US 3719187 A
An adjustable splint comprising a pair of spaced rigid bars and a pair of semi-rigid straps connected to the ends of the bars. The straps are integrally molded with the bars. A flexible strap is secured to one of the rigid bars and passes through an opening in the other rigid bar. The flexible strap is infinitely adjustable, and is used for securing the splint in place.
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United States Patent 1191 Ulansey March 6, 1973 1 ADJUSTABLE SPLINT  Inventor: Judson T. Ulansey, RD. 3,
 Filed: May 13, 1971  Appl. No.1 143,075
 US. Cl. ..l28/90, 128/87 R  Int. Cl. ..A6lf 5/04  Field of Search ..128/87 R, 90, 89, 85
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,439,673 4/1969 Sprecher ..l28/87 R 3,196,870 7/1965 Sprecher et al ....l28/87 R 2,700,383 1/1955 Moodie ..l28/87 R FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 12/1954 Great Britain ..128/87 R OTHER PUBLICATIONS Farquharson Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Oct. 1942 pp. 922-924 Primary Examiner-Lawrence W. Trapp Attorney-Caesar, Rivise, Bernstein & Cohen  ABSTRACT An adjustable splint comprising a pair of spaced rigid bars and a pair of semi-rigid straps connected to the ends of the bars. The straps are integrally molded with the bars. A flexible strap is secured to one of the rigid bars and passes through an opening in the other rigid bar. The flexible strap is infinitely adjustable, and is used for securing the splint in place.
9 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures ADJUSTABLE SPLINT This invention relates to an adjustable splint, and more particularly, to an adjustable splint that can be used for the setting of bones and for intravenous therapy.
It is a common practice in the setting of broken bones to place a splint on the body portion .having the broken bones. The splint normally comprises a pair of rigid bars or rods that are placed on opposite sides of the broken bone and extend above and below the broken part. The bars are then taped in place, thereby preventing any bending or other movement .of the body part in the area of the broken bone.
In the past, all splints were fabricated directly onto the body part having the broken bone. There were no reusable splints, and every splint used was formed directly on the body part having the broken .bone. An improvement was developed which comprised an adjustable splint that could readily be placed quickly and easily on any body part having the broken bone. The adjustable splint could also be used for intravenous therapy by holding joints rigid in order to permit the insertion of the hypodermic needle.
The most commonly used of the adjustable splints comprises a pair of rigid steel bars having a plastic coating thereon. The two bars are held in a spaced parallel arrangement by a pair of flexible straps. A third flexible strap connects the two bars at approximately the centers thereof.
The adjustable splint is used by placing the two rigid bars and the flexible straps on one side of a limb and by placing the adjustable, flexible strap on the other side of the limb. The splint is tightened in place by adjusting the middle flexible strap.
The device of this invention enjoys all of the advantages of the prior art plastic coated steel adjustable splint, and in addition, has a number of advantages of its own. The device of this invention can be formed entirely of plastic, and need have no metal parts. Ac.- cordingly, it is autoclavable for sterilization, andcan be reused indefinitely.
Another advantage of the device of this invention is that it is semi-rigid, and accordingly is adapted for more uses than the adjustable splint which has the-flexible straps joining the rigid bars. Additionally, rather than being rectangular in shape, as is the adjustable splint currently in use, the device of this invention is trapezoidal in shape. This gives far more flexibility to the use of the device on varying parts of the body.
It is accordingly an object of this invention to provide a novel adjustable splint.
It is another object of this invention to provide an adjustable splint that can be used for the setting of broken bones and for intravenous therapy.
These and other objects of this invention are accomplished by providing an adjustable splintcomprising a pair of spaced rigid rods, a pair of semi-rigid straps joining said rods at the ends thereof, a flexible strap secured to one of said rods at an intermediate point thereof and being slidably mounted with respect tothe other of said rods, and means for adjusting the effective length of said strap.
Other objects and many of the attendant advantages of this invention will be readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference ,to the following detailed description when considered inconnection with the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the adjustable splint of this invention;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view thereof;
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view thereof;
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along the line 4-4 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 isa top plan view showing the use of the adjustable splint of this invention for intravenous therapy at the elbow joint;
FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken along the line 6-6 of FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken along the line 7-7 of FIG. 5;
FIG. 8 is a top plan view of the device of this invention as used for setting a broken wrist;
FIG. 9 is a side elevational view of the device of this invention as used for setting a broken wrist, and taken in the direction of the line 9-9 of FIG. 8; and
FIG. l0 is a sectional view taken along the line 10- l0 of FIG. 9.
Referring now in greater detail to the various figures of the drawings wherein like reference characters refer to like parts, an adjustable splint embodying the present invention is generally shown at 20 in FIG. 1. Device 20 basically comprises a pair of spaced rods 22, a pair of semi-rigid bars 24 joining the ends of the rods and extending transversely thereto, and a flexible strap 26.
Each rod 22 comprises a flat bar 28 and a rigidifying rib 30 projecting perpendicularly therefrom. Straps 24 are integral with rods 22, and unitarily molded therewith. Straps 24 are semi-rigid in nature, that is, they are flexible enough to be bent into an arcuate shape when a pressure is applied against them. However, when the pressure is removed, the plastic memory of the straps 24 will immediately return the straps to the flat configuration shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The straps have sufficient internal strength to maintain the splint 20 in the shape shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.
Each rib 30 is provided with an opening 32 at approximately the center point thereof. Opening 32 is formed at the juncture of the rib 30 with its associated bar 28. Bars 28 are reinforced in the areas of the opening, as shown at 34. The reinforcement comprises a thickened portion of plastic.
Strap 26 comprises a first tape 36 and a second tape 38. Tape 36 is a nylon tape that is covered with soft, resilient nylon loops 40. Tape 38 also comprises a flexible nylon tape covered with a myriad of finely woven nylon monofilaments formed into permanent hooks 42. When the hooks 42 are pressed into contact with the loops 40, they form a secure fastener, which can only be opened by pulling the hooks out of the loops. This type of fastener is well known to the art, and is sold under the Trademark VELCRO. This type of fastener is disclosed in greater detail in U.S. Pats. No. 2,717,437 and No. 3,009,235. This fastener is infinitely adjustable, and provides an excellent securement. Although nylon is preferred for the fastener material, other synthetic plastics can also be used for the backing strap and for forming the loops and hooks. Additionally, natural fibers, such as wool can be used for forming the loops.
One end of tape 36 passes through an opening 32 and is secured in place by folding the end rearwardly over itself, and stitching the folded portion in place, as indicated at 44. The other end of tape 36 is secured to one end of tape 38, as by stitching 46. The other end of tape 38 passes through the other opening 32 in a rod 22 and is looped over its associated rib 30. Tape 36 has its loops 40 facing in the same direction as hooks 42 of tape 38.
One use of the device of this invention is shown in FIG. 5. As seen therein, the device is placed on the top side of an arm with the hand 48 facing upwardly. The longer bar 24 is placed against the bicep 50 and the shorter bar 24 is placed against the forearm 52. The rods 22 are on opposite sides of the arm, and the strap 26 is located at the elbow joint 54. i
In order to place the device in the position shown in FIG. 5, the strap 26 is left in a loose, unfastened position, such as that shown in FIG. 1. The arm is then inserted through the loop formed by the strap 26, with the strap being lowermost and the rods 22 and bars 24 being placed on the upper side of the arm. The device is then positioned on the arm with the strap being located at the elbow joint 54, and on the rear side thereof. Thereafter, strap portion 38 is pulled tightly through its associated opening 32 until the rods 22 tightly conform to the arm. The strap 26 is then fastened in place by bringing tape portion 38 into contact with tape portion 36, thereby engaging the hooks 42 in loops 40. This securely fastens the device 20 in place around the elbow joint.
Once the splint 20 has been placed on an arm in the manner shown in FIG. 5, the arm is maintained in a rigid straight position. The pressure applied by the rods 22, bars 24 and strap 26 prevents the arm from being bent. With. the arm being held in this position, intravenous therapy can then take place by the insertion of a needle into the veins on the front side of the elbow joint. Accordingly, intravenous feeding or intravenous analgesia can easily be administered, without fear of the patients inadvertently bending his arm and dislodging the inserted hypodermic needle. The device can also be used in the same manner for the setting of broken bones in the arm. Likewise, it will find similar use on the leg of the patient. The splint is removed by pulling tape portion 38 away from tape portion 36 in order to permit the strap to return to the position shown in FIG. 1. The strap is reusable indefinitely.
Another use for the device of this invention is illustrated in FIGS. 8, 9 and 10. In this illustration, the device is used for the setting of bones in the hand or the wrist, or intravenous therapy through the back of the hand or wrist. In this use, the shorter bar 24 is bent into an arcuate shape and placed under the hand 48. A foam pad 56 or other resilient pad is placed on bar 24 and under fingers 58. The fingers 58 are then curled around the pad and the bar 24.
The rear bar 24 is also bent into an arcuate shape and conforms to the top of the forearm 52. The device 20 is secured in its arcuate shape by wrapping adhesive tape 60 around the forearm in the area of rear bar 24. Strap 26 is secured over the top side of the forearm, adjacent the wrist.
Withthe device 20 secured in themanner shown in FIGS. 8, 9 and 10, it can be used for the setting of any broken bones in the hand or wrist area. Additionally, the wrist joint is made rigidzin'ithis manner, and intravenous therapy can take. place by inserting the hypodermic needle into the veins on the top side of the wrist.
The device of this invention is preferably made of a synthetic plastic in view of the lightweight of the plastic and the fact that it can be sterilized, as by autoclaving. A preferred plastic is a polycarbonate plastic. Other plastics that may be used are nylon or polysulfone plastics. The plastics can be transparent, translucent or opaque. Any desired pigment can be added in order to color code the type of splint or to have the splint coordinate in color with the users garments. The device is preferably made by an injection molding process, although other molding processes known to the art can also be used. 7
The strap 26 which has been illustrated and described is preferred because it is infinitely adjustable, and in addition, has no metal parts. However, other types of straps known to the art can be used. These straps can either be woven textiles, both natural and synthetic, or plastic sheet material. Any suitable type of fastener can be used, such as buckles, overlapping rings, or piercing pins. Where metal fasteners are used, they should be formed from stainless steel in order to permit the device to be sterilized. Whatever type of fastener is used, it is preferable, however, that it be infinitely adjustable in order to obtain a secure fit of the splint on the patient.
The device of this invention is extremely light in weight, and should not cause any discomfort to the patient. It is much lighter than the steel adjustable splints currently in use. In addition to its uses in therapy, it can also find use in sports training. Thus, the device can be used to maintain a straight arm by securing the same at the elbow joint in the manner shown in FIGS. When thus used, it is particularly adapted for the training of golfers who must maintain a straight arm.
Having the trapezoidal shape for the device, which is accomplished through the use of a short bar 24 and a large bar 24, increases the adjustability of the device of this invention. Thus, if a particular patient should have an extremely large forearm and a smaller bicep, then the large bar 24 will be placed over the forearm and the smaller bar 24 will be placed over the bicep. The same flexibility of use will also apply to the other uses of the device of this invention.
Without further elaboration, the foregoing will so fully illustrate my invention, that others may, be applying current or future knowledge, adopt the same for use under various conditions of service.
What is claimed as the invention is:
1. An adjustable splint comprising a pair of spaced rigid rods, a pair of semi-rigid bars joining said rods at the ends thereof, said rods and said bars being integrally molded from a synthetic plastic, a flexible strap secured to one of said rods at an intermediate point thereof and being slidably mounted with respect to the other of said rods, and means for adjusting the effective length of said strap.
2. The adjustable splint of claim 1 wherein said rods comprise a synthetic plastic.
3. The adjustable. splint of claim 1 wherein said bars comprise a synthetic plastic.
4. The adjustable splint of claim 1 wherein each of said rods has an opening formed therein, with one end of said strap being secured in one of said openings and the remainder of said strap being slidably mounted in the other of said openings.
5. The adjustable splint of claim 1 wherein said strap comprises two tape portions, with the end of one tape portion being secured to one end of the other tape portion, one of said tape portions having a plurality of resilient loops formed thereon and the other of said tape portions having a plurality of finely woven resilient hooks formed thereon, whereby the effective length of said strap can be adjusted by bringing said hooks into contact with said loops and pressing said hooks into said loops.
6. The adjustable splint of claim 5 wherein each of said tape portions comprises nylon, said resilient loops comprise nylon and said resilient hooks comprise nylon monofilaments.
7. The adjustable splint of claim 1 wherein one of said bars is longer than the other of said bars.
8. An adjustable splint comprising a pair of spaced rigid rods, each of said rods comprising a flat bar and an upstanding reinforcing rib projecting perpendicularly from said flat bar, a pair of semi-rigid bars joining said rods at the ends thereof, a flexible strap secured to one of said rods at an intermediate point thereof and being slidably mounted with respect to the other of said rods, and means for adjusting the effective length of said straps.
9. The adjustable splint of claim 8 wherein said ribs are integrally molded with said flat bars from a synthetic plastic.
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