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United States Patent Application 20170071774
Kind Code A1
OSTERGARD; DOAK March 16, 2017

ANKLE BRACE

Abstract

An ankle brace which is positioned on an ankle of a person which incorporates a tensioning structure which permits full range of motion to the ankle joint but which prevents the ankle joint from moving past its normal range of motion to protect the ankle joint.


Inventors: OSTERGARD; DOAK; (LINCOLN, NE)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

OSTERGARD; DOAK

LINCOLN

NE

US
Family ID: 1000002340330
Appl. No.: 15/342638
Filed: November 3, 2016


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
13871094Apr 26, 2013
15342638

Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: A61F 5/0111 20130101; A43C 5/00 20130101; A43B 5/00 20130101; A43C 15/16 20130101; A43C 1/00 20130101
International Class: A61F 5/01 20060101 A61F005/01; A43B 5/00 20060101 A43B005/00; A43C 15/16 20060101 A43C015/16; A43C 5/00 20060101 A43C005/00; A43C 1/00 20060101 A43C001/00

Claims



1. An ankle brace for use with an athletic shoe having a sole with a lower cleated surface, a lateral side and a medial side, an upper part with an upper end, a lacing closure, with upper and lower ends, including a plurality of spaced-apart pairs of eyelets adapted to have a shoe lace threaded therein, comprising: a flexible lateral portion having an upper end, a lower end, a forward end, a rearward end, an outer side and an inner side; said upper end of said lateral portion having a plurality of spaced-apart first eyelets formed therein at said forward end thereof; a first loop secured to said outer side of said lateral portion adjacent said eyelets at said forward end thereof; a second loop secured to said outer side of said lateral portion rearwardly of said first loop; a third loop secured to said outer side of said lateral portion below said eyelets at said forward end of said lateral portion and below said first loop; said lateral portion having a strip of hook fasteners secured to the outer side thereof at said rearward end thereof; said lateral portion being removably positioned adjacent the lateral side of the upper part of the shoe; said lower end of said lateral portion extending beneath the sole of the shoe; a flexible medial portion having an upper end, a lower end, a forward end, a rearward end, an outer side and an inner side; said upper end of said medial portion having a plurality of spaced-apart first eyelets formed therein at said forward end thereof; a first loop secured to said outer side of said medial portion adjacent said eyelets at said forward end thereof; a second loop secured to said outer side of said medial portion rearwardly of said first loop thereof; a third loop secured to said outer side of said medial portion below said eyelets at said forward end of said medial portion and below said first loop thereof; an elongated first strap having first and second ends and inner and outer surfaces; said first end of said first strap being secured to said medial portion at said rearward end thereof; said inner surface of said first strap having loop fasteners thereon; said first strap being selectively adjustably secured to said strip of hook fasteners secured to the outer side of said lateral portion; said lower end of said medial portion extending beneath the sole of the shoe; said lower ends of said lateral and medial portions being joined together beneath the sole of the shoe; said rearward ends of said lateral and medial portions being spaced-apart; a flexible and stretchable body member having upper and lower ends, a lateral side portion, a medial side portion, and a heel portion; said lower end of said lateral side portion of said body member being secured to said lateral portion; said lower end of said medial side portion of said body member being secured to said medial portion; said heel portion of said body member being secured to said rearward ends of said lateral and medial portions and extending therebetween; a second flexible and stretchable strap having a first end, a second end, an upper end, a lower end, and inner and outer sides; said lower end of said second strap being secured to said upper end of said body member so that said first and second ends of said second strap extend forwardly from said first body member; said outer side of said second strap having loop fasteners thereon at said second end thereof; a third strap having a first end, a second end, an outer side and an inner side; said first end of said third strap being secured to said first end of said second strap; said inner side of said third strap having hook fasteners thereon for adjustable attachment to said loop fasteners on said second strap at said second end of said second strap; a fourth non-stretchable strap having first and second ends; said fourth strap being secured to said outer side of said second strap; said first end of said fourth strap having at least one eyelet formed therein; said second end of said fourth strap having at least one eyelet formed therein; a loop secured to said fourth strap at said first end thereof; a loop secured to said fourth strap at said second end thereof; a first lace member adjustably extending through said eyelets on said first and second ends of said fourth strap; a flexible lateral tensioning cord having first and second ends; said first end of said lateral tensioning cord being secured to said fourth strap at said first end thereof; said lateral tensioning cord extending from its fixed first end downwardly and forwardly through said second loop on said lateral portion, thence forwardly through said first loop on said lateral portion, thence downwardly and rearwardly through said third loop on said lateral portion, thence upwardly and rearwardly through said second loop on said lateral portion, thence rearwardly through said loop at said first end of said fourth strap, thence downwardly therefrom; said second end of said lateral tensioning cord being secured to said lateral portion; a flexible medial tensioning cord having first and second ends; said first end of said medial tensioning cord being secured to said fourth strap at said second end thereof; said medial tensioning cord extending from its fixed first end downwardly and forwardly through said second loop on said medial portion, thence forwardly through said first loop on said medial portion, thence downwardly and rearwardly through said third loop on said medial portion, thence upwardly and rearwardly through said second loop on said medial portion, thence rearwardly through said loops at said second end of said fourth strap, thence through said eyelet which is positioned rearwardly of said plurality of eyelets on said medial portion; said second end of said medial tensioning cord being secured to said medial portion; the shoe lace of the shoe also being threaded through some of said first eyelets formed in said lateral portion and through some of said first eyelets in said medial portion.

2. The ankle brace of claim 1 further including elongated fifth and sixth straps having first and second ends; said first end of said fifth strap being secured to said lateral tensioning cord; said second end of said fifth strap being selectively adjustably secured to the outer side of said medial portion; said first end of said sixth strap being secured to said medial tensioning cord; said second end of said sixth strap being selectively adjustably secured to said outer side of said lateral portion.

3. The ankle brace of claim 2 wherein said first end of said fifth strap is secured to said lateral tensioning cord between said first and third loops of said lateral portion and wherein said first end of said sixth strap is secured to said medial tensioning cord between said first and second loops of said medial portion.

4. The ankle brace of claim 3 wherein said first end of said fifth strap is slidably secured to said lateral tensioning cord and wherein said first end of said sixth strap is slidably secured to said medial tensioning cord.

5. The ankle brace of claim 1 wherein said lateral portion has an eyelet formed thereon rearwardly of said first eyelets thereof and wherein said medial portion has an eyelet formed therein rearwardly of said first eyelets thereof; said second end of said lateral tensioning cord extending through said eyelet which is positioned rearwardly of said first eyelets of said lateral portion for connection to said lateral portion; said second end of said medial tensioning cord extending through said eyelet which is positioned rearwardly of said first eyelets of said medial portion for connection to said medial portion.

6. The ankle brace of claim 1 wherein a reinforcing member is positioned at the inner side of said lateral portion and is secured thereto and wherein a reinforcing member is positioned at the inner side of said medial portion and is secured thereto.

7. The ankle brace of claim 1 wherein said lateral and medial tensioning cords are stretchable.

8. The ankle brace of claim 1 wherein a reinforcing member is positioned between said fourth strap and said third strap.

9. The ankle brace of claim 1 wherein said lower ends of said lateral and medial portions have openings formed therein which receive some of the cleats of the sole extending downwardly therethrough.

10. An ankle brace for use with an athletic shoe having a sole with a lower surface, a lateral side and a medial side, an upper part with an upper end, a lacing closure, with upper and lower ends, including a plurality of spaced-apart pairs of eyelets adapted to have a shoe lace threaded therein, comprising: a flexible lateral portion having an upper end, a lower end, a forward end, a rearward end, an outer side and an inner side; said upper end of said lateral portion having a plurality of spaced-apart first eyelets formed therein at said forward end thereof; a first loop secured to said outer side of said lateral portion adjacent said eyelets at said forward end thereof; a second loop secured to said outer side of said lateral portion rearwardly of said first loop; a third loop secured to said outer side of said lateral portion below said eyelets at said forward end of said lateral portion and below said first loop; said lateral portion having a strip of hook fasteners secured to the outer side thereof at said rearward end thereof; said lateral portion being removably positioned adjacent the lateral side of the upper part of the shoe; said lower end of said lateral portion extending beneath the sole of the shoe; a flexible medial portion having an upper end, a lower end, a forward end, a rearward end, an outer side and an inner side; said upper end of said medial portion having a plurality of spaced-apart first eyelets formed therein at said forward end thereof; a first loop secured to said outer side of said medial portion adjacent said eyelets at said forward end thereof; a second loop secured to said outer side of said medial portion rearwardly of said first loop thereof; a third loop secured to said outer side of said medial portion below said eyelets at said forward end of said medial portion and below said first loop thereof; an elongated first strap having first and second ends and inner and outer surfaces; said first end of said first strap being secured to said medial portion at said rearward end thereof; said inner surface of said first strap having loop fasteners thereon; said first strap being selectively adjustably secured to said strip of hook fasteners secured to the outer side of said lateral portion; said lower end of said medial portion extending beneath the sole of the shoe; said lower ends of said lateral and medial portions being joined together beneath the sole of the shoe; said rearward ends of said lateral and medial portions being spaced-apart; a flexible body member having upper and lower ends, a lateral side portion, a medial side portion, and a heel portion; said lower end of said lateral side portion of said body member being secured to said lateral portion; said lower end of said medial side portion of said body member being secured to said medial portion; said heel portion of said body member being secured to said rearward ends of said lateral and medial portions and extending therebetween; a second flexible strap having a first end, a second end, an upper end, a lower end, and inner and outer sides; said lower end of said second strap being secured to said upper end of said body member so that said first and second ends of said second strap extend forwardly from said first body member; said outer side of said second strap having loop fasteners thereon at said second end thereof; a third strap having a first end, a second end, an outer side and an inner side; said first end of said third strap being secured to said first end of said second strap; said inner side of said third strap having hook fasteners thereon for adjustable attachment to said loop fasteners on said second strap at said second end of said second strap; a fourth non-stretchable strap having first and second ends; said fourth strap being secured to said outer side of said second strap; said first end of said fourth strap having at least one eyelet formed therein; said second end of said fourth strap having at least one eyelet formed therein; a loop secured to said fourth strap at said first end thereof; a loop secured to said fourth strap at said second end thereof; a first lace member adjustably extending through said eyelets on said first and second ends of said fourth strap; a flexible lateral tensioning cord having first and second ends; said first end of said lateral tensioning cord being secured to said fourth strap at said first end thereof; said lateral tensioning cord extending from its fixed first end downwardly and forwardly through said second loop on said lateral portion, thence forwardly through said first loop on said lateral portion, thence downwardly and rearwardly through said third loop on said lateral portion, thence upwardly and rearwardly through said second loop on said lateral portion, thence rearwardly through said loop at said first end of said fourth strap, thence downwardly therefrom; said second end of said lateral tensioning cord being secured to said lateral portion; a flexible medial tensioning cord having first and second ends; said first end of said medial tensioning cord being secured to said fourth strap at said second end thereof; said medial tensioning cord extending from its fixed first end downwardly and forwardly through said second loop on said medial portion, thence forwardly through said first loop on said medial portion, thence downwardly and rearwardly through said third loop on said medial portion, thence upwardly and rearwardly through said second loop on said medial portion, thence rearwardly through said loops at said second end of said fourth strap, thence through said eyelet which is positioned rearwardly of said plurality of eyelets on said medial portion; said second end of said medial tensioning cord being secured to said medial portion; the shoe lace of the shoe also being threaded through some of said first eyelets formed in said lateral portion and through some of said first eyelets in said medial portion.

11. The ankle brace of claim 10 further including elongated fifth and sixth straps having first and second ends; said first end of said fifth strap being secured to said lateral tensioning cord; said second end of said fifth strap being selectively adjustably secured to the outer side of said medial portion; said first end of said sixth strap being secured to said medial tensioning cord; said second end of said sixth strap being selectively adjustably secured to said outer side of said lateral portion.

12. The ankle brace of claim 11 wherein said first end of said fifth strap is secured to said lateral tensioning cord between said first and third loops of said lateral portion and wherein said first end of said sixth strap is secured to said medial tensioning cord between said first and second loops of said medial portion.

13. The ankle brace of claim 12 wherein said first end of said fifth strap is slidably secured to said lateral tensioning cord and wherein said first end of said sixth strap is slidably secured to said medial tensioning cord.

14. The ankle brace of claim 10 wherein said lateral portion has an eyelet formed thereon rearwardly of said first eyelets thereof and wherein said medial portion has an eyelet formed therein rearwardly of said first eyelets thereof; said second end of said lateral tensioning cord extending through said eyelet which is positioned rearwardly of said first eyelets of said lateral portion for connection to said lateral portion; said second end of said medial tensioning cord extending through said eyelet which is positioned rearwardly of said first eyelets of said medial portion for connection to said medial portion.

15. The ankle brace of claim 10 wherein a reinforcing member is positioned at the inner side of said lateral portion and is secured thereto and wherein a reinforcing member is positioned at the inner side of said medial portion and is secured thereto.

16. The ankle brace of claim 10 wherein said lateral and medial tensioning cords are stretchable.

17. The ankle brace of claim 10 wherein a reinforcing member is positioned between said fourth strap and said third strap.

18. An ankle brace for use with an athletic shoe having a sole with a lower surface, a lateral side and a medial side, an upper part with an upper end, a lacing closure, with upper and lower ends, including a plurality of spaced-apart pairs of eyelets adapted to have a shoe lace threaded therein, comprising: a flexible lateral portion having an upper end, a lower end, a forward end, a rearward end, an outer side and an inner side; said upper end of said lateral portion having a plurality of spaced-apart first eyelets formed therein at said forward end thereof; a first loop secured to said outer side of said lateral portion adjacent said eyelets at said forward end thereof; a second loop secured to said outer side of said lateral portion rearwardly of said first loop; said lateral portion having a strip of hook fasteners secured to the outer side thereof; said lateral portion being removably positioned adjacent the lateral side of the upper part of the shoe; said lower end of said lateral portion extending beneath the sole of the shoe; a flexible medial portion having an upper end, a lower end, a forward end, a rearward end, an outer side and an inner side; said upper end of said medial portion having a plurality of spaced-apart first eyelets formed therein at said forward end thereof; a first loop secured to said outer side of said medial portion adjacent said eyelets at said forward end thereof; a second loop secured to said outer side of said medial portion rearwardly of said first loop thereof; an elongated first strap having first and second ends and inner and outer surfaces; said first end of said first strap being secured to said medial portion; said inner surface of said first strap having loop fasteners thereon; said second end of said first strap being selectively adjustably secured to said strip of hook fasteners secured to the outer side of said lateral portion; said lower end of said medial portion extending beneath the sole of the shoe; said lower ends of said lateral and medial portions being joined together beneath the sole of the shoe; said rearward ends of said lateral and medial portions being spaced-apart; a flexible body member having upper and lower ends, a lateral side portion, a medial side portion, and a heel portion; said lower end of said lateral side portion of said body member being secured to said lateral portion; said lower end of said medial side portion of said body member being secured to said medial portion; said heel portion of said body member being secured to said rearward ends of said lateral and medial portions and extending therebetween; a second flexible strap having a first end, a second end, an upper end, a lower end, and inner and outer sides; said lower end of said second strap being secured to said upper end of said body member so that said first and second ends of said second strap extend forwardly from said first body member; means for securing said first and second ends of said second strap together; a first loop secured to said second strap rearwardly of said first end thereof; a second loop secured to said second strap rearwardly of said second end thereof; a first lace member adjustably extending through said eyelets on said lateral and medial portions and the eyelets of the shoe; a flexible lateral tensioning cord operatively interconnecting said first loop on said second strap and said first and second loops on said lateral portion; a flexible medial tensioning cord operatively interconnecting said second loop on said second strap and said first and second loops on said medial portion; an elongated third strap having first and second ends; said first end of said third strap being secured to said lateral tensioning cord; said second end of said third strap being selectively adjustably secured to said medial portion; an elongated fourth strap having first and second ends; said first end of said fourth strap being secured to said medial tensioning cord; said second end of said fourth strap being selectively adjustably secured to said lateral portion; the shoe lace of the shoe also being threaded through some of said first eyelets formed in said lateral portion and through some of said first eyelets in said medial portion; and a third strap adjustably secured to the rearward ends of said lateral and medial portions which extends therebetween.
Description



CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This is a Divisional application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/871,094 filed Apr. 26, 2013 entitled ANKLE BRACE which is a Continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/134,087, filed May 27, 2011 entitled ANKLE BRACE.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Field of the Invention

[0003] This invention relates to an ankle brace and more particularly to an ankle brace including a tensioning system which functionally stabilizes the ankle as it reaches extreme ranges of motion.

[0004] Description of the Related Art

[0005] Conventional braces for protecting joints of the body do so by restricting or limiting motion of the joint to which it is applied to prevent a new injury or to protect a pre-existing injury. An ankle joint, just like all the joints in the human body, has a natural range of motion that it can move through without causing damage to itself. As it reaches the end of these ranges, the body has structure such as ligaments and tendons to create tension to end range of motion and protect the joint. Many of the prior art ankle braces do prevent the ankle from exceeding its extreme ranges of motion but do not provide the necessary flexibility to permit the athlete to function normally.

[0006] Applicant's ankle brace described and shown in the co-pending application represents an improvement in the ankle brace art. The instant invention represents a further improvement in the ankle brace art.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] This Summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This Summary is not intended to identify key aspects or essential aspects of the claimed subject matter. Moreover, this Summary is not intended for use as an aid in determining the scope of the claimed subject matter.

[0008] An ankle brace is disclosed for use with a cleated athletic shoe having a sole with a lower surface, with cleats extending downwardly therefrom, a lateral side and a medial side, an upper part with an upper end, a lacing closure, with upper and lower ends, including a plurality of spaced-apart pairs of eyelets adapted to have a shoe lace threaded therein. The brace of this invention includes a flexible lateral portion having an upper end, a lower end, a forward end, a rearward end, an outer side and an inner side. The upper end of the lateral portion has a plurality of spaced-apart first eyelets formed therein at the forward end thereof. A first loop is secured to the outer side of the lateral portion adjacent the eyelets at the forward end thereof. A second loop is secured to the outer side of the lateral portion rearwardly of the first loop. A third loop is secured to the outer side of the lateral portion below the eyelets at the forward end of the lateral portion and below the first loop thereof. The lateral portion also has an eyelet formed therein rearwardly of the first eyelets. A patch or strip of hook fasteners secured to the outer surface of the lateral portion at the rearward end thereof. The lateral portion is removably positioned adjacent the lateral side of the upper part of the shoe with the lower end of the lateral portion extending beneath the sole of the shoe.

[0009] The ankle brace also includes a flexible medial portion having an upper end, a lower end, a forward end, a rearward end, an outer side and an inner side. The upper end of the medial portion has a plurality of spaced-apart first eyelets formed therein at the forward end thereof. A first loop is secured to the outer side of the medial portion adjacent the eyelets at the forward end thereof. A second loop is secured to the outer side of the medial portion rearwardly of the first loop. A third loop is secured to the outer side of the medial portion below the eyelets at the forward end of the medial portion and below the first loop thereof. The medial portion has an eyelet formed therein rearwardly of the first eyelets thereof.

[0010] The lower end of the medial portion extends beneath the sole of the shoe with the lower ends of the lateral and medial portions being joined together beneath the sole of the shoe. The rearward ends of the lateral and medial portions are spaced apart.

[0011] An elongated first strap having first and second ends and inner and outer surfaces is also provided. The first end of the first strap is secured to the medial portion at the rearward end thereof. The inner surface of the first strap has loop fasteners thereon. The rearward ends of the lateral and medial portions are spaced apart. The first strap is selectively adjustably secured to the patch of hook fasteners at the outer rearward side of the medial portion.

[0012] The ankle brace of this invention also includes a flexible and stretchable body member having upper and lower ends, a lateral side portion, a medial side portion, and a heel portion. The lower end of the lateral side portion of the body member is secured to the lateral portion. The lower end of the medial side portion of the body member is secured to the medial portion. The heel portion of the body member is secured to the spaced-apart rearward ends of the lateral and medial portions and extends therebetween. A second flexible and stretchable strap is provided having a first end, a second end, an upper end, a lower end, and inner and outer sides. The lower end of the second strap is secured to the upper end of the body member so that the first and second ends of the second strap extend forwardly from the body member. The outer side of the second strap has loop fasteners thereon at the first end thereof. The brace also includes a third flexible strap having a first end, a second end, an outer side and an inner side. The first end of the third strap is secured to the second end of the second strap. The inner side of the third strap has hook fasteners thereon for adjustable attachment to the loop fasteners on the second strap at the first end of the second strap. A fourth flexible non-stretchable strap is provided having first and second ends with the fourth strap being secured to the outer side of the second strap. The first end of the fourth strap has a pair of eyelets formed therein. The second end of the fourth strap has a pair of eyelets formed therein. A loop is secured to the fourth strap at the first end thereof and a loop is secured to the fourth strap at the second end thereof. A lace member adjustably extends through the eyelets on the first and second ends of the fourth strap.

[0013] The ankle brace of this invention includes a flexible and stretchable lateral tensioning cord having first and second ends. The first end of the lateral tensioning cord is secured to the fourth strap at the first end thereof. The lateral tensioning cord extends from its fixed first end downwardly and forwardly through the second loop on the lateral portion, thence forwardly through the first loop on the lateral portion, thence downwardly and rearwardly through the third loop on the lateral portion, thence upwardly and rearwardly through the second loop on the lateral portion, thence rearwardly through the loop at the first end of the fourth strap, thence downwardly therefrom. The second end of the lateral tensioning cord is secured to the lateral portion. A flexible and stretchable medial tensioning cord is also provided having first and second ends with the first end of the medial tensioning cord being secured to the fourth strap at the second end thereof. The medial tensioning cord extends from its fixed first end downwardly and forwardly through the second loop on the medial portion, thence forwardly through the first loop on the medial portion, thence downwardly and rearwardly through the third loop on the medial portion, thence upwardly and rearwardly through the second loop on the medial portion, thence rearwardly through the loop at the second end of the fourth strap, thence downwardly therefrom. The second end of the medial tensioning cord is secured to the medial portion.

[0014] The ankle brace also includes fifth and sixth straps having first and second ends. The first end of the fifth strap is secured to the lateral portion with the second end of the fifth strap being adjustably secured to the medial portion 92. The sixth strap has its first end secured to the medial portion 92 and has its second end selectively adjustably secured to the lateral portion 36. The ankle brace of this invention permits the wearers ankle to move through its normal range of motion and yieldably prevents the ankle from moving beyond its normal range motion thereby protecting the ankle.

[0015] It is therefore a principal object of the invention to provide an improved ankle brace.

[0016] A further object of the invention is to provide an ankle brace for use with a cleated athletic shoe which permits the wearer's ankle to move through its normal range of motion but which yieldably prevents the ankle from moving beyond its normal range of motion thereby protecting the ankle.

[0017] A further object of the invention is to provide an ankle brace of the type described which does not interfere with the normal movement of the person's ankle.

[0018] These and other objects will be apparent to those skilled in the art.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0019] Non-limiting and non-exhaustive embodiments of the present invention are described with reference to the following figures, wherein like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout the various views unless otherwise specified.

[0020] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the ankle brace of this invention mounted on an athletic shoe;

[0021] FIG. 2 is a side view of the ankle brace of FIG. 1;

[0022] FIG. 3 is a side view of the ankle brace as seen from the medial side thereof;

[0023] FIG. 4 is a side view of the ankle brace as seen from the lateral side thereof;

[0024] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the ankle brace of this invention; and

[0025] FIG. 6 is a bottom view of the athletic shoe having the ankle brace of this invention mounted thereon.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0026] Embodiments are described more fully below with reference to the accompanying figures, which form a part hereof and show, by way of illustration, specific exemplary embodiments. These embodiments are disclosed in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention. However, embodiments may be implemented in many different forms and should not be construed as being limited to the embodiments set forth herein. The following detailed description is, therefore, not to be taken in a limiting sense in that the scope of the present invention is defined only by the appended claims.

[0027] The ankle brace of this invention is referred to generally by the reference numeral 10. Ankle brace 10 is designed to be attached to an athletic shoe 12 having a sole 14 with an underside 16, and an upper part 18. A plurality of cleats 19 extend downwardly from the underside 16 of sole 14. Upper part 18 has a lacing closure structure 20 having a lower end 22 and an upper end 24. Lacing closure has a plurality of eyelets, grommets or lace openings 26 designed to receive a shoelace 28 in conventional fashion. Shoe 14 will be described as having a lateral side 30, a medial side 32 and a heel counter 34.

[0028] Ankle brace 10 includes a lateral portion 36 having a forward end 38, a rearward end 40, an upper end 42 and a lower end 44. Lower end 44 of lateral portion 36 extends partially below sole 14 as will be described in more detail hereinafter. Lateral portion 36 is comprised of a flexible, non-stretchable material such as polyester. The inner side of lateral portion 36 has a flexible, non-stretchable reinforcing or stiffening member 46 secured to the upper portion thereof by stitching or the like. Member 46 is preferably comprised of a plastic material. The upper forward end of lateral portion 36 has a plurality of spaced-apart grommets or eyelets 48 formed therein. Preferably, four eyelets 48 are formed in lateral portion 36. A grommet 50 is formed in lateral portion 36 rearwardly of the rearward-most grommet 48. A loop 52 is secured to the outer surface of lateral portion 36 between a pair of grommets 48. A loop 54 is secured to the outer surface of lateral portion 30 adjacent the rearward-most grommet 48. A loop 56 is secured to the outer surface of lateral portion 36 below loop 52. The lower rearward end 44 of lateral portion 36 has a notch 58 formed therein. A notch 60 is also formed in the lower end 44 of lateral portion 36 forwardly of notch 58.

[0029] Ankle brace 10 also includes a medial portion 62 having a forward end 64, a rearward end 66, an upper end 68 and a lower end 70. Medial portion 62 is comprised of a flexible, non-stretchable material such as polyester. Lower end 70 of medial portion 62 extends partially below sole 14 and is secured to lower end 44 of lateral portion 36. The inner side of medial portion 62 has a flexible, non-stretchable reinforcing or stiffening member 72 secured to the upper portion thereof by stitching or the like. Member 72 is preferably comprised of a plastic material. The upper forward end of medial portion 62 has a plurality of spaced-apart grommets or eyelets 74 formed therein, the number of which is equal to the number of grommets or eyelets 48 formed in lateral portion 36. A grommet 76 is formed in medial portion 62 rearwardly of the rearward-most grommet 74. A loop 78 is secured to the outer surface of medial portion 62 between a pair of the grommets 74. A loop 80 is secured to the outer surface of medial portion 62 adjacent the rearward-most grommet 74. A loop 82 is secured to the outer surface of medial portion 62 below loop 78.

[0030] The lower end 70 of medial portion 62 has a notch 84 formed therein which registers with notch 58 in lateral portion 36. The lower end 70 of medial portion 62 also has a notch 86 formed therein which registers with notch 60 of lateral portion 36. The lower ends 44 and 70 of medial portion 62 and lateral portion 36 respectively are secured together by stitching 87 or the like.

[0031] As seen in the drawings, the rearward ends of lateral portion 36 and medial portion 62 are spaced-apart. The rearward end of medial portion 62 has a first strap 88 secured thereto which extends therefrom. The inner surface of strap 88 has loop fasteners thereon. The rearward end of lateral portion 36 has a patch 90 of hook fasteners to enable the strap 88 to be adjustably secured thereto.

[0032] The numeral 92 refers to a flexible and stretchable body member preferably comprised of neoprene or the like which is secured to lateral portion 36 and medial portion 62 as will now be described. Body member 92 includes a lateral side portion 94, a medial side portion 96 and a heel portion 98. The lower end of lateral side portion 94 of body member 92 is secured to the upper end of lateral portion 36 by stitching or the like. The lower end of medial side portion 96 is secured to the upper end of medial portion 62 by stitching or the like. Heel portion 98 is positioned between the rearward ends of lateral portion 36 and medial portion 62 and is secured thereto by stitching or the like.

[0033] The numeral 100 refers to an elongated second strap having ends 102 and 104, an upper end 106 and a lower end 108. The lower end 108 of strap 100 is secured to the upper end of flexible and stretchable body member 92 so that the ends 102 and 104 extend forwardly from the forward ends of flexible and stretchable body member 92. The outer surface of strap 100 has loop fastener material thereon.

[0034] A short third strap 110 has one end secured to end 102 of strap 100 and extends therefrom. The inner side of strap 110 has hook fasteners thereon for adjustable connection to the loop fasteners on the outer side of end 104 of strap 100.

[0035] A flexible and non-stretchable fourth strap 112, having ends 114 and 116, is secured to strap 100 at the outer side thereof by stitching or the like. A plastic reinforcing member 118 is secured to the inner side of strap 112 at end 114. An elongated, flexible reinforcing or stiffening member 119 is positioned at the inner side of strap 112. Grommets 120 and 122 are formed in the end 114 of strap 112 and reinforcing member 118. At least one loop 124 is secured to and extends downwardly from end 114 of strap 112 and reinforcing member 118.

[0036] End 126 of lateral tensioning cord 128 is secured to strap 112 and reinforcing member 118 adjacent end 114 of strap 112. Tensioning cord 128 extends downwardly and forwardly from strap 112 and reinforcing member 118, through loop 54, thence through loop 52, thence downwardly therefrom, thence rearwardly through loop 56, thence upwardly and rearwardly through loop 54, thence upwardly and rearwardly through loop 124, and thence downwardly and rearwardly through grommet 50 for attachment to reinforcing member 46 at 129.

[0037] One end of an elongated fifth strap 130 is slidably mounted on cord 128 between loops 54 and 56. The inner surface of strap 130 is provided with loop fasteners thereon for adjustable attachment to a patch or strap of hook fasteners 131 secured to the outer side of medial portion 62. A plastic reinforcing member 132 is secured to the inner side of strap 112 at end 116. Grommets 134 and 136 are formed in end 116 of strap 112 and reinforcing member 132. At least one loop 138 is secured to and extends downwardly from end 116 and reinforcing member 132.

[0038] End 140 of tensioning cord 142 is secured to strap 112 and reinforcing member 132 adjacent end 116 of strap 112. Tensioning cord 142 extends downwardly and forwardly from strap 112 and reinforcing member 132, through loop 80, thence through loop 78, thence downwardly therefrom, thence rearwardly through loop 82, thence upwardly and rearwardly through loop 80, thence upwardly and rearwardly through loop 138, and thence downwardly and rearwardly through grommet 76 for attachment to reinforcing member 72.

[0039] One end of an elongated sixth strap 144 is slidably mounted on cord 142 between loops 78 and 80. The inner surface of strap 144 is provided with loop fasteners thereon for adjustable attachment to a patch or strap of hook fasteners 146 secured to the outer side of lateral portion 36.

[0040] In use, the brace 10 is positioned on the shoe 12 as generally seen in FIGS. 1-3 but the lace member 148 is not tied, the strap 88 is not secured to patch or strip 90 and the straps 130 and 144 are not secured to strips or patches 131 and 146 respectively. The shoe lace 28 is threaded through some of the lower lace openings or eyelets 26 and through at least some of the eyelets 48 of lateral portion 36 and through some of the eyelets 74 of medial portion 62. The shoe lace 28 will then be threaded through the remaining eyelets 26 and tied at the upper end of the shoe 12.

[0041] The lace member 148 is threaded through the eyelets 120, 122 on end 114 of strap 112 and through eyelets 134 and 136 at end 116 of strap 112. The lace member 148 is then tightened and tied. The strap 88 is then secured to patch 90. Straps 130 and 144 are then adjustably tightened and secured as described hereinabove. As seen in FIG. 6, some of the cleats 19 extend downwardly through the registering notches 58 and 84 and some of the cleats 19 extend downwardly through the registering notches 60 and 86.

[0042] The ankle brace 10 permits the ankle of the person to move through its natural range of motion either laterally, medially, fore and aft. When the ankle moves towards the end of its normal range of motion, the tensioning cords 128 and 142 resist further motion to protect the ankle. Ankle support is also provided by the lateral and medial portions 36 and 62 and the reinforcing members associated therewith. Ankle support is also provided by the flexible and stretchable member 92 which enables the person's ankle to move through its normal range of motion.

[0043] Thus it can be seen that the invention accomplishes at least all of its stated objectives.

[0044] Although the invention has been described in language that is specific to certain structures and methodological steps, it is to be understood that the invention defined in the appended claims is not necessarily limited to the specific structures and/or steps described. Rather, the specific aspects and steps are described as forms of implementing the claimed invention. Since many embodiments of the invention can be practiced without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, the invention resides in the claims hereinafter appended.

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