US20090255545A1 - Nail protection apparatus - Google Patents

Nail protection apparatus Download PDF

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Publication number
US20090255545A1
US20090255545A1 US12102124 US10212408A US2009255545A1 US 20090255545 A1 US20090255545 A1 US 20090255545A1 US 12102124 US12102124 US 12102124 US 10212408 A US10212408 A US 10212408A US 2009255545 A1 US2009255545 A1 US 2009255545A1
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Prior art keywords
nail
cover portion
protector
recited
human
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Abandoned
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US12102124
Inventor
LISA Giachetti
Joseph A. Ercole
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Giachetti Lisa
Ercole Joseph A
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A45HAND OR TRAVELLING ARTICLES
    • A45DHAIRDRESSING OR SHAVING EQUIPMENT; MANICURING OR OTHER COSMETIC TREATMENT
    • A45D29/00Manicuring or pedicuring implements

Abstract

A nail protector and method for use includes a cover portion dimensioned to fit over a human nail to form a gap with the human nail, and a ridge formed on an underside of the cover portion and configured to contact skin adjacent to the nail without contact with the nail. A lateral wall is connected to the cover portion to create a partial enclosure for receiving a human digit without passing over the nail. A stabilizer is coupled to the lateral wall and is spaced about from and opposite from the ridge and extends in an opposite longitudinal direction from a distal end of the cover portion.

Description

    BACKGROUND
  • 1. Technical Field
  • This disclosure relates to an apparatus for protecting finger nails and toe nails and more particularly to an apparatus configured to protect nails from contact after a manicure/pedicure or for medical purposes.
  • 2. Description of the Related Art
  • After a manicure or pedicure, it is often necessary to wait for a period of time to permit nails to dry. During this time, an individual is virtually incapacitated and unable to perform any manual tasks until their nails have dried. This is extremely inconvenient. In addition, attempting to perform any manual tasks can damage or ruin the nail's finish or polish, which jeopardizes the appearance and/or work that was needed to obtain the desired polished state of the nails. This could be costly given the expense and time needed for manicures/pedicures.
  • To alleviate such problems, nail protectors have been used. These are typically rings that have to be slid over the nail and the finger. While such devices, if properly applied, can protect the nail, such devices jeopardize the nail's finish, since these devices must be applied over the nail itself. Any contact with the nail will ruin the finish.
  • SUMMARY
  • A nail protector and method for use includes a cover portion dimensioned to fit over a human nail to form a gap with the human nail, and a ridge formed on an underside of the cover portion and configured to contact skin adjacent to the nail without contact with the nail. A lateral wall is connected to the cover portion to create a partial enclosure for receiving a human digit without passing over the nail. A stabilizer is coupled to the lateral wall and is spaced about from and opposite from the ridge and extends in an opposite longitudinal direction from a distal end of the cover portion.
  • A method for protecting nails includes providing a nail protector in accordance with the present principles and applying the nail protector on the human digit without longitudinally passing over the nail.
  • These and other features and advantages will become apparent from the following detailed description of illustrative embodiments thereof, which is to be read in connection with the accompanying drawings.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
  • The disclosure will provide details in the following description of preferred embodiments with reference to the following figures wherein:
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a nail protector in accordance with one illustrative embodiment;
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the nail protector of FIG. 1 showing the underside and depicting a ridge in accordance with one embodiment;
  • FIG. 3 is a side view of a finger with a nail protector where the nail protector is shown in cross-section with reaction forces in accordance with one embodiment;
  • FIG. 4 is a side view of a nail protector where a stabilization portion is provided by a coil in accordance with one embodiment;
  • FIG. 5 is a rear view of a nail protector where a biased hinge is employed to maintain a lateral wall in a closed position and permit the nail protector to be applied to a human digit in an open position in accordance with one embodiment;
  • FIG. 6 is a rear view of a nail protector where rotatable clasp is employed to maintain a wall in a closed position and permit the nail protector to be applied to a human digit in an open position in accordance with one embodiment;
  • FIG. 7 is a side view of a nail protector where an insert is connected to a cover portion, the insert providing the functions of the stabilization portion and the lateral walls in accordance with one embodiment; and
  • FIG. 8 is a flow diagram showing a method for employing a nail protector in accordance with one embodiment.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • The present embodiments are directed to an apparatus and method for protecting nails. In particularly useful embodiments, a nail protector is provided that covers a finger or toe nail and provides a stable cover over the nail to prevent contact with the nail. In one embodiment, the nail is protected from top and lateral contact, which is particularly helpful when the nail has been polished and has not yet dried.
  • In one embodiment, the nail protection apparatus includes a flexible portion, which expands to receive a finger or toe and when restored holds the nail protection apparatus in place. The apparatus includes a cover or shield portion that extends over the nail, and a median ridge or raised area that supports that cover portion. The flexible portion includes a longitudinal extension portion that extends along the finger or toe to prevent the cover portion from rotating onto the nail.
  • The present embodiments will illustratively be described in terms of protecting nails after a manicure or pedicure. However, the present invention is much broader and may be applicable as a nail or finger/toe protector for medical applications such as the loss of a nail due to an injury or due to an infection or other condition.
  • Referring now to the drawings in which like numerals represent the same or similar elements and initially to FIG. 1, a nail protector 100 is shown in accordance with one illustrative embodiment. Nail protector 100 includes a cover portion 102 which is configured to cover a finger or toe nail of a user without contact to the nail itself. The cover portion 102 is permitted to cover the nail with a gap maintained between the nail and the cover portion 102. This gap is maintained during use of the nail protector 100 as will be described in greater detail below.
  • Nail protector 100 includes two lateral supports 116, which extend from the cover portion 102. The lateral supports 116 are connected to the cover at portions 110. Portions 110 and surrounding areas are flexible to permit a gap 112 to be increased by permitting flexure in the direction of arrow “A”.
  • To permit flexure of portion 110 and/or of side walls 106, these portions may be formed from a flexible material. In some embodiments, the materials may include plastics, such as polyethylene, polycarbonate, rubber, etc., metals, such as steel, brass, etc., wood, or combinations thereof.
  • The cross-sectional dimensions of side walls 106 may be configured to provide a restoring force to return the original gap size 112. This assists in maintaining the nail protector 100 on a finger or toe of the user. Side walls 106 may be tapered (either larger or smaller) as the distance from portions 110 increases. Side walls 106 may also be of uniform thickness about the circumference of opening 114. Side walls 106 may follow any other variations in thickness as well to provide sufficient strength and restoring force to maintain gap 112 and secure the nail protector 100 on the user.
  • Nail protector 100 includes a ridge or extension portion 108. The ridge 108 extends under the cover portion 102 nearer to the insertion point of a finger or toe in opening 114. Ridge 108 is configured to contact the skin of the finger or toe to provide support for the cover portion 102 and prevent contact of the cover portion 102 with the nail. In addition, nail protector 100 includes longitudinal extensions 104 which are configured to extend along the finger or toe of the user and prevent rotational motion of the cover portion 102 toward the nail. Ridge 108 and longitudinal extensions 104 work together to provide support for the cover portion 102 and prevent rotational motion of the cover portion 102 toward the nail. Lateral portions 116 prevent axial rotation of the cover portion 102 on the finger or toe, and employ a restoring force to prevent the nail protector 100 from slipping forward or backward along the finger or toe once the nail protector is in place.
  • An insertion side of the nail protector 100 preferably includes radiused or rounded edges 120 to provide comfort for the wearer and ease application of the protector device. It should be understood that the present principles may be practiced with many different designs and configurations. The presently described embodiments are illustrative only and should not be construed as limiting.
  • Referring to FIG. 2, another view of the nail protector 100 of FIG. 1 is illustratively depicted to show an underside of the nail protector 100. The ridge 108 is shown extending over a sector of the perimeter of opening 114 below the cover portion 102. Ridge 108 includes generous transitions 204 to permit the nail protector 100 to be easily applied on a finger or toe, and for comfort. A top portion 206 of ridge 108 makes contact with the skin of a finger or toe. The internal upper portion of ridge 108 features a build up of material allowing for adequate nail clearance.
  • Ends 202 of lateral portion 116 are preferably rounded and provide sufficient material to extend below the finger or toe once positioned thereon.
  • Referring to FIG. 3, a further explanation of the functionality of the nail protector 100 will now be illustratively described using a cross-sectional view of nail protector 100 depicted on a finger 304. If for example, a force F1 is applied to the cover portion 102, reaction forces FR1 and FR2 will maintain the cover portion 102 in its current position and prevent contact with a nail 302 of finger 304. Reaction force FR1 results from the longitudinal extensions 104 extending along finger 304 on an opposing side of the pivot point created by ridge 108. Reaction force FR2 is provided by contact with ridge 108 with finger 304.
  • As described previously, lateral portions 116 extend below finger 304 and provide support to generate reaction forces FR1. Nail protector 100 is therefore stable on the finger 304, and prevents contact of the nail protector or other objects with nail 302.
  • The nail protector 100 may include other features to provide similar effects. These features are illustratively described below, but should not be construed as limiting.
  • Referring to FIG. 4, a nail protector 400 includes a cover portion 102 and one or two side portions 410 that can extend into a coil 420. The cover portion includes a ridge 108 as before and employs the coil 420 to generate the reaction force FR1 (FIG. 3). In this way, the nail protector 400 is placed on a side of the finger or toe and the coil 420 is wrapped around the user's finger to secure the nail protector 400. The coil 420 is formed from a flexible material and is connected to or formed with the rest of the nail protector 400.
  • As before, the open ended ring permits the nail protector 400 (or 100) to clamp onto the finger or toe to avoid passing over a painted nail. Edges 412 of nail protector 400 are preferably bull-nosed and flared to serve as a necessary guide for placement on the finger.
  • Nail protectors 100 and 400 provide a rear stabilizer using longitudinal extensions 104 or using coil 420 (FIG. 1) for preventing the nail cover portion from making contact with the nail.
  • Referring to FIG. 5, a nail protector 500 is conceptually depicted showing a biased hinge 510 to permit opening and closing of a lateral side 512 of nail protector 500. Hinge 510 may include a spring 514 as a biasing means to bias the lateral side 512 in a closed position (shown). When the nail protector is to be placed on a finger the lateral side is opened in the direction of arrow “B”, the finger is then placed inside the nail protector 500 and the lateral side 512 is closed. An optical latch 516 may be employed to lock the lateral side 512 in place to secure the nail protector 500 to the finger of the wearer. FIG. 5 has omitted features for simplicity of explanation, e.g., the cover portion, the ridge and rear stabilization portions are not shown.
  • Referring to FIG. 6, a nail protector 600 may include a clasp 610 that rotates about a finger in the direction of arrow “C”. The clasp 610 is opened to permit a finger to be placed inside the nail protector 600 and then the clasp 610 is closed to secure the nail protector 600 to the finger of the wearer. The clasp 610 may be stowed on the side of a base portion 612 in the open position. FIG. 6 has omitted features, e.g., the cover portion, the ridge and rear stabilization portions, for simplicity. The clasp 610 may employ any known mechanical slides, concentric walls or other known elements for providing the mechanical features for sliding the clasp 610 into or out of a closed position.
  • Nail protectors 100, 400, 500 and 600, in accordance with the present principles, may include additional features and modifications. In one embodiment, the cover portion 102 is formed from a clear resilient plastic material (e.g., polycarbonate) so that the polished nail is visible. The construction material may include polypropylene, polyethylene, polycarbonate, etc.
  • The nail protectors 100, 400, 500 and 600 may be fabricated to be disposable or reusable. Reusable embodiments may include the use of washable or sterilizable materials. In either case, the nail protector is preferably ergonomic, light weight and recyclable. In addition, construction materials for the nail protector may be colored, textured or otherwise decorated to suit personal preferences. Nail protectors 100, 400, 500 and 600 may include a plurality of sizes to permit proper fitting for a plurality of different sized fingers and toes.
  • Referring to FIG. 7, an insert 650 may be employed which detachably snaps into the cover portion 102 to provide the functions the stabilizer and of the lateral walls to hold the nail protector fast on the finger or toe. Inserts 650 may provide the proper fit one the finger and lock into the cover portion 102. The insert 650 as with the other nail protectors are made in accordance with standard finger/toe size dimensions. This is particularly useful for reusable nail protectors. The inserts 650 may be u-shaped and fit over the finger without going over the nail. Then, the cover portion 102 may be attached over the insert 650. The insert 650 may have a locking feature, such as a detent, snap, clasp, etc. to provide attachment to the nail protector 655 to complete a ring formed using both the insert 650 and the nail protector 655. The inserts may be formed from plastics, metals, foams, etc. and may be utilized to accommodate various finger sizing.
  • Nail protectors in accordance with the present invention may be integrally formed as a single piece or may include a removable/detachable cover portion 102 to permit for interchangeable styles of the cover portion 102.
  • Referring to FIG. 8, a flow diagram shows a method for employing a nail protector in accordance with the present invention. After a manicure/pedicure or a need for protecting nails arises, proper sized nail protectors (or inserts) are identified in block 702. In block 704, the nail protectors are applied to the fingers or toe from a lateral direction over a finger or toe without passing over the nail in a longitudinal direction. This includes spreading flexible parts, opening a hinge or clasp or otherwise attaching the nail protector to a finger/toe (e.g., using inserts and protector to connect and form a ring). In block 706, the finger/toe is permitted to heal or the nail permitted to dry. In block 708, the nail protector is removed and disposed of, cleaned/sterilized or recycled.
  • Having described preferred embodiments of a nail protector and method (which are intended to be illustrative and not limiting), it is noted that modifications and variations can be made by persons skilled in the art in light of the above teachings. It is therefore to be understood that changes may be made in the particular embodiments disclosed which are within the scope and spirit of the invention as outlined by the appended claims. Having thus described aspects of the invention, with the details and particularity required by the patent laws, what is claimed and desired protected by Letters Patent is set forth in the appended claims.

Claims (20)

  1. 1. A nail protector, comprising:
    a cover portion dimensioned to fit over a human nail to form a gap with the human nail;
    a ridge formed on an underside of the cover portion and configured to contact skin adjacent to the nail without contact with the nail;
    at least one lateral wall connected to the cover portion to create a partial enclosure for receiving a human digit without passing over the nail; and
    a stabilizer coupled to the at least one lateral wall and being spaced about from and opposite from the ridge and extending in an opposite longitudinal direction from a distal end of the cover portion.
  2. 2. The nail protector as recited in claim 1, wherein the at least one lateral wall includes two flexible lateral walls, which form a gap therebetween for a lateral insertion of the human digit.
  3. 3. The nail protector as recited in claim 1, wherein the at least one lateral wall includes a non-uniform wall thickness.
  4. 4. The nail protector as recited in claim 3, wherein the non-uniform wall thickness includes a tapered cross-section.
  5. 5. The nail protector as recited in claim 1, wherein the stabilizer is formed from an extension of the at least one lateral wall.
  6. 6. The nail protector as recited in claim 1, wherein the stabilizer is formed from a coiled portion.
  7. 7. The nail protector as recited in claim 1, wherein the at least one lateral wall includes a biased hinge such that a portion of the at least one lateral wall can be opened to receive the human digit.
  8. 8. The nail protector as recited in claim 1, wherein the at least one lateral wall includes a rotatable clasp such that the clasp can be opened to receive the human digit.
  9. 9. The nail protector as recited in claim 1, wherein the cover portion is removable.
  10. 10. The nail protector as recited in claim 1, wherein the stabilizer includes an insert which is connectable to the cover portion.
  11. 11. A nail protector, comprising:
    a cover portion dimensioned to fit over a human nail to form a gap with the human nail;
    a ridge formed on an underside of the cover portion and configured to contact skin adjacent to the nail without contact with the nail; and
    lateral walls connected to the cover portion to create a partial enclosure for inserting a human digit without passing over the nail, the lateral walls extending from opposite sides of the cover portion and forming a gap therebetween, wherein the lateral walls are flexible and the gap permits lateral insertion of a human digit, the lateral walls including a stabilizer portion coupled to the lateral walls and being spaced about and opposite from the ridge and extending in an opposite longitudinal direction from a distal end of the cover portion, the stabilizer portion for partially extending below the digit opposite the ridge.
  12. 12. The nail protector as recited in claim 11, wherein the cover portion is removable.
  13. 13. The nail protector as recited in claim 11, wherein the lateral walls and the stabilizer portion are formed from an insert which is connectable to the cover portion.
  14. 14. A method for protecting nails comprising:
    providing a nail protector having a cover portion dimensioned to fit over a human nail to form a gap with the human nail, a ridge formed on an underside of the cover portion and configured to contact skin adjacent to the nail without contact with the nail, at least one lateral wall connected to the cover portion to create a partial enclosure for receiving a human digit without passing over the nail, and a stabilizer coupled to the at least one lateral wall and being spaced about from and opposite from the ridge and extending in an opposite longitudinal direction from a distal end of the cover portion; and
    applying the nail protector on the human digit without longitudinally passing over the nail.
  15. 15. The method as recited in claim 14, wherein the at least one lateral wall includes two flexible lateral walls, and applying includes flexing a gap between the two lateral walls for a lateral insertion of the human digit.
  16. 16. The method as recited in claim 14, wherein the at least one lateral wall includes a coil and applying includes wrapping the coil around the human digit.
  17. 17. The method as recited in claim 14, wherein applying includes opening a biased hinge in the at least one lateral wall to receive the human digit.
  18. 18. The method as recited in claim 14, wherein applying includes opening a rotatable clasp in the at least one lateral wall to receive the human digit.
  19. 19. The method as recited in claim 14, further comprising removing the cover portion from the nail protector.
  20. 20. The method as recited in claim 1, wherein applying includes employing an insert to connect to the cover portion.
US12102124 2008-04-14 2008-04-14 Nail protection apparatus Abandoned US20090255545A1 (en)

Priority Applications (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US12102124 US20090255545A1 (en) 2008-04-14 2008-04-14 Nail protection apparatus

Applications Claiming Priority (5)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US12102124 US20090255545A1 (en) 2008-04-14 2008-04-14 Nail protection apparatus
US12422380 US8061370B2 (en) 2008-04-14 2009-04-13 Nail protection apparatus
PCT/US2009/040428 WO2009129203A3 (en) 2008-04-14 2009-04-14 Nail protection apparatus
CA 2721035 CA2721035A1 (en) 2008-04-14 2009-04-14 Nail protection apparatus
EP20090732122 EP2265142A4 (en) 2008-04-14 2009-04-14 Nail protection apparatus

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US12422380 Continuation-In-Part US8061370B2 (en) 2008-04-14 2009-04-13 Nail protection apparatus

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Citations (27)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US1917794A (en) * 1931-12-28 1933-07-11 Jan P Clary Finger tip and nail shaper
US2179046A (en) * 1939-01-03 1939-11-07 David Gelb Fingernail polish protector
US2251551A (en) * 1940-05-02 1941-08-05 Myles B O'reilly Nail polish protector
US2487101A (en) * 1947-06-27 1949-11-08 Ralph E Colby Fingernail protector
US2528456A (en) * 1949-03-07 1950-10-31 Evergrip Inc Fixing splint for injured body appendants
US2546619A (en) * 1948-11-01 1951-03-27 Hiliary H Turner Fingernail guard
US2557759A (en) * 1947-06-02 1951-06-19 Howard C Ellis Fingernail polish guard
US2591092A (en) * 1950-03-14 1952-04-01 Alexander D Okonski Fingernail guard
US2847005A (en) * 1956-12-14 1958-08-12 John A Bourne Surgical dressing for forming a finger cot
US4089066A (en) * 1977-05-09 1978-05-16 Dethman Margaret L Fingernail protector
US4940046A (en) * 1981-01-19 1990-07-10 Jacoby Richard P Post-operative bunion splint
US4966174A (en) * 1989-08-11 1990-10-30 Stanczak James J Fingernail protector
US5085234A (en) * 1990-12-14 1992-02-04 Gloria Silverman Fingernail shielding method
US5234142A (en) * 1992-09-28 1993-08-10 Loewen Jason P Protective finger socket
USD343475S (en) * 1991-07-15 1994-01-18 Fingernail polish protector
US5282276A (en) * 1991-04-26 1994-02-01 Marlene Preiose Fingernail protector
US5517692A (en) * 1994-09-09 1996-05-21 Wunderlich-Kehm; Joan Manicurist's thumb and finger protectors
US5540243A (en) * 1995-06-08 1996-07-30 Hands Unlimited Inc. Fingernail protector
US5803094A (en) * 1997-09-12 1998-09-08 Becker; Jeffrey Bruce Artificial fingernail attachment aid and method
US20020059940A1 (en) * 2000-04-07 2002-05-23 Cain-Kozma Angela B. Protective closing cover for nails
US6514222B2 (en) * 2001-03-20 2003-02-04 James Frederick Cook Post surgical appendage protector
US20040215121A1 (en) * 2003-04-23 2004-10-28 Parker Laura Ann Toe guard
US20050177084A1 (en) * 2004-02-06 2005-08-11 Green Allan L. Diabetic toe protectors
US7222628B2 (en) * 2004-04-03 2007-05-29 King Larue Ezelle Artificial nail apparatus
US20080034460A1 (en) * 2006-08-10 2008-02-14 John Keene Thumb saver
US20080082033A1 (en) * 2006-09-29 2008-04-03 Becton Dickinson And Company Thumb immobilizer
US20090255546A1 (en) * 2008-04-14 2009-10-15 Giachetti Lisa Nail protection apparatus

Patent Citations (27)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US1917794A (en) * 1931-12-28 1933-07-11 Jan P Clary Finger tip and nail shaper
US2179046A (en) * 1939-01-03 1939-11-07 David Gelb Fingernail polish protector
US2251551A (en) * 1940-05-02 1941-08-05 Myles B O'reilly Nail polish protector
US2557759A (en) * 1947-06-02 1951-06-19 Howard C Ellis Fingernail polish guard
US2487101A (en) * 1947-06-27 1949-11-08 Ralph E Colby Fingernail protector
US2546619A (en) * 1948-11-01 1951-03-27 Hiliary H Turner Fingernail guard
US2528456A (en) * 1949-03-07 1950-10-31 Evergrip Inc Fixing splint for injured body appendants
US2591092A (en) * 1950-03-14 1952-04-01 Alexander D Okonski Fingernail guard
US2847005A (en) * 1956-12-14 1958-08-12 John A Bourne Surgical dressing for forming a finger cot
US4089066A (en) * 1977-05-09 1978-05-16 Dethman Margaret L Fingernail protector
US4940046A (en) * 1981-01-19 1990-07-10 Jacoby Richard P Post-operative bunion splint
US4966174A (en) * 1989-08-11 1990-10-30 Stanczak James J Fingernail protector
US5085234A (en) * 1990-12-14 1992-02-04 Gloria Silverman Fingernail shielding method
US5282276A (en) * 1991-04-26 1994-02-01 Marlene Preiose Fingernail protector
USD343475S (en) * 1991-07-15 1994-01-18 Fingernail polish protector
US5234142A (en) * 1992-09-28 1993-08-10 Loewen Jason P Protective finger socket
US5517692A (en) * 1994-09-09 1996-05-21 Wunderlich-Kehm; Joan Manicurist's thumb and finger protectors
US5540243A (en) * 1995-06-08 1996-07-30 Hands Unlimited Inc. Fingernail protector
US5803094A (en) * 1997-09-12 1998-09-08 Becker; Jeffrey Bruce Artificial fingernail attachment aid and method
US20020059940A1 (en) * 2000-04-07 2002-05-23 Cain-Kozma Angela B. Protective closing cover for nails
US6514222B2 (en) * 2001-03-20 2003-02-04 James Frederick Cook Post surgical appendage protector
US20040215121A1 (en) * 2003-04-23 2004-10-28 Parker Laura Ann Toe guard
US20050177084A1 (en) * 2004-02-06 2005-08-11 Green Allan L. Diabetic toe protectors
US7222628B2 (en) * 2004-04-03 2007-05-29 King Larue Ezelle Artificial nail apparatus
US20080034460A1 (en) * 2006-08-10 2008-02-14 John Keene Thumb saver
US20080082033A1 (en) * 2006-09-29 2008-04-03 Becton Dickinson And Company Thumb immobilizer
US20090255546A1 (en) * 2008-04-14 2009-10-15 Giachetti Lisa Nail protection apparatus

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