CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/925,685 filed on Jan. 10, 2014. The above identified patent application is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety to provide continuity of disclosure.
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to orthotic inserts. More specifically, the present invention pertains to an improved orthotic insert that can be removably attached to the bottom of a user's foot prior to putting on a lower extremity cast.
Most casts are made from either plaster or fiberglass and fully encase an appendage in order to hold a broken bone in place until it heals. Lower extremity casts generally cover the foot and the lower leg to decrease foot movement. It is uncomfortable and difficult to walk on a cast, however, because casts do not properly support the bottom of the foot. Thus, individuals can develop Calcaneal fracture, Retrocalcaneal Bursitis, or Plantar Fasciitis after wearing a cast for an extended period of time.
- DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART
Additionally, it can be impracticable or impossible to wear shoes or other type of footwear when a cast is worn on the foot. As a result, individuals generally walk directly on the cast, which is not adapted to protect the user from outside elements. For instance, traditional casts do not properly protect the user's foot from shock or uneven surfaces, which may comprise sharp objects. Therefore, a device that can properly support and protect the user's foot when a cast is worn is desired.
Devices have been disclosed in the prior art that claim orthopedic casts and shoe inserts. These include devices that have been patented and published in patent application publications. Some of these devices disclose generic shoe inserts, while other devices disclose casts having inserts integral therewith. The prior art devices, however, do not disclose a foot insert or an orthotic that can be secured to the foot of a user before a cast is put on the foot. The foregoing is a list of devices deemed most relevant to the present disclosure, which are herein described for the purposes of highlighting and differentiating the unique aspects of the present invention, and further highlighting the drawbacks existing in the prior art.
Specifically, U.S. Patent Application Publication Number 2012/0117818 to Slowik and U.S. Patent Application Publication Number 2010/0011618 to Bitton disclose orthotic inserts for decreased forefoot loading. The inserts are molded to conform to the anatomical features of a user's foot. While these inserts can be configured to fit in a footwear such as a surgical boot or other footwear, Slowik and Bitton do not disclose inserts having any fastening means to secure the same to the user's foot or to the cast.
Another device, U.S. Pat. No. 3,263,679 to Hass discloses a surgical cast having a toe portion removably attached thereto. Similarly, U.S. Pat. No. 5,980,475 to Gibbons discloses an orthopedic protection device having a cover with a closed front end and an open rear end, wherein the rear end comprises a strap for securing onto a user's foot. The purpose and intent of the foregoing devices, however, differ from the present invention in that these devices are not inserts for casts.
U.S. Pat. No. 2,888,919 to Unkauf and U.S. Pat. No. 3,481,332 to Arnold disclose heels that can be attached to the exterior of a plaster cast to facilitate walking when the cast is worn. Thus, the foregoing devices are adapted to provide additional traction to prevent the user from slipping. Additionally, these devices can elevate the user's foot above the ground. Unkauf and Arnold, however, do not disclose inserts for casts.
The devices disclosed in the prior art have several known drawbacks. These devices are limited in that they do not provide sole inserts with means to fasten the insert to the cast or to the user's foot. The present invention overcomes these limitations by disclosing a sole insert that is adapted to be positioned on the user's sole and be maintained within the interior of a cast. In one embodiment, the insert comprises a sufficient thickness to provide additional cushioning to the user's foot in the cast. Additional cushioning can reduce foot pain by providing a barrier against the rigid structure of the cast, while protecting the user's foot. The insert can be secured directly secured to the bottom of the user's foot via adhesives or a wrapping gauze. Alternatively, the insert can be secured to the cast via adhesives disposed on the bottom of the insert.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It is therefore submitted that the present invention is substantially divergent in design elements from the prior art, and consequently it is clear that there is a need in the art for an improvement to orthotic inserts. In this regard, the instant invention substantially fulfills these needs.
In view of the foregoing disadvantages inherent in the known types of orthotic inserts now present in the prior art, the present invention provides a new and improved cast sole insert wherein the same can be utilized for providing comfort to the user's foot while protecting the same while wearing a cast.
It is therefore an object of the invention to provide a new and improved cast sole insert that has all of the advantages of the prior art and none of the disadvantages.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved cast sole insert that can evenly distribute a user's body weight throughout the user's foot.
Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved cast sole insert that can absorb shock while protecting the user's foot.
Still yet another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved cast sole insert that can be molded to conform to the user's foot.
Still yet another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved cast sole insert that can be secured directly to the user's sole or to the inside of a cast.
Still yet another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved cast sole insert wherein the device may be readily fabricated from materials that permit relative economy and are commensurate with durability.
BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS OF THE DRAWINGS
Other objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
Although the characteristic features of this invention will be particularly pointed out in the claims, the invention itself and manner in which it may be made and used may be better understood after a review of the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein the numeral annotations are provided throughout.
FIG. 1 shows a top perspective view of the present invention.
FIG. 2 shows a side view of the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
FIG. 3 shows a cross sectional view of the present invention as worn.
References are made herein to the attached drawings. Like reference numerals are used throughout the drawings to depict like or similar elements of the cast sole insert. For the purposes of presenting a brief and clear description of the present invention, the preferred embodiment will be discussed as used to provide comfort to the user's foot and to protect the same while wearing a cast. The figures are intended for representative purposes only and should not be considered to be limiting in any respect.
Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown a perspective view and a side view of the present invention. The cast sole insert of the present invention comprises an insole 11. The insole 11 is shaped similarly to a human foot. The insole 11 includes a toe end 12, a heel end 13, and an arch portion 14 therebetween. In some embodiments, the insole 11 can be customizably molded to the user's foot. Accordingly, the upper surface 18 of the insole 11 comprises grooves at the toe end 12 and at the heel end 13. In the illustrated embodiments, the insole 11 comprises toe grooves 17, wherein the toe grooves 17 include grooves for each of the toes. Namely, the toe grooves 17 comprise a groove for a big toe, a second toe, a third toe, a fourth toe, and a little toe. The insole 11 also comprises a heel groove 16 at the heel end 13 thereof.
The arch portion 14 is raised at the upper surface 18 of the insole 11 so as to follow the contours of the bottom of a user's foot. The arch portion 14 spans from one side of the insole 11 toward the middle portion of the upper surface 18. Preferably, the arch portion 14 is located on the side of the insole 11 that correspond to the inner part of the user's foot so that the user's arch can rest directly on the arch portion 14. Accordingly, the arch portion 14 slopes downward from the side of the insole 11 toward the middle portion of the upper surface 18. Moreover, the perimeter of the upper surface 18 is slightly raised so that the upper surface 18 can partially curve around the bottom of the user's foot.
In contrast, the bottom side 24 of the insole 11 is substantially flat or shaped to follow the contours of a cast in which it is placed. In some embodiments, the bottom side 24 of the insole 11 may comprise adhesives thereon, wherein the adhesives may comprise a protective backing layer that can be removed when the insert is ready to be secured within a cast. Preferably, the insole 11 is positioned within a cast before a hardening agent is applied to the cast or before the cast is set.
The insole 11 comprises a sufficient thickness to provide adequate cushioning and to absorb shock while walking. Because the upper surface 18 of the insole 11 is not planar, the thickness of the insole 11 varies from the heel portion 13 to the toe portion 12. In the illustrated embodiments, the insole 11 tapers from the heel portion 13 to the toe portion 12 when viewed from the side. It is contemplated that the insole 11 of the present invention is composed of a thermoplastic elastomer or any padded material that is commonly used or suitable for shoe inserts.
Referring now to FIG. 3, there is shown a cross sectional view of the present invention as worn. The cast sole insert of the present invention is adapted to be maintained within the interior of a cast 20 beneath the user's foot 19. The insert is dimensioned so that the heel end 13 rests flush against the user's heel 21, and the toe end 12 is positioned near the user's toes 22 or positioned at the toe end of the cast 20.
Additionally, the user's arch 23 rests directly above the arch portion 14 of the insert.
The bottom side 24 of the insert directly contacts the interior of the cast 20, and acts as a barrier between the cast 20 and the user's foot 19. The bottom side 24 of the insert may comprise adhesives or other high friction material thereon so that it does not shift while worn. Alternatively, the insert may be attached to the user's sole. It is contemplated that the upper surface of the insert may comprise skin-safe adhesives so that it can be removably secured to the bottom of the user's foot. In other embodiments, however, the insert can be secured directly secured to the bottom of the user's foot via a wrapping gauze before a cast is put on the user's foot.
The insert is adapted to evenly distribute the user's weight throughout the foot 19 and further act as a shock absorber. The insert delivers additional cushioning, support, and stability to the user's foot while standing or walking in order to reduce stress and pain while wearing the cast 20. In this way, the present invention increases comfort to the user's foot while wearing a cast, and can help prevent further injuries to the foot.
It is therefore submitted that the instant invention has been shown and described in what is considered to be the most practical and preferred embodiments. It is recognized, however, that departures may be made within the scope of the invention and that obvious modifications will occur to a person skilled in the art. With respect to the above descriptions then, it is to be realized that the optimum dimensional relationships for the parts of the invention, to include variations in size, materials, shape, form, function, and manner of operation, assembly and use, are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one skilled in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specifications are intended to be encompassed by the present invention.
Therefore, the foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.