This application is a division of application Ser. No. 11/395,522, filed Apr. 1, 2005, now U.S. Pat. No. 7,676,850, which claimed benefit from provisional application No. 60/667,396, filed Apr. 1, 2005.
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OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to orthopedic footwear, and more particularly to a sock having extended, reversible tubes or fingers formed thereon for retaining toe separators or cushions between the toes.
The invention is concerned with proper alignment of the big toe (Hallux). In some people, there is a tendency of the big toe to bend outward (Valgus) toward the smaller toes and deform over time into a Hallux Valgus or crooked big toe. The cause may be hereditary, or it can be the extended wearing of shoes that are too tight or ill fitting. Beyond being unsightly, a bent great toe can turn so dramatically to the outside of the foot that the bursa at the base of the big toe becomes inflamed and swells (bunion). In addition, the big toe can interfere with, irritate and deform the adjacent smaller toes. The resulting deformity of the toe bones and joints (Hallus Vagus) can be so painful that corrective surgery is commonly required. It is the purpose of this invention to reduce substantially the frequency of such surgeries through the protective and corrective forces that this invention will provide to crooked and healthy toes.
Prior inventors have developed a number of solutions for correcting the toes, by providing splints, separators and the like. Many such devices are needlessly complex and difficult to apply and wear. It would benefit those suffering from certain foot problems to have a simple sock construction specially designed to retain toe spacers or cushions.
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OF THE INVENTION
An object of the invention is to provide a sock that supports cushions or separators between or around at least two toes of the foot, to protect or correct the toes.
Another object is to maintain a corrective force on the big toe, with the aim of straightening the toe, or preventing it from becoming more crooked.
These and other objects are attained by the socks shown in the drawings and described below.
In the following description, the term “toe sock” means a sock constructed so that the five toes of the foot (designated T1-T5, beginning with the great toe) are individually surrounded by sock fabric, so that each toe can move independently. The term “great toe” means the big toe. The term “tabi sock” means a sock knitted so that the large or great toe is surrounded by fabric, and the four smaller toes are contained together in one compartment, analogous to a mitten for the hand Tabi socks are commonly worn with sandals. The sandal post slips into the space between the two toe compartments.
A primary advantage of the invention is its ease of use. The wearer simply puts on a sock the normal course of dressing and the cushion already properly positioned.
Another advantage of the invention is that enables one to insert cushions of different sizes. A person can then use a thinner or thicker cushion, according to their particular foot condition. Actually, the person can start with a thin cushion, and gradually increase the cushion thickness to increase corrective force without discomfort.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
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In the accompanying drawings,
FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a toe separator sock, having individual toes, one toe containing an attached toe separator or a toe spacer to the right side of the great toe.
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of a modified form of the invention, showing the sock with a spacer inserted into a receptacle.
FIG. 3 is a top plan view of a modified form of the invention, wherein the four smaller toes are contained within a single sock space.
FIG. 4 shows another variation, in which the spacer receptacle is formed separately between two toes.
FIG. 5 is like FIG. 4, except that the sock encloses all the toes within its outer layer.
FIG. 6 is another modification, wherein all of the toes, and the spacer receptacle, are individually formed.
FIG. 7 illustrates another variation, in which the toes are individually formed, and there are two separator receptacles.
FIG. 8 shows another embodiment, including a strap and toe cap or hood which is looped over and around the great toe, and passes around the heel to an anchor point on the outside of the foot.
FIG. 9 is a top plan view of a sock like that of FIG. 1, with the addition of a bunion pad on the left side of the foot.
FIG. 10 is a top plan view of sock having a spacer tube or toe separator tube as manufactured, before the tube is inverted.
FIG. 11 shows the sock of FIG. 10, after the toe tube has been inverted.
FIG. 12 is a modification of the sock of FIG. 11, containing an additional element.
FIG. 13 is a sectional view of the toe portion of the sock shown in FIG. 12.
FIG. 14 is similar to FIG. 10, except that the toes have separate compartments which are one half conventional toe length.
FIG. 15 is a plan view of a double toe tube sock, before inverting the two tubular cushion pockets.
FIG. 16 is a top plan view thereof, after inverting the cushion pockets.
FIG. 17 is a plan view of another double toe tube sock, before inverting the two cushion pockets.
FIG. 18 is a top plan view thereof, after inverting the two cushion pockets.
FIGS. 19 and 20 show a sock, suitable for wearing with thong-type sandals, in which there are separate compartments for the great toe, and for the remaining toes, and cushions pockets are provided on opposing sides of the compartments.