GB2552359A - Lower limb support device - Google Patents

Lower limb support device Download PDF

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Publication number
GB2552359A
GB2552359A GB1612627.8A GB201612627A GB2552359A GB 2552359 A GB2552359 A GB 2552359A GB 201612627 A GB201612627 A GB 201612627A GB 2552359 A GB2552359 A GB 2552359A
Authority
GB
United Kingdom
Prior art keywords
support device
foot
padded member
leg portion
portion
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Pending
Application number
GB1612627.8A
Other versions
GB201612627D0 (en
Inventor
Browning Neil
Ogilvie-Thompson Christopher
Ogilvie-Thompson Luke
Ewans John
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Well Healed Ltd
Original Assignee
Well Healed Ltd
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by Well Healed Ltd filed Critical Well Healed Ltd
Priority to GB1612627.8A priority Critical patent/GB2552359A/en
Publication of GB201612627D0 publication Critical patent/GB201612627D0/en
Publication of GB2552359A publication Critical patent/GB2552359A/en
Application status is Pending legal-status Critical

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Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61FFILTERS IMPLANTABLE INTO BLOOD VESSELS; PROSTHESES; DEVICES PROVIDING PATENCY TO, OR PREVENTING COLLAPSING OF, TUBULAR STRUCTURES OF THE BODY, e.g. STENTS; ORTHOPAEDIC, NURSING OR CONTRACEPTIVE DEVICES; FOMENTATION; TREATMENT OR PROTECTION OF EYES OR EARS; BANDAGES, DRESSINGS OR ABSORBENT PADS; FIRST-AID KITS
    • A61F5/00Orthopaedic methods or devices for non-surgical treatment of bones or joints; Nursing devices; Anti-rape devices
    • A61F5/01Orthopaedic devices, e.g. splints, casts or braces
    • A61F5/0195Shoe-like orthopaedic devices for protecting the feet against injuries after operations
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A43FOOTWEAR
    • A43BCHARACTERISTIC FEATURES OF FOOTWEAR; PARTS OF FOOTWEAR
    • A43B7/00Footwear with health or hygienic arrangements
    • A43B7/14Footwear with foot-supporting parts
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A43FOOTWEAR
    • A43BCHARACTERISTIC FEATURES OF FOOTWEAR; PARTS OF FOOTWEAR
    • A43B7/00Footwear with health or hygienic arrangements
    • A43B7/14Footwear with foot-supporting parts
    • A43B7/1405Footwear with foot-supporting parts provided with pads or holes on one or more locations, or having an anatomical or curved form
    • A43B7/1455Footwear with foot-supporting parts provided with pads or holes on one or more locations, or having an anatomical or curved form with special properties
    • A43B7/147Footwear with foot-supporting parts provided with pads or holes on one or more locations, or having an anatomical or curved form with special properties for sick or disabled persons, e.g. persons having osteoarthritis or diabetes
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A43FOOTWEAR
    • A43BCHARACTERISTIC FEATURES OF FOOTWEAR; PARTS OF FOOTWEAR
    • A43B7/00Footwear with health or hygienic arrangements
    • A43B7/14Footwear with foot-supporting parts
    • A43B7/18Joint supports, e.g. instep supports
    • A43B7/20Ankle-joint supports or holders
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61FFILTERS IMPLANTABLE INTO BLOOD VESSELS; PROSTHESES; DEVICES PROVIDING PATENCY TO, OR PREVENTING COLLAPSING OF, TUBULAR STRUCTURES OF THE BODY, e.g. STENTS; ORTHOPAEDIC, NURSING OR CONTRACEPTIVE DEVICES; FOMENTATION; TREATMENT OR PROTECTION OF EYES OR EARS; BANDAGES, DRESSINGS OR ABSORBENT PADS; FIRST-AID KITS
    • A61F13/00Bandages or dressings; Absorbent pads
    • A61F13/06Bandages or dressings; Absorbent pads specially adapted for feet or legs; Corn-pads; Corn-rings
    • A61F13/064Bandages or dressings; Absorbent pads specially adapted for feet or legs; Corn-pads; Corn-rings for feet
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61FFILTERS IMPLANTABLE INTO BLOOD VESSELS; PROSTHESES; DEVICES PROVIDING PATENCY TO, OR PREVENTING COLLAPSING OF, TUBULAR STRUCTURES OF THE BODY, e.g. STENTS; ORTHOPAEDIC, NURSING OR CONTRACEPTIVE DEVICES; FOMENTATION; TREATMENT OR PROTECTION OF EYES OR EARS; BANDAGES, DRESSINGS OR ABSORBENT PADS; FIRST-AID KITS
    • A61F13/00Bandages or dressings; Absorbent pads
    • A61F13/06Bandages or dressings; Absorbent pads specially adapted for feet or legs; Corn-pads; Corn-rings
    • A61F13/08Elastic stockings; for contracting aneurisms
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61FFILTERS IMPLANTABLE INTO BLOOD VESSELS; PROSTHESES; DEVICES PROVIDING PATENCY TO, OR PREVENTING COLLAPSING OF, TUBULAR STRUCTURES OF THE BODY, e.g. STENTS; ORTHOPAEDIC, NURSING OR CONTRACEPTIVE DEVICES; FOMENTATION; TREATMENT OR PROTECTION OF EYES OR EARS; BANDAGES, DRESSINGS OR ABSORBENT PADS; FIRST-AID KITS
    • A61F5/00Orthopaedic methods or devices for non-surgical treatment of bones or joints; Nursing devices; Anti-rape devices
    • A61F5/01Orthopaedic devices, e.g. splints, casts or braces
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61FFILTERS IMPLANTABLE INTO BLOOD VESSELS; PROSTHESES; DEVICES PROVIDING PATENCY TO, OR PREVENTING COLLAPSING OF, TUBULAR STRUCTURES OF THE BODY, e.g. STENTS; ORTHOPAEDIC, NURSING OR CONTRACEPTIVE DEVICES; FOMENTATION; TREATMENT OR PROTECTION OF EYES OR EARS; BANDAGES, DRESSINGS OR ABSORBENT PADS; FIRST-AID KITS
    • A61F5/00Orthopaedic methods or devices for non-surgical treatment of bones or joints; Nursing devices; Anti-rape devices
    • A61F5/01Orthopaedic devices, e.g. splints, casts or braces
    • A61F5/0102Orthopaedic devices, e.g. splints, casts or braces specially adapted for correcting deformities of the limbs or for supporting them; Ortheses, e.g. with articulations
    • A61F5/0104Orthopaedic devices, e.g. splints, casts or braces specially adapted for correcting deformities of the limbs or for supporting them; Ortheses, e.g. with articulations without articulation
    • A61F5/0111Orthopaedic devices, e.g. splints, casts or braces specially adapted for correcting deformities of the limbs or for supporting them; Ortheses, e.g. with articulations without articulation for the feet or ankles
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61FFILTERS IMPLANTABLE INTO BLOOD VESSELS; PROSTHESES; DEVICES PROVIDING PATENCY TO, OR PREVENTING COLLAPSING OF, TUBULAR STRUCTURES OF THE BODY, e.g. STENTS; ORTHOPAEDIC, NURSING OR CONTRACEPTIVE DEVICES; FOMENTATION; TREATMENT OR PROTECTION OF EYES OR EARS; BANDAGES, DRESSINGS OR ABSORBENT PADS; FIRST-AID KITS
    • A61F5/00Orthopaedic methods or devices for non-surgical treatment of bones or joints; Nursing devices; Anti-rape devices
    • A61F5/01Orthopaedic devices, e.g. splints, casts or braces
    • A61F5/04Devices for stretching or reducing fractured limbs; Devices for distractions; Splints
    • A61F5/05Devices for stretching or reducing fractured limbs; Devices for distractions; Splints for immobilising
    • A61F5/058Splints
    • A61F5/05841Splints for the limbs
    • A61F5/0585Splints for the limbs for the legs

Abstract

A lower limb support device 400 for a lower limb comprising a calf 480, a heel 482 and a foot 484, comprises a padded member 410 for supporting an extended area of the lower limb; wherein the padded member extends along an axis of the lower limb so as to allow the heel to protrude without contacting the padded member. In a first embodiment a casing 420 comprising a leg portion 430, which supports the padded member and holds it fast around the calf, and a foot portion 440 linked to the leg portion is provided, the leg portion and padded member being configured for releasable attachment (e.g. using straps 412) around a calf of a user. In a second embodiment a compression stocking/sock (1310, Fig 13) is provided, the padded member (1320, Fig 13) being attached to the compression sock and forming, in use, a concave surface for placement against the lower limb (1386, Fig 13), and a foot strap (1350, Fig 13) which is attached to the padded member and configured, in use, to abut the lower surface of the foot (1356, Fig 13).

Description

LOWER LIMB SUPPORT DEVICE

Field of the invention

The invention relates to a lower limb support for alleviating and/or diminishing pressure. In particular, the invention may be of assistance in the prevention of decubitus ulcers from forming on a heel of a lower limb.

Background of the invention

Limb support devices may serve to alleviate, prevent formation of, and/or diminish pressure on a blemish, wound or decubitus ulcer. A decubitus ulcer is commonly known as a 'pressure ulcer'. These effects are achieved by elevating a vulnerable part of the body above a surface. A typical scenario is when a person’s leg is raised above a surface while reclining, for example when the person is bedbound. In this orientation, an injured foot is held off the floor.

These devices are typically used for people who are bedridden, or who may have been confined to 'long term' bed rest. In these cases, it is relatively common for these people to develop bedsores on parts of the body that are in contact and under pressure from the weight of their bodies.

For certain parts of the body, for example the heel, it is particularly important to prevent bedsores. This is because these regions typically have a poor blood supply. Thus, once a bedsore develops, it is usually very difficult for the bedsore to heal. In some extreme cases, this may eventually necessitate amputation of the affected limb. W02007040543 discloses a patient elevating device comprising an elongated cushion that can be positioned under an immobile patient to relieve pressure to a bony prominence, surrounding the area without covering the wound. A disadvantage with this device is that it is designed for immobile patients. Therefore, if a patient were to change position, the device may shift position and, therefore, may become ineffective at reducing pressure to the bony prominence. Furthermore, a patient who is mobile would not be able to leave their rest position without removing the device. US5449339 and US20070073208 disclose a heel-supporting protective boot for bed patients. The boot is capable of supporting a leg of a person in a supine reclining position, such as a bedridden patient, to reduce the risk of bed sores, foot droop etc.

Known devices focus on supporting limbs when a patient is immobile. Those devices are not optimised for patients who are partly mobile. Some patients may recover more quickly if they rise from a reclining position and even walk around. A disadvantage with the devices of US5449339 and US20070073208, for example, is that they are designed for immobile, bedridden patients.

If a partially mobile patient fitted with many known devices wanted to walk, the device would need to be removed. Once the patient returns to a supine reclining position, the device would then need to be refitted to the limb. This situation may deter a patient from walking as much as their condition actually permits. It may also make the patient overly reliant on the assistance of others to remove and refit the boot, for example if the patient also has upper limb impediment. That situation would require either the presence of another person for longer periods, or for a person to be available 'on call', in order to be available to remove and re-fit the device.

Therefore there is a need to provide a device that can reduce pressure on the body, yet be used by a mobile, or partly mobile patient, as well as an immobile patient.

Throughout the application, the following terms may be used: (i) 'Foot end' means the end of the limb support that is normally occupied by a foot of the lower limb, when the limb support is in use. (ii) 'Knee end' means the end of the limb support that is normally occupied by a knee of the lower limb, when the limb support is in use. (iii) 'Lower' describes any part of the limb support that is towards the bottom of the limb support, when the device is placed around a lower limb and the lower limb is lying horizontally. (iv) 'Upper' describes any part of the limb support that is towards the top of the limb support, when the device is placed around a lower limb and the lower limb is lying horizontally.

The term ‘patient’ is deemed to cover any patient or person who requires limb support. For example, post-operative patients who need to be immobile for relatively long periods of time and patients who cannot move themselves (e.g. those in a coma). Other examples are the elderly and sick who may be mobile, but who may be required to spend a relatively large amount of time in a resting position. A further example concerns people who are mobile, but who require bed rest for a prolonged period of time.

Summary of the invention

According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a lower limb support device in accordance with appended claim 1. According to a second aspect of the present invention there is provided a lower limb support device in accordance with appended claim 30. Further details of embodiments are provided in the dependent claims.

The cutaway portion in the region of the wearer’s heel ensures that no sores can develop in this region as there is no part of the limb support that can put any pressure on the heel. The cutaway portion also assists ventilation and access to the limb by medical staff, for example.

An advantage of the limb support is that it is operable, while the wearer is recumbent, to transfer the pressure of the weight of a leg, for example, from the heel (which is a small surface area) to the back of the calf (which is a large surface area). Therefore, the effect of the pressure caused by the weight of the leg, in this example, may be significantly reduced. When the heel bears the weight of the leg, this weight may compress the arteries in the heel. In severe cases, this compression can close/cut the arteries off, impeding blood supply to the tissue and causing the heel tissue to become gangrenous. The invention may permit normal blood pressure in the arteries supplying the tissues of the heel to be maintained, thereby providing normal circulation to the heel. In the presence of normal circulation, a pressure sore should not develop. A further advantage of the limb support may be that it allows the ankle, for example, to move in a less restricted manner, thereby reducing the likelihood of the ankle joint becoming frozen or stiff due to lack of movement. Furthermore, enhanced movement of the ankle may also stimulate blood flow in the veins of the calf (“the calf pump”), thereby reducing the risk of a deep vein thrombosis. A further advantage of the foot portion is that it prevents ‘foot drop’, whereby the foot has a tendency to fall away from the leg if it is unsupported. A further advantage of the limb support is that it makes minimal contact with the wearer’s skin compared with known designs. Also, it is easy to put on and take off.

It should be noted that features disclosed in any example of the invention may be combined singularly or in combination with disclosed features in any other examples of the invention.

Brief Description of the Figures

Further details, aspects and embodiments of the invention will be described, by way of example only, with reference to the drawings. In the drawings, like reference numbers are used to identify like or functionally similar elements. Elements in the figures are illustrated for simplicity and clarity and have not necessarily been drawn to scale.

The first embodiment of the invention is generally illustrated in FIGs 1-12 of the drawings. The second embodiment of the invention is generally illustrated in FIGs 13-18 of the drawings. FIG. 1 is perspective view of a first embodiment of the lower limb support device. FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the padded member. FIGs 3A-3C provide three different views of the leg portion. FIG. 4 is a side elevation view of the lower limb support device. FIG. 4B is a side elevation view of the lower limb support device in use. FIG. 5 a side cross-sectional view of the lower limb support device. FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a pad of the foot portion. FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the foot portion. FIG. 8 is an exploded view of a linkage. FIG. 9 is an elevation view of the lower limb support device, from the knee end. FIG. 10 is a plan view of the lower limb support device. FIG. 11 is a view of the lower limb support device from below. FIG. 12 is an elevation view of the lower limb support device, from the foot end. FIG. 13 a side elevation view of a padded member and stocking of a second embodiment of the invention. FIG. 14 is a plan view of the padded member of the second embodiment. FIG. 15 is a side elevation view of the padded member of the second embodiment. FIG. 16A is a plan view of the padded member of a further embodiment FIG. 16B is a partial cross-sectional, end- on elevation view of the padded member of FIG. 16A. FIG. 17 is a partial cross-sectional, side-elevation view of the padded member of FIG. 16A. FIG. 18 is a plan view of an embodiment of the padded member.

Detailed description of the preferred embodiments

In accordance with a first aspect of the invention, a lower limb support device is provided for a lower limb. The lower limb comprises a calf, a heel and a foot. The support device comprises a padded member for supporting an extended area of the calf. A casing comprises a leg portion of sufficient linear extent to support the padded member, and a foot portion. The foot portion is linked to the leg portion, whereby in use the foot portion abuts the lower surface of the foot. The leg portion and padded member are configured for releasable attachment around the calf, whereby, when attached, the leg portion holds the padded member fast around the calf.

The extent of the padded member and the leg portion along a long axis of the limb are so limited as to allow the heel to protrude without contacting the padded member or the leg portion.

Referring to FIG. 1, there is illustrated a simplified perspective view of a first embodiment of the lower limb support device.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, a lower limb support device 100 is provided for a lower limb. The lower limb comprises a calf, a heel and a foot. The support device 100 comprises a padded member 110 for supporting an extended area of the calf. A casing 120 comprises a leg portion 130. Leg portion 130 is of sufficient linear extent to support the padded member 110. Casing 120 also comprises a foot portion 140. Foot portion 140 is linked to the leg portion 130, whereby in use the foot portion 140 abuts the lower surface of the foot.

The leg portion 130 and padded member 110 are configured for releasable attachment around the calf, whereby, when attached, the leg portion 130 holds the padded member 110 fast around the calf. The extent of padded member 110 and leg portion 130 along a long axis of the limb are so limited as to allow the heel to protrude. In this configuration, the heel does not contact the padded member 110 or the leg portion 130.

Thus a first advantage of the invention can be recognised from the position of the heel. This position of the heel ensures that no pressure sores can develop in the heel, or in the area immediately around the heel, as there is no part of the lower limb support device, the bed or the mattress that can put pressure on the heel. This configuration also assists ventilation and access to the limb, by medical staff, for example. FIG. 1 also shows a resilient pad 142. Resilient pad 142 is located on a surface of the foot portion 140 facing the foot. The surface of the resilient pad 142 is configured to provide grip, when in use with a wearer of the support device 100 standing or walking. Also shown is linkage 136. Linkage 136 is arranged to connect the foot portion 140 to the leg portion 130 and is configured to allow angular rotation between the foot portion 140 and the leg portion 130.

Releasable attachment means 112 are formed integrally with, or connected to, padded member 110. Releasable attachment means 112 are operable to releasably attach together opposing edges of the leg portion 130 around the calf. FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the padded member 210. Padded member 210 in FIG. 2 corresponds to padded member 110 of FIG. 1, but is shown disassembled from the remainder of the lower limb support device 100. A first surface 250 of padded member 210 faces the calf, when in use. A second surface 260 of the padded member 210 faces the leg portion 130 of the casing 120 of FIG. 1, when the lower limb support device 100 has been assembled. FIG. 2 also shows first fastening strap 292, second fastening strap 294 and third fastening strap 296, which are flexible. First 292 fastening strap, second fastening strap 294 and third fastening strap 296 hold padded member 210 to leg portion 130 of casing 120, when lower limb support device 100 has been assembled. A fourth fastening strap is located beyond third fastening strap 296, in a portion of FIG. 2 that is obscured from the perspective chosen.

Padded member 210 may be constructed of a material having both a low density and a high breathability, to reduce heat accumulation in the leg of the wearer. Padded member 210 is made of polyester warp knitted space fabric. A cover over the padded member 210 may provide a softer surface for the skin of the lower limb. Such a cover can have antimicrobial and/or non-allergenic properties. The cover can be removable to thereby aid cleaning of the cover and/or padded member 210. FIGs 3A-3C provide three different views of the same component, which is leg portion 330. FIG. 3A is a perspective view of leg portion 330 that corresponds to leg portion 130 shown in FIG. 1. A plurality of ribs 370 on the leg portion 330 are configured to contact the second surface 260 of the padded member 210, when device 100 has been assembled. The plurality of ribs 370, therefore, act to support padded member 210. The plurality of ribs 370 are spaced apart. This spacing creates ventilation channels between the ribs, which serve to ventilate lower limb support device 100 when it is in an assembled configuration around the limb.

Leg portion 330 comprises a linear frame 322 that extends along a long direction of the lower limb, when in use. Leg portion 330 is of unitary construction, and is resilient. Casing 320, including leg portion 330, may be made from injection-moulded polypropylene.

Linear frame 322 of leg portion 330 comprises the plurality of ribs 370 along a first surface 382, facing the padded member 210. The linear frame 322 also comprises a second surface 384. Second surface 334 is configured to support the combined weight of the support device 100 and the lower limb, when the lower limb is in a supine position.

First edge 324 and second edge 326 are opposed edges of leg portion 330. Releasable attachment means 112 of FIG. 1 is operable to releasably attach together first edge 324 and second edge 326 of leg portion 330 around the calf of a lower limb. Considering now FIGs. 1, 2 and 3 together, it can be seen that leg portion 330 and padded member 210 are configured for releasable attachment around the calf of a lower limb. When a separating force is applied to first edge 324 and second edge 326, leg portion 330 is sufficiently flexible to open from a rest position, wide enough to be placed easily around a variety of sizes of calf.

Then after insertion of the calf, leg portion 330 returns to the rest position, when the separating force is removed from first edge 324 and second edge 326. Padded member 210 at least partially encloses the calf. Padded member 210 may, when seen in cross-section after insertion of the limb, take the approximate form of a U-shape.

Attachment of releasable attachment means 112 then ensures that the calf is held. When a patient stands up, leg portion 330 is therefore prevented from falling off the lower limb.

An advantage of the invention is that it is easy to put on and take off. For example, most patients should be able to put on and take off the lower limb support device, without the aid of trained helpers.

Aperture 338 is visible at the right edge of leg portion 330. Aperture 338 accommodates linkage 136. Aperture 338 cooperates with linkage 136 to allow angular rotation between foot portion 140 and leg portion 330

The plurality of ribs 370 on leg portion 330 comprises a range of ribs sizes. As illustrated in FIG.3A, the ribs 370 are of different heights and of different widths. However, in general the ribs 370 may just be of different heights. A first part 332 of leg portion 330 is located further from the foot portion 140 than a second part 334 of leg portion 330. A central channel 390 runs down the length of the ribs 370. The channel 390 runs along the long axis of linear frame 322, below a centre line of padded member 210. In use, the Achilles tendon of the lower limb lies directly above the central channel 390 in the second part 334 of leg portion 330. The Achilles tendon will thus experience less contact pressure from the padded member 210 than the pressure exerted by padded member 210 on either side of the Achilles tendon region of the lower limb.

The plurality of ribs 370 comprises a range of ribs of different heights. At least a first rib 376 is located on the first part 332 of leg portion 330. At least a second rib 378 is located on the second part 334 of leg portion 530. A height of the first rib 376 is less than a height of the second rib 378. With such a configuration, when the lower limb support device 100 is assembled around the calf with the leg portion 330 lying on a horizontal surface, a lower surface of a wider portion of the calf that lies above the first part 332 of the leg portion 330 will be held less far from the horizontal surface than a lower surface of a thinner portion of the calf that lies above the second part 334 of leg portion 330.

As illustrated in FIG. 3A, such a range of rib heights may ensure that, when a wearer of the lower limb support device 100 is supine, an upper surface of the lower limb corresponding to a shin bone lies generally horizontally. The nine ribs shown on FIG. 3A between first rib 376 and second rib 378 have not been individually referenced. However, those nine ribs have been illustrated as having successively increasing heights, moving from first rib 376 to second rib 378. The heights chosen for each rib will determine the gradient and shape of a line of contact between the second surface 260 of padded member 210 and the ribs 370. FIG. 3B shows the linear frame 322 of leg portion 330 in elevation view, with the second end 334 shown in FIG. 3A nearest to the observers location. The view provided in FIG.3B makes clearer the location of channel 390.

Also visible on FIG.3B are first rib 376 and second rib 378. The gradually increasing height of the nine ribs between first rib 376 and second rib 378 is also clear in FIG.3B. Reference 379 shows the height of second rib 375 FIG. 3C shows linear frame 322 of leg portion 330 in an end-on elevation view. However, in contrast to FIG.3B, FIG.3C shows the view from the knee end of leg portion 330, i.e. first end 332 in FIG. 3A. Channel 390 is very clearly visible at the lower centre of FIG.3C. First rib 376 and second rib 378 are also visible. FIG. 4A is a side elevation view of the lower limb support device 400. Padded member 410, leg portion 430 and releasable attachment means 412 are shown. Casing 420, foot portion 440 and padded member 442 with surface 444 are also shown. The second fastening strap 294 and third fastening strap 296 of FIG. 2 are again visible as second fastening strap 494 and third fastening strap 496, but are shown holding padded member 410 to leg portion 430 of casing 420, when lower limb support device 400 has been assembled. FIG. 4B is a side elevation view of the lower limb support 400 in use. FIG. 4B shows all the elements and reference numerals described above for FIG. 4A. However, FIG. 4B shows a calf 480 of a lower limb within the lower limb support device 400. Foot 484 and heel 482 of the lower limb are also visible. When the support device is assembled around the calf 480 with the leg portion 430 lying on a horizontal surface, a thickness of the leg portion 430 and a thickness of the padded member 410 are together sufficient to ensure that the heel 482 is held clear of the horizontal surface. In the embodiment of FIG. 4B, the foot portion 440 is configured to extend along the sole of the foot from a point at least 1 cm along foot 484 from the heel 482, and as far as the 'ball' of the foot. However, the foot portion 440 may extend beyond the 'ball' of the foot, i.e. further along the foot towards the toes. FIG. 4B also shows the foot portion 440 comprising a second attachment means 446. The second attachment means 446 is configured to be secured around foot 484. Second attachment means 446 may comprise one or more of cooperative hook and loop elements, belt and buckle elements, press studs, button and button hole elements, and/or elasticated members. Second attachment means 446 may be detachable from foot portion 440.

In FIG 4B, releasable attachment means 412 has been joined across the upper surface of the lower limb, i.e. the shin region. Each of the releasable attachment means 412 comprises a flexible element. Although details have not been illustrated on FIG. 4B, the flexible elements of releasable attachment means 412 may each be configured to be a pair of flexible elements. See again FIG. 1. The pairs of flexible elements would be joined together in pairs across a shin of the calf 480. Each pair of flexible elements would be held together by one or more of Velcro, or a belt and buckle. Alternatively, just one element may extend across a shin of the calf 480 portion to make up one of the releasable attachment means 412, and that single element may be secured across the shin region, directly to the leg portion 430 by one or more of Velcro, or a belt and buckle. FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view, from the side, of the lower limb support device 500. Padded member 510, leg portion 530 and releasable attachment means 512 are shown. Casing 520, foot portion 540 and padded member 542 with surface 544 are also shown.

Reference numeral 580 indicates the line of contact between the lower surface of the calf 480 and padded member 510, above the first part 532 and the second part 534 of leg portion 530. The contact is between the calf 480 and the first surface 250 of padded member 210.

The position and shape of the line of contact 580 partly depends on the heights chosen for first rib 376 and second rib 378, and for each of the nine ribs between first rib 376 to second rib 378. As discussed with reference to FIG. 3, the heights chosen for each of ribs 376 to 378 will determine the gradient and shape of a line of contact between the second surface 260 of padded member 210 and the ribs 370. FIG. 5 also has reference 582 indicating a further line. Line 582 illustrates the point at which the extremity of heel 482 of figure 4B may lie.

Lower limb support device 500 also shows linkage 536. Linkage 536 is arranged to connect foot portion 540 to the second part 534 of the leg portion 530. Linkage 536 is configured to allow angular rotation between foot portion 540 and leg portion 530. Linkage 536 is configured to prevent twisting of the ankle.

As illustrated in FIG. 5, linkage 536 comprises a rotation joint, with a hard stop 538 allowing angular rotation between foot portion 540 and leg portion 530 only within a predetermined range of permitted angles. Linkage 536 may be configured such that, when lower limb support device 500 is in use and leg portion 530 rests on a horizontal surface, linkage 536 prevents foot portion 540 from dropping beyond a point where foot portion 540 makes an angle of greater than 20 degrees to the vertical.

Linkage 536 may be configured such that foot portion 540 makes an angle of 10 degrees to the vertical, when no force is applied to the foot portion 540. The foot portion 540 may then be operable to rotate to an angle greater than 10 degrees but less than 20 degrees to the vertical, when a force is applied to foot portion 540 in a direction away from leg portion 530.

Other embodiments of linkage 536 can be arranged to connect foot portion 540 to the second part 534 of the leg portion 530, and be configured to allow angular rotation between foot portion 540 and leg portion 530. A flexible linkage can be constructed that comprises at least one resilient member, the resilient member extending between foot portion 540 and leg portion 530, rather than the rotation joint shown in FIG. 5. The at least one resilient member would allow the foot portion 540 to rotate relative to leg portion 530 from a rest position of the foot portion 540, when a force applied to foot portion 540. The direction of rotation would be such that foot portion 540 moves away from leg portion 530 and heel 482 moves towards the leg portion 530. The resilient member would provide an increasing resistive force opposing the rotation, as the angle of rotation from the rest position increases.

An advantage of foot portion 540, as thus described, is that it prevents ‘foot drop’, whereby the foot has a tendency to fall away from the leg if it is unsupported. A further advantage of the lower limb support device 500 may be that it allows the ankle, for example, to move in a less restricted manner. Allowing the ankle to move in a less restricted manner thereby reduces the likelihood of the ankle joint becoming frozen or stiff due to lack of movement. Furthermore, enhanced movement of the ankle may also stimulate blood flow in the veins of the calf (“the calf pump”), thereby reducing the risk of a deep vein thrombosis.

An advantage of the lower limb support device 500 is that it is operable, while the wearer is recumbent, to transfer the pressure of the weight of a patient's leg, for example, from the heel 482 (which is a small surface area) to the back of the calf 480 (which is a large surface area). Therefore, the effect of the pressure caused by the weight of the leg, in this example, may be significantly reduced. When the heel 482 bears the weight of a patient's leg with known devices, this weight may compress the arteries in the heel 482, constricting them. In severe cases, such constriction can close the arteries off, impeding blood supply to the tissue and causing the heel tissue to become gangrenous. The invention may permit normal blood pressure in the arteries supplying the tissues of the heel 482 to be maintained, thereby providing normal circulation to the heel 482. In the presence of normal circulation, a pressure sore is less likely to develop. A further advantage of the lower limb support device 500 is that it makes minimal contact with the wearer’s skin compared with known designs. FIG. 6 is a perspective view of pad 642 of foot portion 440. Pad 642 is located on foot portion 440, facing foot 484. Pad 642 is resilient, and may for example be made from ethylene-vinyl acetate. The upper surface 444 of pad 642 is configured to provide grip, when in use with a wearer of the support device 100 standing or walking. FIG. 7 is a perspective view of foot portion 740. Foot portion 740 is shown without pad 642. The lower limb support device 100 may be configured to fit both a right lower limb and a left lower limb. Foot portion 740 illustrated in FIG. 7 provides a universal configuration, to fit both a right lower limb and a left lower limb.

Alternatively, lower limb support device 100 can be configured for fitting to a right lower limb, by provision of a foot portion 740 with an extension towards the right in the region of the ball of the foot, when viewed along the lower limb looking towards the foot. Such an extension is not shown in FIG. 7. Support device 100 would then be configured for fitting to a left lower limb, by provision of a different foot portion 740 with an extension towards the left in the region of the ball of the foot, when viewed along the lower limb looking towards the foot. FIG. 8 is an exploded view of a linkage 800. A first circular element 836 and a second circular element 838 are shown. First circular element 836 and second circular element 838 together provide linkage 136 between leg portion 130 and foot portion 140 of FIG. 1. Linkage 136 is arranged to connect foot portion 140 to the second part 534 of leg portion 130. Linkage 136 is configured to allow angular rotation between foot portion 140 and leg portion 130. FIGS. 9-12 provide various views of the features of the lower limb support device 100 that has already been described. FIGS. 9-12 served to provide further detail of illustrative configurations of the components of the features of the lower limb support device 100, and in particular how the features fit together. FIG. 9 is an elevation view of lower limb support device 900, viewed from the knee end. The view shown in FIG. 9 corresponds to the view that a user of lower limb support device 900 would see, if the viewpoint were the left edge of FIG. 4A. Padded member 910 and releasable attachment means 912 are shown. Upper surface 944 of pad 444 facing foot 484 is also visible. Upper surface 944 corresponds to upper surface 444 in FIG. 4A. FIG. 10 is a plan view of the lower limb support device 1000. Padded member 1010 and releasable attachment means 1012 are shown. Also shown are foot portion 1040, and upper surface 1044 of pad 442. FIG. 11 is a view of the lower limb support device 1100 from below. Padded member 1110, leg portion 1120 and foot portion 1140 are shown. FIG. 12 is an elevation view of the lower limb support device 1200, from the foot end. Releasable attachment means 1212 and foot portion 1240 are shown.

The second embodiment of the invention is generally illustrated in FIGs 13-18. FIG. 13 is a side elevation view of a padded member and stocking of a second embodiment of the invention.

Lower limb support device 1300 is provided for a lower limb 1390. Lower limb 1390 comprises a calf 1380, a heel 1384, an Achilles tendon region 1386 and a foot 1388. The support device 1300 comprises either a compression stocking 1310 or a sock. FIG. 13 illustrates an embodiment with compression stocking 1310. However, an alternative construction with a sock in place of compression stocking 1310 is also comprised within the second embodiment of the invention. The remainder of the description of the second embodiment refers to compression stocking 1310, but a sock can also be used.

Lower limb support device 1300 also comprises a padded member 1320 for supporting an extended area of the lower limb 1390. Padded member 1320 is attached to compression stocking 1310. The combination of padded member 1320 and compression stocking 1310 forms, in use, a concave surface for placement against the lower limb 1390.

Lower limb 1390 is thus within compression stocking 1310, with padded member 1320 attached to compression stocking 1310 and lying below compression stocking 1310 in the view of FIG. 13. When a user puts compression stocking 1310 onto lower limb 1390, it may be necessary to adjust compression stocking 1310 to ensure that padded member 1320 is located correctly behind calf 1380, without contacting a heel 1384 and whilst supporting Achilles tendon region 1386. A foot strap 1350 is also provided. In use, foot strap 1350 passes under the sole 1356 of foot 1388. A first end 1352 of foot strap 1350 and a second end of foot strap 1350 are attached to padded member 1320. Although first end 1352 of foot strap 1350 is visible in FIG. 13, the view of the second end is obscured by the lower limb 1390 in FIG. 13. The second end of footstrap 1350 lies behind the lower limb 1390. The second end of footstrap 1350 lies at a corresponding location to that of first end 1352, which is clearly visible. First end 1352 is located nearer to the viewpoint from which FIG. 13 is drawn than the second end. Subsequent FIG. 18 does show the second end of footstrap 1350. Foot strap 1350 is configured, in use, to abut the lower surface of foot 1388, i.e. sole 1356.

The extent of the padded member 1320 along a long axis of lower limb 1390 is so limited as to allow heel 1384 to protrude without contacting padded member 1320. Thus the embodiment of FIG. 13 provides the advantages of the first embodiment that was illustrated in FIGs. 1-12. Reference 1396 at the lower left of FIG. 13 indicates a distance between heel 1384 and a horizontal plane on which padded member 1320 is lying in FIG. 13.

In one embodiment, foot strap 1350 is configured such that, when support device 1300 is in use and padded member 1320 is resting on a horizontal surface, strap 1350 prevents foot 1388 from dropping beyond a point where foot 1388 makes an angle of greater than 20 degrees to the vertical. In an alternative embodiment, foot strap 1350 is configured such that, when support device 1300 is in use and padded member 1320 is resting on a horizontal surface, foot strap 1350 prevents foot 1388 from falling away from a vertical orientation at all.

Padded member 1320 comprises a first part generally indicated by spatial range 1330 for supporting the calf 1380. Padded member 1320 also comprises a second part generally indicated by spatial range 1340 for supporting Achilles tendon region 1386. Second part 1340 of padded member 1320 has a greater thickness than first part 1330 of padded member 1320.

When supporting a lower limb 1390, first part 1330 of padded member 1320 is of an extent measured around an inner concave surface that is at least as great as a corresponding extent of the second part 1340, as can be seen from the remaining figures. Thus first part 1330 can accommodate a calf 1380 that is generally greater in circumference/perimeter than Achilles tendon region 1386 of lower limb 1390. However, first part 1330 may only enclose a smaller proportion of the circumference of calf 1380 than the proportion of Achilles tendon region 1386 enclosed by second part 1340. FIG. 14 is a plan view of padded member 1400 of the second embodiment. FIG. 15 is a side elevation view of padded member 1500 of the second embodiment. Stocking 1310 has been omitted from FIGs. 14 and 15 to ensure a clearer view in each figure.

Reference line A-A is shown on both padded member 1400 of FIG. 14 and padded member 1500 of FIG. 15, to illustrate how the views in the two figures relate to each other. FIG. 14 illustrates an extent 1460 of first part 1430, which is the extent of the concave surface that will be formed around the calf portion 1380 in use. As also illustrated in FIG. 14, extent 1460 of first part 1430 is at least as great as an extent 1462, 1464 of the second part 1440. Thus the first extent 1460 and the second extent 1462, 1464 illustrate the situation already described with respect to FIG. 13.

As also described in connection with FIG. 13, second part 1440 of padded member 1400 has a greater thickness than first part 1430 of padded member 1400. This situation can be seen in FIG. 15. The thickness 1510 of padded member 1500 is illustrated at a single point in FIG. 15. The thickness values of padded member 1500 near to, and to the left of, reference line A-A in FIG. 15 are greater than the thickness values of padded member 1500 further to the right of reference line A-A.

Considering the views illustrated in FIGs 14 and 15 together, a thickness 1510 of the padded member 1320 is sufficient to ensure that, when the lower limb support device 1400, 1500 is assembled around the lower limb 1390 and is lying on a horizontal surface, heel 1384 is held above the horizontal surface by distance 1396 marked in FIG. 13.

As can be seen from FIG. 14, when laid flat and viewed in plan view, padded member 1400 has a T-shape. First part 1430 of padded member 1400 corresponds to a long axis of the T-shape. Second part 1440 of padded member 1400 corresponds to the transverse portion of the T-shape. Second part 1440 of padded member 1400 is adapted to be rolled up around either side of Achilles tendon region 1386 of lower limb 1390.

As shown in FIG. 14, a central cut-out portion 1480 is provided in second part 1440 of padded member 1400. Central cut-out portion 1480 lies along a long axis of padded member 1400 and at the centre of the second part 1440 of padded member 1400. With this construction, in use, the Achilles tendon within Achilles tendon region 1386 will lie adjacent to central cut-out portion 1480. The Achilles tendon will, therefore, experience less contact pressure from below from second part 1440 of padded member 1400 than the pressure that is exerted on either side of the Achilles tendon region 1386 by the remainder of second part 1440 of padded member 1400.

Central cut-out portion 1480 may extend at least one third of a length of the padded member 1400. Reference 1470 on FIG. 14 indicates the length of first portion 1430 up until the point where central cut-out portion 1480 begins. As also illustrated in FIG. 14, central cut-out portion 1480 divides second part 1440 of padded member 1400 into opposing first 1442 and second 1444 wings. In use, first 1442 and second 1444 wings support opposite sides of Achilles tendon region 1386. Referring back to FIG. 13, first end 1352 of foot strap 1350 is secured to first wing 1442. The second end of the foot strap 1350 is secured to second wing 1444.

Padded member 1400 may be constructed of a material having both a low density and a high breathability. This construction reduces heat accumulation in the lower limb 1390, and hence more generally in the leg of the wearer. FIG. 14 illustrates central cut-out portion 1480 as a cut through the whole thickness 1510 of the padded member 1400. The result is that first 1442 and second 1444 opposing wings are not connected directly to one another. They are only linked to one another through being joined to first part 1430 of padded member 1400, and by footstrap 1350. FIG. 16A is a plan view of padded member 1600 of a further embodiment. Padded member 1600 of FIG. 16A corresponds generally to padded member 1400. Extent 1660 of first part 1630 in FIG. 16A corresponds to extent 1460 of first part 1430 in FIG. 14. However, a groove 1680 is provided between first 1642 and second 1644 opposing wings of padded member 1600, rather than the central cut-out portion 1480 of FIG. 14.

Groove 1680 represents a portion of padded member 1600 of lesser depth than the remainder of second part 1440 of the padded member. The material 1682 of padded member 1600 towards the bottom of groove 1680 is indicated at the lower edge of FIG. 16A. A comparison of FIGs. 14 and 16A shows that there is no part in central cut-out portion 1480 of FIG. 14 that corresponds to material 1682.

The material 1682 in groove 1680 provides a direct link between opposing first 1642 and second 1644 wings of padded member 1600. This configuration may add to the stability and/or durability of padded member 1600. FIG. 16B is a partial cross-sectional, end-on elevation view of the same padded member 1600 as shown in FIG. 16A. Reference 1680 shows the groove. The upper concave line 1684 indicates the cross-section of groove 1680 further towards first part 1630 than the lower concave line 1686. The lower concave line 1686 is generally indicative of a profile of groove 1680 at a point on padded member 1600 closest to the view point of the observer in FIG. 16. Thus lower concave line 1686 shows that a greater depth of material has been removed from groove 1680 at a point corresponding to reference 1682 Fig. 16A. FIG. 17 is a partial cross-sectional side elevation view of padded member 1700, which corresponds to the padded member 1600 of FIGs. 16A and 16B. First portion 1730 of padded member 1700 will, in use, lie under the calf 1380.

Groove 1780 corresponds to groove 1680 of FIGs 16A and 16B, with the height of the lower edge of groove 1780 being indicated with a dotted line. At point 1784, the groove lies only slightly below the upper surface of first portion 1780. At point 1786, the groove is much deeper than at point 1784. Thus FIGs 16A, 16B and 17 all show the groove 1680, 1780 at its deepest at the point shown as 1682 in FIG 16A. This profile of groove 1680, 1780 may aid accommodation of the Achilles portion 1386 of lower limb 1390, see again FIG. 13. FIG. 18 is a plan view of an embodiment of the padded member 1800. The plan view of FIG. 18 should be viewed together with the side elevation view of FIG. 13 and the plan view of FIG. 16A. The padded member itself is labelled as 1820 in FIG. 18.

The first end 1852 of foot strap 1850 is visible in FIG. 18, and corresponds to first end 1352 of footstrap 1350 in FIG. 13. The second end 1854 of foot strap 1850 is visible in FIG. 18. The view of the second end of foot strap 1350 in FIG. 13 was obscured by the lower limb 1390 in FIG. 13. The second end 1854 of footstrap 1850 lies generally opposite to the location of first end 1852. Line BB in FIG. 18 shows the centre line of the position that would be occupied by a lower limb when the padded member of FIG. 18 is in use. For clarity of illustration, FIG. 18 omits cut out portion 1480 or groove 1680. FIG. 18 also shows that the thickness of the padded member 1820 may increase, moving from the right of FIG. 18 towards the left. See also the side elevation view in FIG. 15. This configuration provides a greater width for a calf portion than an ankle portion, when a lower limb is in place along line BB in FIG. 18.

The invention further contemplates compatible combinations of features from the various embodiments as illustrated in all the figures. For example, cut put portion 1480 or grove 1680 may be provided in the padded member 210 of the first embodiment, as described in connection with any of FIGs 1-12.

Claims (40)

Claims
1. A lower limb support device (100), for a lower limb comprising a calf (480), a heel (482) and a foot (484): the support device (100) comprising: a padded member (110) for supporting an extended area of the calf (480); a casing (120) comprising: a) a leg portion (130) of sufficient linear extent to support the padded member (110); b) a foot portion (140), the foot portion (140) being linked to the leg portion (130), whereby in use the foot portion (140) abuts the lower surface of the foot; the leg portion (130) and padded member (110) being configured for releasable attachment around the calf (480), whereby, when attached, the leg portion (130) holds the padded member (110) fast around the calf (480); the extent of the padded member (110) and the leg portion (130) along a long axis of the limb being so limited as to allow the heel (482) to protrude without contacting the padded member (110) or the leg portion (130).
2. The support device (100) of claim 1, wherein: when the support device (100) is assembled around the calf (480) with the leg portion (130) lying on a horizontal surface, a thickness of the leg portion (130) and a thickness of the padded member (110) are together sufficient to ensure that the heel (482) is held clear of the horizontal surface.
3. The support device (100) of claim 1, wherein: a first surface (250) of the padded member (210) faces the calf (480), when in use; and a plurality of ribs (370) on the leg portion (330) are configured to contact a second surface (260) of the padded member (110).
4. The support device (100) of claim 3, wherein: the leg portion (330) is of unitary construction, the leg portion (330) comprising a linear frame (322) extending along a long direction of the lower limb when in use; the leg portion (330) comprises: a) the plurality of ribs (370) along a first surface (872), facing the padded member (110); and b) a second surface (874), the second surface (874) configured to support the combined weight of the support device (100) and the lower limb, when the lower limb is in a supine position.
5. The support device (100) of claim 4, wherein: the plurality of ribs (370) on the leg portion (130) comprises a range of ribs sizes, wherein the ribs are of different heights; at least a first rib (376, 576) is located on a first part (532) of the leg portion (130), and at least a second rib (378, 578) is located on a second part (534) of the leg portion (130), the first part (532) of the leg portion (130) being located further from the foot portion (140) than the second part (534) of the leg portion (130); a height of the first rib (576) is less than a height (379) of the second rib (578); whereby, when the support device (100) is assembled around the calf (480) with the leg portion (130) lying on a horizontal surface, a lower surface of a wider portion of the calf (480) lying above the first part (532) of the leg portion (130) will be held less far from the horizontal surface than a lower surface of a thinner portion of the calf (480) lying above the second part (534) of the leg portion (130).
6. The support device (100) of claim 5, wherein: the range of rib heights is chosen to ensure that, when a wearer of the support device (100) is supine, an upper surface of the lower limb corresponding to a shin bone lies horizontally.
7. The support device (100) of claim 3, wherein: the plurality of ribs (370) on the leg portion (130) are spaced apart, whereby, in an assembled configuration around the limb, spaces between the ribs (370) serve as ventilation channels.
8. The support device (100) of claim 1, wherein: releasable attachment means (112) are formed integrally with, or connected to, the padded member (110); and the releasable attachment means (112) are operable to releasably attach together a first edge (324) and a second edge (326) of the leg portion (130) around the calf (480), the first edge (324) and second edge (326) being opposed edges.
9. The support device (100) of claim 1, wherein: the leg portion (130) is resilient; the leg portion (130) comprises a first edge (324) and a second edge (326), the first edge (324) and second edge (326) being opposed edges; and the leg portion (130) and padded member (110) are configured for releasable attachment around the calf (480), whereby: when a separating force is applied to the first edge (324) and the second edge (326), the leg portion (130) is sufficiently flexible to open from a rest position, wide enough to be placed around a variety of widths of calf (480); and when the separating force is removed from the first edge (324) and second edge (326), the leg portion (130) returns to the rest position and the padded member (110) at least partially encloses the calf (480); subsequent attachment of releasable attachment means (112) holds the calf within the leg portion (130).
10. The support device (100) of claim 1, further comprising: a linkage (136), the linkage (136) being arranged to connect the foot portion (140) to a second part (534) of the leg portion (130), the second part (534) of the leg portion (130) lying closer to the foot portion (140) than a first part (532) of the leg portion (130); and the linkage (136) configured to allow angular rotation of the foot portion (140) relative to the leg portion (130).
11. The support device (100) of claim 10, wherein the linkage (136) comprises a rotation joint, with hard stops allowing angular rotation between the foot portion (140) and the leg portion (130) only within a predetermined range of permitted angles; the linkage (136) is configured to prevent twisting of the ankle.
12. The support device (100) of claim 10, wherein: the linkage (136) is configured such that, when the lower limb support device (100) is in use and the leg portion (130) rests on a horizontal surface, the linkage (136) prevents the foot portion (140) from dropping beyond a point where the foot portion (140) makes an angle of greater than 20 degrees to the vertical.
13. The support device (100) of claim 10, wherein: the linkage (136) is configured such that, when the lower limb support device (100) is in use and the leg portion (130) rests on a horizontal surface, the foot portion (140) makes an angle of 10 degrees to the vertical, when no force is applied to the foot portion (140); and the foot portion (140) is operable to rotate to an angle greater than 10 degrees but less than 20 degrees to the vertical, when a force is applied to the foot portion (140) in a direction away from the leg portion (130).
14. The support device (100) of claim 10, wherein the linkage comprises at least one resilient member, the resilient member extending between the foot portion (140) and the leg portion (130), whereby the at least one resilient member: allows the foot portion (140) to rotate relative to the leg portion (130) from a rest position of the foot portion (140), when a force is applied to the foot portion (140), the direction of rotation being such that the foot portion (130) moves away from the leg portion (130) and the heel (482) moves towards the leg portion (130); and provides an increasing resistive force opposing the rotation, as the angle of rotation from the rest position increases.
15. The support device (100) of claim 1, further comprising: a resilient pad (142) located on a surface of the foot portion (140) facing the foot; the resilient pad (142) having a surface (144) facing the foot, the surface (144) of the resilient pad (142) configured to provide grip, when in use with a wearer of the support device (100) standing or walking.
16. The support device (100) of claim 16, wherein the resilient pad (142) is ethylene-vinyl acetate.
17. The support device (100) of claim 1, wherein: the padded member (110) is constructed of a material having both a low density and a high breathability, to reduce heat accumulation in the leg of the wearer.
18. The support device (100) of claim 17, wherein: the padded member (110) is made of polyester warp knitted space fabric.
19. The support device (100) of claim 1, further comprising: a cover over the padded member (110), the cover providing a softer surface for the skin of the lower limb.
20. The support device (100) of claim 19, wherein: the cover has antimicrobial and/or non-allergenic properties
21. The support device (100) of claim 19, wherein: the cover is removable, to thereby aid cleaning of the cover and/or the padded member (110).
22. The support device (100) of claim 1, wherein the foot portion (140) is configured to extend: a) along the sole of the foot (484) from a point at least 1 cm along the foot (484) from the heel (482); and b) at least as far as the ball of the foot (484).
23. The support device (100) of claim 1, wherein the releasable attachment means (112) comprises one or more flexible elements, the flexible elements being configured whereby either: a) a pair of elements can be joined to each other, across a shin of the calf (480), and are configured to be held together by one or more of Velcro, or a belt and buckle; or b) a single element can extend across a shin of the calf (480), and is configured to be joined directly to the leg portion (130) by one or more of Velcro, or a belt and buckle.
24. The support device (100) of claim 1, wherein the foot portion comprises a second attachment means (446), the second attachment means configured to be secured around the foot of a wearer.
25. The support device (100) of claim 24, wherein the second attachment means comprises one or more of: a) cooperative hook and loop elements; b) belt and buckle elements. c) press studs; d) button and button hole elements; and/or e) elasticated members; and/or the second attachment means (446) is detachable from the foot portion (140).
26. The support device (100) of claim 1, wherein the casing (120) is made from injection-moulded polypropylene.
27. The support device (100) of claim 1, wherein the support device (100) can be configured for fitting to a right lower limb, by provision of a foot portion (140) with an extension towards the right, when viewed along the lower limb looking towards the foot.
28. The support device (100) of claim 1, wherein the support device (100) can be configured for fitting to a left lower limb, by provision of a foot portion (140) with an extension towards the left, when viewed along the lower limb looking towards the foot.
29. The support device (100) of claim 1, further comprising: a central channel (390) running down the length of the ribs (370), the channel running along the long axis of the linear frame (322) below a centre line of the second part (534) of the padded member (210), whereby, in use, the Achilles tendon will: a) lie directly above the central channel (390); and b) experience less contact pressure from the second part (534) of the padded member (210) than the pressure exerted on either side of the Achilles tendon region of the lower limb.
30. A lower limb support device (1300) for a lower limb comprising a calf (480), a heel (1384), an Achilles tendon region and a foot, the support device (1300) comprising: a compression stocking (1310) or sock; a padded member (1320) for supporting an extended area of the lower limb, the padded member (1320): a) being attached to the compression stocking (1310) or sock; b) forming, in use, a concave surface for placement against the lower limb; a foot strap (1350), a first end (1352) and a second end (1854) of the foot strap (1350) being attached to the padded member (1320), the foot strap (1350) configured, in use, to abut the lower surface of the foot; the extent (1470) of the padded member (1320) along a long axis of the lower limb being so limited as to allow the heel (1384) to protrude without contacting the padded member (1320).
31. The support device (1300) of claim 30, wherein: a thickness (1510) of the padded member (1320) is sufficient to ensure that, when the support device is assembled around the lower limb and lying on a horizontal surface, the heel (1384) is held above the horizontal surface.
32. The support device (1300) of claim 30, wherein: the foot strap (1350) is configured such that, when the support device (1300) is in use and the padded member (1320) is resting on a horizontal surface, the foot strap (1350) prevents the foot (1388) from dropping beyond a point where the foot (1388) makes an angle of greater than 20 degrees to the vertical.
33. The support device (1300) of claim 30, wherein: the foot strap (1350) is configured such that, when the support device (1300) is in use and the padded member (1320) is resting on a horizontal surface, the foot strap (1350) prevents the foot (1388) from falling away from a vertical orientation.
34. The support device (1300) of claim 30, wherein the padded member (1320) comprises: a first part (1330) for supporting the calf (480) and a second part (1340) for supporting the Achilles tendon region (1386), the first part (1330) being of an extent (1460) measured around the concave surface that is at least as great as an extent (1462, 1464) of the second part (1340);
35. The support device (1300) of claim 34, wherein: the second part (1440) of the padded member (1400) has a greater thickness than the first part (1430) of the padded member (1400).
36. The support device (1300) of claim 34, wherein: when laid flat and viewed in plan view, the padded member (1400) has a T-shape; the first part (1430) of the padded member (1400) corresponds to a long axis of the T-shape; and the second part (1440) of the padded member (1400) further comprises the transverse portion of the T-shape, and is adapted to be rolled up around either side of the Achilles tendon region (1386) of the lower limb (1390).
37. The support device (1300) of claim 34, further comprising: either a central cut-out portion (1480) or groove (1680) in the second part (1440) of the padded member (1400), the central cut-out portion (1480) or groove (1680) lying along a long axis of the padded member (1400) and at the centre of the second part (1440) of the padded member (1400), whereby, in use, the Achilles tendon region (1386) will: a) lie adjacent to the central cut-out portion (1480) or groove (1680); and b) experience less contact pressure from the second part (1440) of the padded member (1400) than the pressure exerted on either side of the Achilles tendon region (1386) of the lower limb (1390).
38. The support device (1300) of claim 37, further comprising the central cut-out portion (1480) or groove (1680): extending at least one third of a length of the padded member (1400); and dividing the second part (1440) of the padded member (1400) into first (1442; 1642) and second (1444; 1644) opposing wings, for, in use, supporting opposite sides of the Achilles tendon region (1386).
39. The support device (1300) of claim 30, wherein: the padded member (1320) is constructed of a material having both a low density and a high breathability, to reduce heat accumulation in the leg of the wearer.
40. A lower limb support device (1300) as illustrated in, or as described in connection with, any of figures 1-18.
GB1612627.8A 2016-07-21 2016-07-21 Lower limb support device Pending GB2552359A (en)

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GB1612627.8A GB2552359A (en) 2016-07-21 2016-07-21 Lower limb support device

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GB1612627.8A GB2552359A (en) 2016-07-21 2016-07-21 Lower limb support device

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GB201612627D0 GB201612627D0 (en) 2016-09-07
GB2552359A true GB2552359A (en) 2018-01-24

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GB1612627.8A Pending GB2552359A (en) 2016-07-21 2016-07-21 Lower limb support device

Country Status (1)

Country Link
GB (1) GB2552359A (en)

Citations (9)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4693239A (en) * 1986-01-21 1987-09-15 Orthomedics, Inc. Orthosis
US4719926A (en) * 1986-02-28 1988-01-19 Nelson Ronald E Hinged foot and ankle brace
US5086760A (en) * 1989-04-14 1992-02-11 Neumann Holm W Articulated orthotic brace for an anatomical joint
US5797865A (en) * 1997-09-16 1998-08-25 Mcdavid Knee Guard, Inc. Lightweight ankle restraint
US6146350A (en) * 1998-01-30 2000-11-14 Active Ankle Systems, Inc. Ankle brace with removable single piece hinge
US20030014001A1 (en) * 2001-06-20 2003-01-16 Martin Michael L. Ankle brace apparatus and method
US20060084899A1 (en) * 2004-10-04 2006-04-20 Verkade Drew R Hinged ankle brace
WO2008133970A1 (en) * 2007-04-26 2008-11-06 Ossur Hf Orthopedic shoe providing access to wound site
US7785283B1 (en) * 2008-07-22 2010-08-31 Medical Technology, Inc. Ankle stabilizing device

Patent Citations (9)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4693239A (en) * 1986-01-21 1987-09-15 Orthomedics, Inc. Orthosis
US4719926A (en) * 1986-02-28 1988-01-19 Nelson Ronald E Hinged foot and ankle brace
US5086760A (en) * 1989-04-14 1992-02-11 Neumann Holm W Articulated orthotic brace for an anatomical joint
US5797865A (en) * 1997-09-16 1998-08-25 Mcdavid Knee Guard, Inc. Lightweight ankle restraint
US6146350A (en) * 1998-01-30 2000-11-14 Active Ankle Systems, Inc. Ankle brace with removable single piece hinge
US20030014001A1 (en) * 2001-06-20 2003-01-16 Martin Michael L. Ankle brace apparatus and method
US20060084899A1 (en) * 2004-10-04 2006-04-20 Verkade Drew R Hinged ankle brace
WO2008133970A1 (en) * 2007-04-26 2008-11-06 Ossur Hf Orthopedic shoe providing access to wound site
US7785283B1 (en) * 2008-07-22 2010-08-31 Medical Technology, Inc. Ankle stabilizing device

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