is passed along the nail bed so as to reduce the layers thereof. A first heat sensor ceases power delivery upon a preselected temperature arising at the nail bed. Likewise, a second heat sensor responds to a preselected temperature along the shaft of the wand so as to turn off the device. This sensor further diminishes undesirable heat appearing on the nail bed. Warning lights may also advise the operator that undesirable heat temperatures are being approached at the nail bed so that the operator can switch off the device.

It is therefore a general object of this invention to provide a method and instrument for relieving discomfort associated with a pincer nail condition.

Another object of this invention is to provide a method and instrument, as aforesaid, which safely reduces the thickness of the pincer nail bed so as to reduce any associated discomfort.

A further object of this invention is to provide an instrument, as aforesaid, which presents a user-controlled rotary wand with an abrasive tip for grinding contact along the nail.

Another object of this invention is to provide an instrument, as aforesaid, wherein the speed of the grinding tip is regulated by the user.

A still further object of this invention is to provide an instrument, as aforesaid, wherein at least one heat sensor is responsive to the temperature adjacent the grinding tip so as to cease operation and avoid undesirable heat appearing at the nail bed.

Another further object of this invention is to provide an instrument, as aforesaid, wherein said at least one heat sensor will preclude delivery of power to the rotary wand upon an undesirable temperature being reached at the grinding tip or along the adjacent rotary wand, or both.

Other objects and advantages of this invention will become apparent from the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein is set forth by way of illustration and example, a now preferred embodiment of this invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing the apparatus 100 for treating the pincer nail condition;

FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic view showing various degrees of curvature of nails having the pincer nail condition;

FIG. 3 is a lateral, sectional view showing the interior of the housing of the apparatus of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a view showing the rotary wand of the apparatus;

FIG. 5 shows the application of the abrasive tip along an inflicted nail;

FIG. 6 is a top view showing the housing of the apparatus in an open position; and

FIG. 7 is a block diagram showing one form of basic circuitry of the apparatus.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Turning more particularly to the drawings, FIG. 1 basically shows the device 100 as having a housing 200 for the electronic components of the device. Extending from the housing is a flexible cable 202 surrounding an elongated, flexible rotary shaft 220. One end of the rotary shaft is coupled to an electric motor 300 at 222 with the other end 224 presenting a housing 226 for insertion of the shaft 228 of the grinding tip 230 therein. Surrounding the end of the shaft 220 is a handle 250 for grasping by a user. Air vents 252 about the handle 250 allow for air circulation about the shaft 220. Switch 254 is wired into the electronic circuitry so as to deliver on/off power to motor 300 and rotate shaft 220.

As shown in FIGS. 3 and 6, an electric motor 300 is mounted within housing 200. One end of the rotary shaft 220 is rotatably coupled to motor 300. Electrical power to the motor 300 is delivered from a power source by a power cord 400. Delivery of power to the motor can either be controlled by switch 254 on handle 250, an on/off switch 310 on housing 200 or regulated by a rheostat 350 dial on housing 200. Accordingly, the rheostat 350 will variably control the speed of the motor 300 and thus rotation of the shaft 220 coupled thereto. This shaft 220 rotation rotates the grinding tip 230.

As diagrammatically shown in the FIG. 7 circuitry, first and second sensors 280, 290 are positioned along the terminal end of the rotary shaft 220. Such temperature sensors 280, 290 are known in the art and may be of the infrared type so as to measure temperatures from a heat source, e.g., the tip 230 or nail bed. Sensors 280, 290 will present an open in the FIG. 7 circuitry upon sensing a certain temperature so as to cease power to motor 300. Thus, such sensors 280, 290 will operate as temperature switches.

The first sensor 280 (FIG. 5) detects the temperature at the tip 230 and will cease power to the motor as diagrammatically shown in FIG. 7 upon an undesirable temperature arising at the nail bed. A second sensor 290 (FIG. 4) detects the temperature along the rotary shaft and will cease power to the motor once an undesirable temperature is reached thereat as diagrammatically shown in FIG. 7. It is understood that such sensors 280, 290 have the selected trigger/threshold temperatures designed therein. Thus, one can choose the sensor according to the undesirable temperature maximum at the nail bed, e.g., 150° F. The use of two sensors is recommended as detritus arising from the nail bed may diminish the reliability of sensor 280. Thus, a measurement of the temperature along the end of shaft 220 is desirable as the heat arising from the nail bed will be transferred therealong.

FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic view showing the various curvatures in pincer nails. As the curvature of the nail increases, as viewed from left to right, the lateral edges of the nail will progressively dig into the skin of the patient and thus increase the accompanying discomfort. Accordingly, it is desirable to reduce the curvature of such a nail so as to decrease discomfort.

As best shown in FIG. 5, this curvature is achieved by passing the abrasive tip 230 of the rotary wand along the nail bed so as to successively reduce the layers of the nail bed and thus the curvature thereof. I have found such a thinning of the nail results in a pressure relief and reduces any accompanying discomfort associated with the pincer nail.

During use the rotation of the tip 230 can be controlled by the on/off switch 310 found on the housing or by switch 254. The speed of rotation of tip 230 can be controlled by the rheostat dial 350 found atop the box. As above, power delivery is also controlled by a sensor 280, 290 adjacent the rheostat dial.

It is understood that heat sensors 282, 292 can be incorporated into the power circuitry, as shown by dotted lines in FIG. 7, so as to illuminate light 294 and warn the operator that undesirable maximum temperatures at the nail bed is being approached. In such cases the sensors 282, 292 will have first and second threshold temperatures preferably at a temperature lower than the threshold temperature of sensors 280, 290. Once the temperature is sensed, the normally open sensor switches 282, 292 will close causing the light 294 to illuminate. Thus, the user will be warned to cease grinding so as to avoid the subsequent higher temperature at the nail bed and cessation of power. It is also understood that sensors 280, 290, 282, 292 may be combined and placed in the circuitry so that sensors will first illuminate light 294 and then cease power delivery upon threshold temperatures being reached along the shaft 222, grinding tip 230 or nail bed.

Accordingly, I have found that the above device effectively relieves the thickness of the nail so as to provide cost-effective relief for the patient.

It is to be understood that while a certain now preferred form of this invention have been illustrated and described, it is not limited thereto except insofar as such limitations are included in the following claims.