US 2080469 A
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M y 1937. 1.. L. GlLBERT I PNEUMATIC FOOT SUPPORT Filed May 17, 1953 Patented May 18, 1937 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE 6 Claims.
This invention relates to improvements in foot correction appliances of the kind most commonly disposed within a shoe beneath the plantar region or adjacent some other surface of a foot, and also to a new and novel method of making foot appliances of this character.
The present invention relates more specifically to a pneumatic or inflatable foot correction appliance dependingupon imprisoned air for the proper pressure application to the plantar or other regions of a foot.
In the past, many and various foot correction devices capable of being inserted within a shoe against or adjacent the foot of a user have been developed, and, while in many cases these devices have been helpful in aiding a particular foot aflliction which they were designed to aid, yet, in many cases, discomfort has been experienced by the user during the mending of the aiiliction due to the peculiar construction or the materials used in the construction of the device. In many instances, attempts have been made to provide cushioning elements for various parts of the foot to rest against, these cushioning elements being formed of spring steel in many cases, and in many cases of sponge rubber, felt, or cotton pads. In the case of steel, it can only be sprung a certain amount by the weight of the particular user and then, obviously, presents a hard surface to the foot. Sponge rubber, felt, or equivalent pad-' ding can only be compressed a certain amount and then presents a hard unyielding surface, and after relatively short usage, such padding becomes permanently compressed and either presents a harder and less unyielding surface to the foot or fails to provide proper support. In addition, with these formerly known foot correction devices, each device was designed to correct one or two particular deformities or afllictions of the foot, and for a different aflliction than that for which the device was originally designed, an entirely different device had to be obtained. In other words, it was not possible, in the making of a device, to vary this device so that, by choice, it could be formed to help in the mending of any of a great number of unassociated afllictions.
The present invention has been designed to overcome the above-noted as well as other defects and objections, in the provision of a foot correction device which affords a yieldable but sufiicientlystrong pressure to a desired part of the plantar or other region of a foot, which pressure does not vary during normal usage, and, in the event, by accident, the pressure is caused to become less than desirable, it can be very readily restored to its original or an even greater amount.
It is also an object of this invention to provide a pneumatic or inflatable foot correction appliance wherein pressure exerted by the appliance upon the foot is yieldable air pressure. 5
It is also an object of this invention to provide an inflatable appliance for insertion in a shoe and in which the pressure may be varied at will.
A further object of this invention is the provision of a foot correction appliance which can be built in stock lots of various sizes, or can be readily built in conformity with a prescription for or diagnosis of a particular foot, the variability of the device being such that it can be used to aid in the correction of a great number of deformities or aiflictions of a foot that can be corrected by pressure application to the foot.
Still another object of this invention is the provision of a foot appliance for disposition within a shoe which, in the event some abnormality is present in the foot, will aid in the correction of such abnormality, and in the event the foot is normal, the device will add materially to the comfort of the user.
It is a further object of this invention to provide a foot cushioning appliance designed in such va manner that air will be forced back and forth through the appliance during normal usage, and in the event the device is used within a shoe having ventilation openings therethrough, the device will pump fresh air into and out of the shoe.
It is also an object of this invention to provide a foot cushioning appliance which, during normal usage, due to inherent features, will cause a massaging action on the adjacent part of a foot.
While some of the more salient features, characteristics, and advantages of the present invention have been above pointed out, others will become apparent from the following disclosures.
The invention includes these and other features of construction and combinations of parts hereinafter described, and shown in a preferred form on the drawing, as more particularly indicated by the claims. I On the drawing: Figure 1 is a top plan view of a device constructed in accordance with and embodying principles of the present invention.
Figure 2 is a vertical sectional view taken substantially as indicated by the line II-II of Figure 1.
Figure 3 is a fragmentary-top plan view similar to Figure 1, but illustrating how the present invention may be adapted for the correction of a difierent aflliction of the foot.
Figure 4 is a longitudinal vertical sectional view taken substantially as indicated by the line IV-IV of Figure 3..
Figure 5 is a fragmentary top plan view similar to Figures 3 and 1, but showing the device as adapted for the correction of a still different affiiction of the foot.
Figure 6 is a vertical sectional view taken substantially as indicated by the line VIVI of Figure 5.
Figure '7 is a. top plan view of a device made in accordance with and embodying principles of the present invention in the form of a heel pad.
Figure 8 is a vertical sectional view through a slightly modified construction of the present invention.
As. shown on the drawing:
For the purpose of clarity, the illustrated embodiment or embodiments of the present invention will be described as made of sheets of rubber, although it will be readily understood that any suitable material impervious to air may be used.
In Figures 1 and 2, the invention is shown in the form of a removable insole comprising upper and lower sheets of rubber 9 and ill respectively vulcanized or otherwise hermetically secured together around the margins thereof as at H. The forward margins of the insole. are preferably vulcanized to a greater depth to provide a transverse anterior llp l2 preferably skived on the underside thereof as indicated at I9 (Figures 4 and 6). The skiving l3 as well as the entire undersurface of the lower sheet iii are roughened in any desired manner to eliminate the likelihood of the insole slipping when in a shoe.
Obviously, with the device so formed an air containing chamber I4 is provided, and, while this chamber may be initially inflated and then permanently sealed by a continuation of the marginal vulcanizing, it is deemed preferable to provide means for the inflation or deflation of the device at will thereby giving the added advantage of permitting the pressure of the device to be adjusted at will. To this end, an inflation tube i5 is provided, this tube preferably comprising two'projections, one integral with the upper sheet 9 and the other integral with the lower sheet l0, marginally vulcanized. After the device is inflated to the desired extent; the tube l5, which is initially flat, is folded upon itself and tucked under a strap l6 carried by the lower sheet ill, as illustrated clearly in Figure 2, thereby sealing the tube and preventing the unintentional escape of air from the device. As seen in Figures 1 and 2, the tube is preferably disposed at the side of the device where it will normally lie under the high point of the inner longitudinal arch of the foot and so result in no discomfort to the user.
At spaced intermediate points, the upper sheet 9 is vulcanized to the lower sheet It to provide non-inflatable spots I! which may be disposed at any desirable location with any desirable frequency. Each of the spots i1 is preferably surrounded by air chamber H which is preferably a single chamber throughout the device, al-
though at times it may be desirable to provide such a spot I! immediately adjacent the margin of the device.
The application of the non-inflatable spots l1, which obviously may be made of any desirable size or shape, not only possesses the device of great versatility in application, but also affords a new and novel method of mak g he dev e.
A chiropodist or other diagnostician may examine a foot and, after ascertaining the aifiiction or abnormality of that particular foot, may prepare a prescription for the application of the spots IT to provide the proper recesses or cushioning portions to correct the particular foot previously diagnosed. A device of the proper size 7 may then be made, and the non-inflatable spots I! provided in accordance with the prescription substantially as readily as and simultaneously with the making of standard devices. It is, therefore, obvious that the invention is readily adaptable for the relief or correction of almost any ailment of the foot that can be aided by proper application of pressure to some part of the foot.
Many foot ailments or abnormalities are, 0 course, somewhat standard or common in character and need no device made in accordance with a prescription, but are relieved or corrected by the use of a device of'the proper character already made in standard sizes. Obviously, this invention may be made up in stock lots of various sizes, each lot being designed for the cor rection of one or more ailments such as bunions, callouses, fallen arches, spur heel, etc. The illustrated embodiments of the invention may be made standard or as prescribed as the case may be.
The device shown in Figures 1 and 2 is highly desirable for aiding in the correction of a falling of the inner longitudinal arch of the foot. Substantially all of the weight imposed upon, a
,foot, unless very abnormal conditions are present, is carried at three points, namelythe first metatarsal head, the fifth metatarsal head, and the os calcis. Consequently, when a foot is placed upon the device shown in Figure 1, these three points will press a goodly quantity of air into the rather large inflated region i9 and cause a pressure or yieldable support for that part of the foot between the astragaloid-scaphoid junction and the metatarso-cuneiform junction.
In Figures 3 and 4, the construction is the same as that for the device shown in Figures 1 and 2, but in this instance the non-inflatable spots I! have been located in irregular converging rows so as to leave a relativeb' wide inflated space l9 for the strengthening and correction of an abnormal anterior metatarsal arch.
The appliances shown in Figures 1 to 4 possess another distinct advantage, in that if one is utilized by a person having normal feet, no discomfort can result from such use, but, on the other hand, it will greatly add to the general comfort of the user and tend to eliminate daily fatigue of the user, especially if that person is an athlete or is on his feet much of the time. However, it is also distinctly contemplated to provide the invention in various sizes with the spots l'l somewhat evenly distributed and of substantially equal size for users having normal feet and desiring these benefits.
The structure shown in Figures 5 and 6 also embodies the same construction, but in this instance the device has been designed to eliminate some abnormality on the underside of the first metatarsal head, such as a large callous. In addition to a plurality of non-inflatable spots I! circumscribing the region of the allliction at a distance therefrom an enlarged spot i1 is provided to form a suitable recess for the reception of the callous. The weight normally carried by the first metatarsal head will be transferred by the cushioning area around the enlarged spot I! to a normal part of the first metatarsal head around the callous, relieving the callous of pressure.
In Figure 7 I have shown the present invention made as hereinabove described, but of a size and shape suitable to function as a heel pad only, highly desirable for relieving cases of spur heel and similardisorders, the device being disposed in a shoe directly under the os calcis of a foot. As before, the non-inflatable spots l1 may be provided wherever most desired and of whatever size maybe necessary. In this instance, however, the tube l5, by which the device is inflated and deflated, is disposed at the most rearward point where it may be folded under the rear upwardly curved portion of the heel and result in no discomfort to the user.
In Figure 8 I have shown a slightly modified form of construction for the present invention wherein the device is provided with apertures 20 extending completely through the central region of all or certain selected ones of the non-inflatable spots ll. With ordinary usage, during each stride of the user, 'air will be forced back and forth through these'apertures affording excellent ventilation for the plantar surface of the foot. In the event such a device is used in connection with a shoe or the like provided with ventilation openings, there will be'a constant circulation of fresh air around the foot of the user.
Although this invention has been illustrated and hereinabove described in variations for disposition beneath all or a part of the plantar region of a foot, it is to be noted that the invention is.not so limited but may readily be constructed for application to substantially any part of the foot. Forexample, a smaller device may be made of the character shown in Figures 5 and 6 having either only the spot I! or this spot and one or more spots ll, which device could be beneficially applied at the side of the foot adjacent the great toe over a bunion or case of hallus valgus. Likewise, the invention may be formed for application elsewhere either within or without a sock or stocking.
In all variations of the present invention, it will be noted that the pressure of the device is self-distributing, the weight or pressureimposed by one portion of the foot always keeping another portion of the device under pressure, and the weight or pressure imposed upon the device as a whole tending to force more air into the region where it is most needed. Itwill also be noted that during the normal external and internal movements of the foot, the appliance will produce a massaging action against the foot to thereby increase circulation in, strengthen, and otherwise benefit the foot.
While the present invention has been hereinabove described as being made of two sheets of rubber secured together by means of vulcanizing,
it will be readily understood that the invention may be made of any desired material impervious to air. It is to be further understood that where the term rubber is used herein and in the appended claims, this term is to be construed as including rubber as such, rubber composition, rubberized fabric or any equivalent material. It should also be understood that where the term "insole is used herein and in the appended claims, this term is to be construedv as including any device shaped for disposition beneath all-or a portion of the plantar region of a foot.
If so desired, the present invention might obviously be covered with any desirable material such as silk, chamois skin, leather, cottbn, etc., it not being deemed necessary to illustrate in the drawing such an application of some such material.
From the foregoing, it will be apparent that I have provided a foot correction or cushioning appliance, in which the pressure may be adjusted as desired, which is extremely durable, and which will not vary in the pressure it is capable of exerting against an afliicted portion of a foot, during the life of the device. Furthermore, the device may be easily varied during manufacture in accordance with the prescription for a previously diagnosed foot. In addition, the invention is simple and economical to manufacture and use.
I am aware that changes may be made and many details of the construction of the device may be varied through a wide range without departing from the principles of this invention,
each surrounded by air containing areas, said non-inflatable areas being of considerably less thickness than said inflatable areas when the latter are inflated.
2. As an article of manufacture, a foot cushioning appliance comprising a pair of rubber sheets vulcanized together at the margins there- 'of to provide an ,air containing chamber therebetween, said sheets being vulcanized together at intermediate points to form non-inflatable areas each surrounded by an air containing area, and
one of said non-inflatable areas being of a considerable size and considerably less in thickness than the inflated area.
3. As an article of manufacture, a foot cushioning appliance including a pair of rubber sheets secured together along the margins thereof leaving an air pocket therebetween, said sheets being secured together in a manner to form a plurality of non-inflatable spots of considerably less thickness than the air pocket when inflated, said spots beinginterspersed at intervals inside said margins and each surrounded by said air pocket to permit air in'the pocket to shift in any direction between said spots consistent with the foot pressure on said appliance.
4. As an article of manufacture, a footcushioning appliance including a pair of air impervious members secured together adjacent the margins thereof to define therebetween an air pocket, said members being secured flatly together at spaced intervals inside said margins to provide a plurality of spaced separate non-inflatable spots with full circulation of air in said pocket around each spot.
5. As an article of manufacture, a foot cushioning appliance including a pair of air impervious members securedtogether adjacent the margins thereof to define therebetween an air pocket, said members being secured flatly together at spaced intervals inside said margins to provide a plurality of spaced separate non-inflatable spots of various sizes and considerably 4 means less thickness than the inflated air pocket which *tions of said faces forming air pockets between v surrounds each spot. said sheets, but including areas within said air 6. As an article oi-manufacture, a foot cushpockets secured by the adhesive whereby when ioning appliance including apair of rubber sheets said pockets are inflated said last named ad- 5 blanked to the form desired and placed one on h'esive areas hold the appliance substantially flat. s
top of the other, an adhesive securing said sheets v on their opposing faces except-for interior nor- LEVI L. GILBERT.