US20030100855A1 - Ankle brace providing upper and lower ankle adjustment - Google Patents

Ankle brace providing upper and lower ankle adjustment Download PDF

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Publication number
US20030100855A1
US20030100855A1 US10/339,530 US33953003A US2003100855A1 US 20030100855 A1 US20030100855 A1 US 20030100855A1 US 33953003 A US33953003 A US 33953003A US 2003100855 A1 US2003100855 A1 US 2003100855A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
portion
closure assembly
structure
binding
brace
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Abandoned
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US10/339,530
Inventor
Paul Norstrem
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Core Products International Inc
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Core Products International Inc
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Publication date
Priority to US09/791,115 priority Critical patent/US6540705B2/en
Application filed by Core Products International Inc filed Critical Core Products International Inc
Priority to US10/339,530 priority patent/US20030100855A1/en
Assigned to CORE PRODUCTS INTERNATIONAL, INC. reassignment CORE PRODUCTS INTERNATIONAL, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: NORSTREM, PAUL R.
Publication of US20030100855A1 publication Critical patent/US20030100855A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • 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

Abstract

A closure assembly permitting gross and fine adjustment of a brace structure about a body part is provided. The assembly generally includes a binding member, and an anchor structure supported by the binding member and variably positionable therealong. Portions of the binding member extend from a first portion of the bracing structure, a free end of the binding member being adapted to secure the free end to the first portion of the bracing structure, the anchor structure adapted to be selectively securable to a portion of the bracing structure opposite the first portion.

Description

  • This is a continuation-in-part application filed under 35 U.S.C. §1.53(b) (2) claiming priority under 35 U.S.C. §120, of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/791,115 (Pub. No. 2002/0115951) having a filing date of Feb. 22, 2001, filed under 35 U.S.C. §1.53(b).[0001]
  • TECHNICAL FIELD
  • This invention relates generally to the field closure assemblies for bracing structures, more particularly, to bracing structures which facilitate gross and fine adjustment with respect to the concerned body part, for example, an ankle brace equipped with a closure assembly providing independent adjustment of the upper and the lower portions thereof. [0002]
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Bracing structures function to immobilize a body part, with a conforming user fit being critical for proper physiological functionality. For instance, ankle braces are generally employed to immobilize or inhibit the movement of the foot and ankle with respect to the leg. In this manner, an ankle injury can be healed more effectively. Ankle braces can also be employed to provide support to the joint during continuous or high stress activities. The devices have been utilized in many fields including many commercial and industrial applications. [0003]
  • Initially, ankle immobilization (or the inhibition of movement of the ankle) was achieved through the application of tape. However, taping takes expertise and is generally time consuming. Further, taping works well for immobilization but does not allow the joint to flex to any great degree and can also be somewhat difficult to remove. [0004]
  • Ankle brace devices have been devised to overcome these shortcomings. Generally, prior art ankle braces have been formed as a boot-shaped body having an open front and a hole at the heel. An opening at the toe allows the toes to move freely. The devices have generally had a tongue fitted into the open front and securing systems for holding the front edges together. [0005]
  • The most common securing system has provided a plurality of eyelets positioned along the front edges and a lace threaded through the eyelets and tied together at its ends to hold the front edges together. The lace can be tightened or loosened to adjust the overall size of the brace, thereby adjusting the size of the boot and/or the amount of immobilization provided. [0006]
  • It may be desirable to have the upper portion of the boot tightened to a different degree than the lower portion of the boot, or vice versa. These configurations cannot be achieved by the prior art devices because there is only a single lace for adjustment. Furthermore, it is sometimes desirable to make gross adjustments to the brace, for example, to test general fit, and then make fine adjustments without altering the initial gross adjustments. The lace devices of the prior art cannot accomplish this function because the lace provides only one means for both gross and fine adjustments. Additionally, the use of a single lace design provides uniform force to all areas of the front of the brace. It may be desirable in some applications to have reduced force in the region directly above the ankle. This reduced force allows the ankle some freedom of movement. The single lace design of the prior art cannot provide the increased freedom of movement necessary for such applications. [0007]
  • As has yet to be fully appreciated, the areas of the bracing structure from which and to which the binding forces are directed is a further critical consideration for the enhanced binding of a bracing structure about a body part. Heretofore known closure assemblies, generally rudimentary shoe lacing systems, or variants thereof, bind the opposing brace edges, edges which generally delimit a gap or aperture which is intended to be drawn together, vis-a-vis spaced apart eyelets, by the lacing system. Although some progress has been made to provide at least fore/aft closure adjustability in a bracing structure, it remains advantageous to provide a closure assembly which permits traversal of the bracing structure “gap” in a non-uniform, non-symmetrical fashion (e.g., independent fore/aft, up/down, and/or rotated (i.e., angulated) anchored positioning of a binding element on the opposite portions of the binding structure which delimit the gap). [0008]
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention generally provides an ankle brace having an upper portion and a lower portion. The upper portion defines an interior having a first circumference. The lower portion defines an interior having a second circumference. The ankle brace further comprises a system for adjusting the sizes of the first and second circumferences independently of each other. [0009]
  • A preferred embodiment of the present invention generally provides a body having upper and lower portions and an open front. The brace is adapted to receive one or more laces that are arranged to span the open front and to be received by the body. [0010]
  • The size adjustment of the first and second circumferences may be accomplished via a plurality of tabs each having a lace receiving eyelet, the tabs being releasably and adjustably attached to the body. The tabs may be constructed and arranged to provide independent gross adjustment and/or fine adjustment of the sizes of the first and second circumferences. [0011]
  • Gross adjustment may be provided by two or more first tabs, each having one or more eyelets for receiving a lace, one of the first tabs being releasably attached to the upper portion of the brace while another first tab is releasably attached to lower portion. Fine adjustment may be provided by two or more second tabs each having an eyelet for receiving a lace, one of the second tabs being releasably attached to the upper portion of the brace while another second tab is releasably attached to the lower portion. [0012]
  • In the described embodiment, the tabs are utilized in sets of one first tab and one second tab. The brace may be arranged to utilize the sets of tabs wherein one of the tabs is capable of being releasably attached to the body on one side of the front opening, while the other tab is capable of being releasably attached to the body on the other side of the front opening. [0013]
  • The mechanism for adjustment of the size of the upper portion of the brace may be provided by a pair of tabs each having an eyelet thereon for receiving a lace and means for releasable attachment of each tab to the body. One of the tabs is capable of being releasably attached to the body on one side of the front opening, while the other tab is capable of being releasably attached to the body on the other side of the front opening. This embodiment of the brace may be arranged such that one tab is utilized for gross adjustment and one tab for fine adjustment of the portion of the brace to which the pair is releasably attached. [0014]
  • Further still, and more generally, a closure assembly permitting gross and fine adjustment of a brace structure about a body part is provided. The assembly generally includes a binding member, and an anchor supported by the binding member and variably positionable therealong. Portions of the binding member extend from a first portion of the bracing structure, a free end of the binding member being adapted to secure same to the first portion of the bracing structure, the anchor adapted to be selectively securable to a portion of the bracing structure opposite the first portion. [0015]
  • The aforementioned benefits and other benefits including specific features of the invention will become clear from the following description by reference to the accompanying drawings.[0016]
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a side view of the medial portion of a brace of the present invention; [0017]
  • FIG. 2 is a side view of the lateral portion of the brace of FIG. 1; [0018]
  • FIG. 3 is a front view of the brace of FIG. 1; [0019]
  • FIG. 4 is a rear view of the brace of FIG. 1; [0020]
  • FIG. 5 depicts an bracing structure equipped with the closure assembly of the subject invention, more particularly, a medial view of the bracing structure about a foot and ankle; [0021]
  • FIG. 5A depicts the bracing structure of FIG. 5 wherein the closure assembly is in a preliminarily fastened condition; [0022]
  • FIG. 5B depicts a lateral view of the bracing structure of FIG. 5A; [0023]
  • FIG. 5C depicts the bracing structure of FIGS. [0024] 5/5A wherein the closure assembly is in a fully fastened condition, subject to further fine, or gross, adjustment;
  • FIG. 6 depicts the bracing structure of the previous figures equipped with an alternate embodiment of the closure assembly of the subject invention, more particularly, a medial view of the bracing structure about a foot and ankle; [0025]
  • FIG. 6A illustrates the bracing structure of FIG. 6 wherein the closure assembly is shown in a preliminarily fastened condition; [0026]
  • FIG. 6B illustrates the bracing structure of FIG. 6A in a lateral view; and, [0027]
  • FIG. 6C depicts the bracing structure of FIGS. [0028] 6-6A wherein the closure assembly is in a fully fastened condition, subject to fine, or gross, adjustment.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • Referring now to the drawings wherein like reference numerals denote like elements throughout the several views, FIG. 1 illustrates a side view of an embodiment of the present invention. [0029]
  • The embodiment shown in FIGS. [0030] 1-4 is generally comprised of a body 10, a plurality of tabs 24 and 28, and a lace 22. The body 10 has an opening at its front wherein a tongue 18 is positioned. Preferably, the tongue 18 is attached to the inside of the body 10 near the front edges of at least one of the side portions 12.
  • The main portions of the body [0031] 10 may be formed from a single piece of material that is bent into a U-shape to form the side portions 12 and a U-shaped bottom. Alternatively, the body 10 may be comprised of two or more pieces of material that are joined together.
  • The back edges of the side portions [0032] 12 are also to be joined together to form the back of the body 10. The joinder of the side portions at the bottom and back edges may be accomplished by any means known in the art.
  • For example, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 4, the side portions [0033] 12 may be joined by a piece of material 20 spanning between their edges. The piece of material 20 is preferably flexible in one, or more preferably, multiple directions to enable the greatest freedom of movement to the wearer. Such material is commonly known in the art, however, has not be utilized for this specific purpose.
  • The body [0034] 10 may also utilize features to allow for greater flexibility of the brace, thereby, providing greater comfort to the wearer. For example, a notch 16 can be cut in the body material 10. This notch 16 allows for the movement of the ankle without having to deform the front edges of the body 10. The notch 16 may be filled with a flexible fabric material if desired.
  • Each side portion [0035] 12 has at least two tab attachment structures 14 affixed thereon. Any suitable structure may be utilized. For example, hook and loop fastening systems may be utilized wherein the tab attachment structure 14 is comprised of a surface having either a hook or a loop material and at least a portion of the tabs 24 and 28, to be mated with said tab attachment structure 14, are comprised of the mating hook or loop material.
  • The configuration of the present ankle brace, shown in the figures, provides upper and lower sets of tabs generally dividing the ankle brace into an upper portion and a lower portion. The upper portion defines an interior having a first circumference. The lower portion defines an interior having a second circumference. The first and second circumference may be adjusted independently. [0036]
  • FIG. 1 shows a plurality of first tabs [0037] 24 each having at least one eyelet 26 thereon. At least a portion of the tab 24 is constructed and arranged to releasably attach the tab 24 to a tab attachment structure 14.
  • FIG. 2 shows a plurality of second tabs [0038] 28 having at least one eyelet 26 thereon. These tabs 28 also contain a portion that is constructed to releasably engage the tab 28 to a tab attachment structure 14. FIG. 2 also shows a plurality of eyelets, on the body 10 of the brace. The eyelets are preferably aligned along the front edge of one of the side portions 12.
  • The plurality of eyelets on the first and second tabs [0039] 24 and 28 and the body 10 are utilized in conjunction with one or more laces and the eyelets 32 to adjust the size and tightness of the brace. The use of a plurality of tabs 24 and 28 allows the body 10 of the brace to be independently adjusted over two or more portions of the body 10. For example, the brace shown in FIGS. 1-4 utilizes two sets of tabs, an upper set controlling the upper portion of the body 10 and a lower set controlling the portion of the body 10. Each set of tabs is comprised of at least one first tab 24 and one second tab 28.
  • This structure provides an adjustment to the size of the circumference of the interior within the upper, portion, by repositioning the tabs [0040] 24 and 28 attached to the upper tab attachment structure 14, while allowing the size of the circumference of the interior of the lower portion to be independently adjusted by movement of the lower set of tabs 24 and 28 attached to the lower tab attachment structure 14. The number of eyelets on the body and the tabs may be any suitable number. One embodiment, as shown in FIGS. 1-4, provides a brace wherein the first tabs 24 have three eyelets 30, the second tabs 28 have one eyelet 26, and the body 10 has six eyelets. Any desired number of eyelets 32 on the body 10 and corresponding eyelets 26 may be employed within the scope of the present invention. It is contemplated that a single eyelet 30 is all that is required on the second tabs 28 to accomplish the purposes of the present invention.
  • When a lace is threaded through this configuration of eyelets, the brace not only provides independent upper and lower portion adjustment, but can additionally provide independent gross and fine adjustments for each set of tabs. Generally, in this embodiment, the first tabs [0041] 24 provide for gross adjustment of a portion of the brace, while the second tabs 28 provide for fine adjustment. The lacing and arrangement of the eyelets of this embodiment is shown in detail in FIG. 3.
  • The lacing of this embodiment is accomplished as follows. The tabs and eyelets are arranged having an upper set of tabs including one first tab [0042] 24 and one second tab 28 and a lower pair of tabs having one first tab 24 and one second tab 28. The lace 22 is threaded from one end that is attached to the second tab 28, through a first eyelet 26 on the first tab 24 of the upper pair of tabs, through a first and back through a second eyelet 32 on the body 10, through the second eyelet 26 on said first tab 24 of the upper pair of tabs, through a single eyelet 30 on the second tab 28 of the upper pair of tabs, through the third eyelet 26 on the first tab 24 of the upper pair of tabs, and through a third and back through a fourth eyelet 32 on the body 10. This lacing sequence provides the lacing of the upper portion of the brace.
  • The lacing continues on to the lower portion from the fourth eyelet [0043] 32, through a first eyelet 26 on the first tab 24 of the lower pair of tabs, through the single eyelet 30 on the second tab 28 of the lower pair of tabs, through a second eyelet 26 on the first tab 24 of the lower pair of tabs, through a fifth and back through a sixth eyelet 32 on the body 10, through a third eyelet 26 on the first tab 24 of the lower pair of tabs, and back to the second tab 28 of said lower pair of tabs, where the end of the lace 22 is attached thereto.
  • The arrangement of the lace [0044] 22 and the plurality of eyelets 26, 30, and 32 allows the user to first affix the first tabs 24 in place. Since the tabs have the laces threaded therethrough, the positioning and attachment of the first tabs 24 to the tab attachment structures 14 on the body 10 either loosens or tightens the lace 22 and thereby either enlarges or reduces the circumference of a portion of the body 10. This allows the user to roughly size the boot-shaped body 10 to fit the foot on which this device is placed and establishes a general size and tightness for each portion of the brace. The user can then utilize the second tabs 28, to make fine adjustments to each of the portions as desired, without disrupting the gross adjustments made with the first tabs 24. This is accomplished by the attachment of the second tabs 28 to the attachment structures 14. The pulling or slacking of the lace 22, attached or threaded through each tab 28, either loosens or tightens the lace 22 and, thereby, either further enlarges or reduces the circumference of that portion of the body 10.
  • As is readily appreciated, the bracing structures heretofore discussed generally include a body, and a closure assembly for selectively joining or uniting portions of the body in furtherance of obtaining an enhanced user conforming fit. Although presented in the context of an ankle brace, the subsequently discussed closure assemblies of the subject invention are equally suited, and contemplated, for binding a variety of brace structures about a variety of body parts, for instance, those parts including a joint, such as a wrist, elbow, knee, etc., or those parts excluding a joint, such as a forearm, lower or upper leg, back, ribs, etc., without limitation. [0045]
  • Referring now generally to FIGS. [0046] 5-5C, a brace structure 40 is substantially shown equipped with the closure assembly 42 of the subject invention for enhanced binding the of brace structure about, in this case, the foot and ankle. The brace structure so equipped, is shown in progressively fastened, or more generally, progressively applied conditions, proceeding from FIG. 5 to FIG. 5C.
  • As previously detailed, the body [0047] 44 of the brace structure 40 includes upper 46 (i.e., leg) and lower 48 (i.e., foot) portions, and lateral 50 and medial 52 sides or panels. The body 44 is generally shaped to wrap around the rear and lateral/medial sides of the ankle and foot, extending upward along the front superior surface and beneath the sole of the foot. The closure assembly 42, which operatively links portions of the body panels, overlies the front superior foot surface.
  • Forward perimeter edges [0048] 54 of each of the body panels 50, 52 preferably, but not necessarily, include a notch 56, said notch delimiting the upper 46 and lower 48 body portions of the brace 40. Functionally, the notch 56 permits ankle movement without distortion or deformation of forward most edges 54 of the body 44. Rearward perimeter edge portions 58 of each of the body panels 50, 52 are preferably, but not necessarily, united by a rear (i.e., Achilles) panel 60.
  • The closure assembly [0049] 42 generally includes a binding member 62 (e.g., a band, strap, webbing, etc., as will be later detailed), and an anchor structure 64 supported by the binding member 62 for variable positioning therealong (FIG. 5, note also FIGS. 3 & 6). Portions of the binding member 62 extend from a first or primary portion of the bracing structure 40 (FIG. 5, see also FIGS. 3 & 6). The anchor structure 64 is generally adapted to be selectively securable to a portion of the bracing structure 40 opposite the first portion, a secondary portion, (FIG. 5B, see also FIGS. 2 & 6B), with a free end 66 of the binding member 62 adapted to anchor (i.e., reversibly secure) same to the first portion of the bracing structure (FIG. 5C, see also FIGS. 1 & 6C). In the context of the subject bracing structure, upper and lower closure assemblies are provided corresponding to the upper 46 and lower 48 portions of the brace body 44 such that discrete, independent, binding of said brace portions is facilitated (i.e., opposing brace portions are operatively united, more particularly, the adjacent forward perimeter edges 54 of the body panels 50, 52, in furtherance of obtaining a secure fit about the leg, ankle, and foot).
  • The binding member [0050] 62 generally comprises a band, strap, cord, webbing, etc. 68 having a split (e.g., bifurcated) end (FIG. 5) opposite the free end 66 thereof. The split end portion of the binding element defines binding segments 70, each of the binding segments 70 extending from the first portion of the bracing structure, more particularly, the medial side panel 52. Alternately, the binding member 62 comprises at least a pair of bands, straps, cords, etc. which convergently unite to define a free end for the member. Each of the discrete portions, or segments 70, of the binding member 62 extend from the first portion of the bracing structure in a spaced apart condition, and are preferably fixedly attached to the first portion of the bracing structure, as by stitching, adhesive, weldment, etc. The binding member 62, being thereby fixed to the first portion of the bracing structure, is extendible therefrom so as to “grab” a portion of the bracing structure opposite the first portion, and “return” for anchoring upon the brace portion from which it extends.
  • As shown, and preferably, but not necessarily, the segments [0051] 70 extend from an edge or periphery of the first portion of the bracing structure, more particularly the forward perimeter edge 54 of the medial body panel 52. The discrete portions or segments 70 of the binding member may also suitably extend from a interior location or position of the first portion of the bracing structure (i.e., the segments 70 may be set back from the edge of the bracing structure so as to extend therefrom).
  • The free end [0052] 66 of the binding member 62 is generally adapted so as to be reversibly and selectively received (i.e., secured or anchored) at or upon the first portion of the bracing structure in furtherance of binding the bracing structure about the body part. A portion of the surface of the free end 66 of the binding member 62 is preferably equipped with a component of a hook and loop fastening system (e.g., hooks 72 as shown in FIGS. 5, 5A) for receipt upon the corresponding component of said system (e.g., loops 74) carried by the first portion of the bracing structure (i.e., the lateral body panel 50, see FIGS. 5A, 5C).
  • The anchor structure [0053] 64 generally comprises a tab 76 from which extends a keeper 78 (e.g., a loop, ring, etc.). The keeper 78 receives therethrough, and retains, the binding member 62 such that the anchor structure 64 is variably positionable, as by sliding, along the binding member 62. Preferably, but not necessarily, the tab 76 includes a crotch 80 which receives a portion of the keeper 78 (i.e., the tab forming material is threaded through the keeper and folded over upon at least a portion of itself and thereafter secured so as to form the tab structure illustrated). A surface of the tab 76, or at least a portion thereof, is preferably equipped with a component of a hook and loop fastening system, or the like, (e.g., hooks 72 as shown in FIG. 5), for reversible integration with a portion of the brace structure (i.e., the portion of the bracing structure opposite the first portion, more particularly, loops 74 carried by the lateral body panel 50, see FIG. 5B).
  • As to the act of binding the opposing portions of the brace structure of FIGS. [0054] 5-5C, the binding member 62 is extended from the portion of the brace from which it is secured or tethered (i.e., medial body panel 52), the anchor structure 64 being directed toward the opposite portion of the bracing structure (i.e., lateral side panel 50) for anchoring thereto, as illustrated in FIGS. 5-5B. As is readily appreciated with reference to FIG. 5B, the anchor structure 64 is fastenable in a variety of positions, e.g., fore/aft, up/down, and/or rotated/pivoted, such positional flexibility having not been previously known. Upon securing the anchor structure 64 to or onto the portion of the brace structure opposite the first brace portion (i.e., the lateral side panel 50), the free or terminal end 66 of the binding member 62 is thereafter returned (i.e., turned back over the keeper 78) for selective anchored positioning upon the brace portion from which the binding member 62 originates (i.e., the medial side panel 52). By this construction, both gross and fine adjustments may be made, more particularly, fine adjustments may be made vis-a-vis the free end 66 of the binding member 62 without altering the initial gross adjustments made vis-a-vis securement of the anchor structure 64. The ankle brace equipped with the subject closure assembly permits independently adjustable top and bottom portions, each of which is capable of gross and fine adjustments, without utilizing the heretofore known cumbersome and spatially limited lace/eyelet configuration.
  • Referring now generally to FIGS. [0055] 6-6C, an alternate embodiment for the subject closure assembly is shown. The subject assembly 90 includes plural binding elements 92 (e.g., cords) extending from a first or primary portion of the brace structure, and an anchor element 94, through which the binding elements 92 are passable, for reversible securement to a portion of the brace structure opposite the first portion thereof. The binding elements 92 convergently unite to form a single free end 96 which is adapted for reversible securement to the first portion of the brace structure.
  • The plural binding elements [0056] 92 of the closure assembly 90 are secured to the first portion of the brace structure so as to appreciably extend therefrom in a spaced apart condition. This particular embodiment especially emphasizes the spaced apart condition of the binding elements, whether they be cords, straps, bands, webbing, etc., providing specific structure(s) to maintain the spacing between the elements during at least a first pass of the elements across the gap between opposing brace portions in furtherance of cinching together same. As previously noted, preferably each of the binding elements 92 extend from an edge of the primary portion of the brace structure, however, they may emanate from an interior portion thereof, and need not uniformly extend from the primary portion of the brace structure (i.e., the affixation points from which the elements extend need not be linearly aligned).
  • As previously noted, the binding elements [0057] 92 converge so as to terminate in a communal free end 96 which is adapted for reversible securement to the first portion of the brace structure (i.e., the portion from which the binding elements extend). Preferably, a tab 98 fortifies the union of each of the free ends of the binding elements, defining a further anchor structure for the closure assembly 90, and additionally provides sufficient surface area upon which to carry an element of a hook and loop fastening system (e.g., hooks 72, see FIGS. 6, 6A).
  • The anchor [0058] 94 generally comprises the tab 98 from which extends a keeper 100 which maintains the binding elements 92 in a spaced apart condition across the gap in the brace structure. The keeper 100 receives therethrough, and retains, the binding elements 92 such that the anchor 94 is variably positionable, as by sliding, along the binding elements 92. The keeper 100 preferably, but not necessarily, comprises an eyelet strip, the number of eyelets and configuration thereof generally commensurate with the number and character of the binding elements (e.g., a strip having three round eyelets is show in FIG. 6, each eyelet 102 in receipt of one of the binding elements 92 which may, or may not, have a correspondingly round cross section). Preferably, each of the eyelets 102 are reinforced, as for instance by the inclusion of a grommet 104 or the like, with the eyelet strip itself preferably, but not necessarily, reinforced.
  • As to cinching the opposing brace portions of FIGS. [0059] 6-6C, the single free end 96 of the conjoined plural binding elements 92 is substantially extended outward from the primary portion of the brace structure (i.e., the medial side panel 52), the anchor 94 being directed toward the opposite portion of the bracing structure (i.e., lateral side panel 50) for anchoring thereto, as illustrated in FIGS. 6-6B. As is appreciated with reference to FIG. 6A, upon securing the anchor 94, the binding elements 92 maintain (i.e., substantially maintain) their spaced apart relationship vis-a-vis the keeper 100. Upon securing the anchor 94 to or onto the portion of the brace structure opposite the first brace portion (i.e., the lateral side panel 50), the single free or terminal end 96 is thereafter returned (i.e., turned back over the keeper 100) for selective anchored positioning upon the brace portion from which the binding member originates (i.e., the medial side panel 52). As is best see with reference to FIGS. 6B, 6C, numerous anchor orientations for the binding elements 92 are possible, with the benefits associated therewith permitting enhanced binding of the brace structure about a body part.
  • Since many possible embodiments may be made of the present invention without departing from the scope thereof, it is to be understood that all matter herein set forth or shown in the accompanying drawings is to be interpreted in the illustrative and not limiting sense. [0060]

Claims (24)

What is claimed is:
1. A closure assembly for a bracing structure comprising a binding member and an anchor structure, said anchor structure being supported by said binding member and variably positionable therealong, said binding member extending from a first portion of the bracing structure to a free end and including means for securing said free end to the first portion of the bracing structure, said anchor structure adapted to be selectively securable to a portion of the bracing structure in opposing relation to the first portion.
2. The closure assembly of claim 1 wherein said binding member includes a split end portion opposite a free end thereof.
3. The closure assembly of claim 2 wherein said split end portion of said binding member defines binding segments.
4. The closure assembly of claim 3 wherein said binding segments are fixed to the first portion of the brace structure.
5. The closure assembly of claim 4 wherein said binding segments are anchored to a periphery of the first portion of the brace structure.
6. The closure assembly of claim 4 wherein select ones of said binding segments are anchored to a periphery of the first portion of the brace structure.
7. The closure assembly of claim 4 wherein select ones of said binding segments are anchored interior of a periphery of the first portion of the brace structure.
8. The closure assembly of claim 1 wherein said anchor structure comprises a keeper through which said binding member passes.
9. The closure assembly of claim 8 wherein said anchor structure further includes a tab, said keeper extending therefrom.
10. The closure assembly of claim 9 wherein said tab is adapted to be reversibly integrated with the portion of the brace structure opposite the first portion.
11. The closure assembly of claim 10 wherein said keeper comprises a loop.
12. The closure assembly of claim 10 wherein said keeper comprises a ring.
13. The closure assembly of claim 10 wherein said binding member comprises plural binding elements.
14. The closure assembly of claim 13 wherein said plural binding elements converge to define said free end of said binding member.
15. The closure assembly of claim 14 wherein said free end of said binding member further includes a tab.
16. The closure assembly of claim 15 wherein said tab of said free end of said binding member is adapted to be selectively securable to the portion of the bracing structure opposite the first portion.
17. The closure assembly of claim 16 wherein each of the binding elements of said plural binding elements extends from the first portion of the bracing structure.
18. The closure assembly of claim 16 wherein said plural binding elements extend in a spaced apart condition from the first portion of the bracing structure.
19. The closure assembly of claim 18 wherein said keeper maintains said plural binding elements in a spaced apart condition.
20. The closure assembly of claim 19 wherein said keeper comprises an eyelet strip.
21. The closure assembly of claim 20 wherein each of the binding elements of said plural binding elements is received in eyelets of said eyelet strip.
22. A closure assembly for enhanced binding of a brace structure about a body part, said assembly comprising band means extending from a first portion of the brace structure to a free end, and an anchor element variably positionable along said band means for reversibly securing a portion of said band means to a portion of the brace structure opposite the first portion, the free end of said band being reversibly securable to the first panel.
23. A closure assembly permitting gross and fine adjustment of a brace structure about a body part, said assembly comprising plural binding elements extending from a first portion of the brace structure, and an anchor element, through which said binding elements are passable, for reversible securement to a second portion of the brace structure, said binding elements converging into a single free end adapted for reversible securement to the first portion of the brace structure.
24. A closure assembly for uniting opposing portions of a brace structure in furtherance of securement thereof about a body part, said closure assembly comprising a strap extending from a first portion of the brace structure, and an anchor element, said strap having a free end adapted for variable anchoring upon the first portion of the brace structure, said anchor element being adapted to permit variable anchoring of a portion of said strap to a portion of the brace structure opposite the first portion.
US10/339,530 2001-02-22 2003-01-09 Ankle brace providing upper and lower ankle adjustment Abandoned US20030100855A1 (en)

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US5967998A (en) * 1997-10-02 1999-10-19 Modglin; Michael D. Lumbo-sacral orthosis
US6540705B2 (en) * 2001-02-22 2003-04-01 Core Products International, Inc. Ankle brace providing upper and lower ankle adjustment
US6893410B1 (en) * 2002-12-04 2005-05-17 Weber Orthopedic Inc. Multi-adjustable wrist brace

Cited By (7)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20060069335A1 (en) * 2004-09-27 2006-03-30 John Fritsch Wrist brace
US7175603B2 (en) 2004-09-27 2007-02-13 Mueller Sports Medicine, Inc. Wrist brace
US20070060853A1 (en) * 2005-08-30 2007-03-15 Sindel Chad M Knee brace with mechanical advantage closure system
US7819830B2 (en) * 2005-08-30 2010-10-26 Top Shelf Manufacturing, Inc. Knee brace with mechanical advantage closure system
US9737430B2 (en) 2007-10-25 2017-08-22 Medical Specialties, Inc. Ankle stabilizing apparatus having a dynamic cuff and stabilizing strap system
US8454545B1 (en) * 2011-02-03 2013-06-04 Weber Orthopedic Inc. Rear entry ankle brace with medial and lateral access
US8821427B1 (en) * 2011-02-03 2014-09-02 Weber Orthopedic Inc. Rear entry ankle brace with medial and lateral access

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WO2002067826A3 (en) 2002-12-05
US20020115951A1 (en) 2002-08-22
WO2002067826A2 (en) 2002-09-06
US6540705B2 (en) 2003-04-01

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