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United States Patent 3,800,789
Schloss April 2, 1974

JOINT-IMMOBILIZING TEMPORARY SPLINT

Abstract

A joint-immobilizing temporary splint comprising an elongated rigid member U-shaped in cross section having at least two parts angularly related, said member being contoured both longitudinally and transversely to approximate the shape of the posterior of two predetermined joined limb elements, a plurality of straps secured along lengths between the ends thereof to said rigid member transversely thereof, said ends extending beyond said rigid member sufficiently to overlap each other after being applied to a limb element being treated, means for adjustably attaching the opposite ends of a given strap together to fit snugly around a limb element, and a number of said straps being on each of said two parts.


Inventors: Schloss; Robert P. (Fort Wayne, IN)
Appl. No.: 05/297,407
Filed: October 13, 1972


Current U.S. Class: 602/6 ; 128/DIG.15
Current International Class: A61F 5/04 (20060101); A61F 5/058 (20060101); A61f 005/04 ()
Field of Search: 128/87R,87A,87C,88-90,133,DIG.15,DIG.6,8R,8A,8B,8C,8E,8F,8H

References Cited

U.S. Patent Documents
1643850 September 1927 Jones
2700383 January 1955 Moodie
1332047 February 1920 Lasher
2952459 September 1960 Moffitt

Other References

richards Pehr Abduction Hip Splint, Richards Fracture and Orthopedic Supplies (catalog), Richards Mfg. Co., Memphis, Tenn., 1966, page 16. .
DePuy Form Fit Posterior Leg Splint, DePuy Orthopedic Appliances, Splints, Fracture Equipment catalog, DePuy Mfg. Co., Inc., Warsaw, Indiana, 1964, page 101. .
"Plastic Splints and Appliances in Orthopedic Surgery" by W. Herschell et al., The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, Vol. 30B, No. 2, May 1948, page 298 relied upon..

Primary Examiner: Gaudet; Richard A.
Assistant Examiner: Frinks; Ronald L.
Attorney, Agent or Firm: Gust, Irish, Lundy & Welch

Claims



What is claimed is:

1. A joint-immobilizing temporary splint comprising an elongated rigid member U-shaped in cross-section throughout its length having at least two parts permanently angularly related, said member being contoured both longitudinally and transversely to approximate the shape of the posterior of two predetermined joined limb elements, a plurality of straps permanently secured along lengths between the ends thereof to said rigid member transversely thereof, said ends extending beyond said rigid member sufficiently to overlap each other after being applied to a limb portion being treated, said two-part rigid member being lined with soft spongy cushioning material, textile adherence means for removably attaching the opposite ends of a given strap together in any one of a variety of positions thereby to fit snugly around a limb portion, and at least two of said straps being on each of said two parts and being in sufficient number to extend along substantially the entire length of each part, said straps having a width dimension thereby to provide area contact with a limb portion, each plurality of said straps on the respective parts being spaced apart less than the width of adjacent straps.

2. The splint of claim 1 in which said straps have no securement to said member a predetermined distance back from the edges thereof.

3. The splint of claim 1 in which said member is formed to fit the normal foot and lower limb, there being three of said straps for the length of the foot part and five straps for the length of the limb part, said member being contoured at the junction of the two parts adapted to receive the heel portion of the foot.

4. The splint of claim 1 in which said member is formed to fit the posterior of the average foot and lower limb, said foot part having a flat bottom and contoured heel and upstanding flanges on the opposite edges of said bottom and heel that are adapted to inhibit relative lateral movement of a foot to be disposed therein.

5. The splint of claim 3 in which said member is plastic material reinforced with glass fibers.
Description



BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates generally to improvements in temporary splints, and more particularly to temporary splints capable of being applied by the unskilled person.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Injuries to a limb in many instances require immobilization of an adjacent joint, and two conventional methods of treatment include (1) the use of an elastic bandage and (2) a more permanent cast. The elastic bandage is simple and quick to apply and may be adjusted to allow for swelling of the encompassed tissue. However, it results in poor immobilization of the joint. The more permanent cast affords more adequate, immediate immobilization but does not permit alteration which might be required due to a change in swelling. Furthermore, it is considerably heavier than the elastic bandage.

The present invention is a compromise in relation to both of these conventional appliances in that it provides adequate immobilization which is almost as effective as a permanent cast but permits immediate adjustment to adapt the splint to either an increase or reduction in swelling of the supported extremity.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the broader aspects of this invention, there is provided a joint-immobilizing temporary splint comprising an elongated rigid member generally U-shaped in cross section having at least two parts angularly related, said member being contoured both longitudinally and transversely to approximate the shape of the posterior of two predetermined joined limb elements. A plurality of straps are secured along lengths between the ends thereof to the rigid member transversely thereof, the ends extending beyond said rigid member sufficiently to overlap each other after being applied to a limb element being treated. Means are provided for removably attaching the opposite ends of a given strap together in any one of a variety of positions thereby to fit snugly around a limb element. A number of said straps are provided on each of said two parts, said straps being independently attachable and adjustable.

In use, the invention eliminates the need for permanent casts in the treatment of ankle sprains, fractures of the fibular head and the like, and furthermore permits the application of a splint to an injured person by someone having little or no skill in the medical arts.

It is therefore an object of this invention to provide a joint-immobilizing temporary splint of light weight, rigid construction and facile adjustment and application.

It is another object of this invention to provide a temporary splint that may be applied by an unskilled person.

The above-mentioned and other features and objects of this inventon and the manner of attaining them will become more apparent and the invention itself will be best understood by reference to the following description of an embodiment of the invention taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of an embodiment of this invention applied to the foot and lower limb elements of a patient for immobilizing the ankle joint;

FIG. 2 is a perspective illustration of the splint shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a cross section of the foot portion of the splint;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary sectional view in perspective of the foot portion, and

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary sectional view of the overlapping strap ends having textile adherences thereon.

Referring to the drawings, the splint of this invention includes a rigid member 10 preferably fabricated of polyester or epoxy plastic reinforced with glass fibers. This is essentially the same material as is used in the fabrication of boats, car bodies and the like in which the plastic material is reinforced with glass fibers. As shown more clearly in FIGS. 1 and 2, the splint of this embodiment is adapted for application to the lower extremity of a limb which includes the foot and lower limb elements. The splint is adapted to fit the posterior of this extremity, being generally U-shaped in cross section and both longitudinally and transversely contoured to approximate the posterior of the extremity. The drawings show the embodiment to scale for an adult male of average size. As shown, the splint 10 is composed of two parts 12 and 14, the part 12 fitting the posterior of the lower limb and the part 14 fitting the foot. As shown more clearly in FIGS. 2, 3, and 4, the part 14 has a flat sole or bottom 16 provided with upstanding sides 18 along the longitudinal edges thereof which thereby form a channel-shaped support adapted to embrace gently the sole and sides of a foot placed therein. The region of the member 10 which rigidly joins the two parts 12 and 14 together as indicated by the numeral 20 is shaped to conform essentially to the heel with the inner edge 22 thereof being smoothly curved and positioned to clear the ankle.

The foot portion 14 is made long enough so as to give support to the foot except perhaps for the toes as shown in FIG. 1 and the part 12 is made long enough so as to terminate just short of the inside of the knee as shown.

A plurality of nylon or similar cloth straps 24 having widths as shown have mid-length portions thereof adhered to the interior of the member 10 by embedment therein or by means of a suitable adhesive, such as polyester or epoxy resin.

As shown more clearly in FIGS. 3 and 4 the securement of the straps 24 does not extend to the extreme edge of the member 10 but instead terminates back from the edge at a location indicated by the numeral 28.

The straps 24 are made sufficiently long that they may be overlapped around an extremity as shown more clearly in FIG. 1. A textile-type adherence, commonly referred to as a Velcro fastener, is applied to the strap ends for adjustably securing them together. This particular fastener is conventional in the art, comprising essentially a pair of pads of textile material, one pad containing a plurality of textile-like hooks which are adapted to engage in loops on the other pad of textile. One each of these pads is provided on the opposite ends, respectively, of each strap 24.

A plurality of the straps 24 are provided on the part 12 of the splint as shown and another plurality of the straps 24 are provided on the foot portion 14. As illustrated, five such straps are provided on the limb portion 12 and three straps on the foot portion 14. The spacing between straps in the illustrated embodiment is deliberately made less than the width of the strap so as to provide substantial area contact with an extremity being treated. While the straps may be narrower, it is important that they be closely spaced so as to provide for almost continuous area support between the opposite ends of the splint and the extremity being treated.

As shown more clearly in FIGS. 1 and 2, the ankle region per se has no strap thereabout.

Lining the interior of the structure thus far described is a layer of spongy, cushioning material 30 which may be either in the form of sponge rubber or polyurethane foam. This provides for a gentle but intimate engagement of the splint with the limb and renders the appliance more comfortable to wear.

In using the appliance, the splint as shown in FIG. 2 is fitted to the posterior of the lower limb and foot as shown and the straps 24 are overlapped around these members and there fastened in snug position. Once all the straps 24 are thus secured, the ankle joint is immobilized even though the wearer may walk on the foot portion 14.

While the illustrated embodiment has been shown as being adapted for use with the lower limb and foot, other appliances may be made for other limb portions having a joint therebetween such as the upper and lower arm members, the lower arm and hand, as well as the upper and lower leg. Obviously, the particular angular relationship between the two splint parts would be different from that illustrated in this application and in particular would be predetermined by the person skilled in the art in connection with the particular injury or ailment being treated.

The invention more particularly may be characterized as a rigid, angular, posterior splint which immobilizes a joint between two articulated limb members. The splint is shaped to fit the part of the limb contour thereby providing lateral as well as longitudinal support therefor. By being so formed, the splint resists relative movement of the limb portion being supported.

The plural straps are disposed closely adjacent to each other thereby to provide more adequate gentle support and to facilitate treatment as will be explained hereinafter.

The present invention is particularly useful in the first-aid treatment of injuries inasmuch as it can be applied by even the most unskilled person. If there is soft tissue swelling after application of the splint, it is only a simple matter to disengage one or more of the adherences and reapply the same to meet the comfort requirements of the patient.

By using a multiplicity of straps, effective immobilization of the joint is achieved which permits a maximum degree of adjustment for comfort and maintenance of adequate blood supply as may be required under the circumstances. Restating the same, utilization of a multiplicity of transverse bands, closely adjacent to each other, permits efficacious application of the device to the injured extremity to achieve (1) immobilization of the injured area and (2) safety in that blood supply to the extremity is less compromised inasmuch as any undue swelling may be compensated for by readjusting the straps.

By reason of the spacing between the straps 24, it is possible visually to examine the skin from time to time thereby to minimize the possibility of complications due to interference with blood flow and also to render obvious any skin lacerations or abrasions which may need immediate treatment.

For purposes of treatment, one or more of the straps 24 may remain unfastened so as to permit bandaging, suturing or other treatment without disturbing the primary immobilization.

By providing the rigid portion of the splint posteriorly of the affected limb, interference with the blood supply is less likely. Furthermore, this posterior splint permits the patient to walk on the foot portion in much the same manner as he would on a walking heel of an ordinary cast. By reason of the materials used in this invention, X-ray pictures may be taken therethrough without removing the splint from the patient.

By reason of the contouring and posterior application, longitudinal or axial shifting of the splint is inhibited. The splint after a period of usage may be easily removed and cleaned with agents such as alcohol or other sterilizing compounds so that it may be reused without contamination from prior usage.

While there have been described above the principles of this invention in connection with specific apparatus, it is to be clearly understood that this description is made only by way of example and not as a limitation to the scope of the invention.

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