Patent application title: Protective Anchoring Cuff for Compression Hosiery
Betty Birnbaum (Southampton, NY, US)
IPC8 Class: AA41F1800FI
Class name: Apparel garment supporters and retainers torso or limb encircling
Publication date: 2013-08-08
Patent application number: 20130198938
A foldable fabric cuff for comfortably maintaining the position of a
compression hosiery or other garment. The fabric cuff has a static region
and a folding region, such that the open end of the compression garment
is sandwiched between the static region and the folding region when the
cuff is worn in the folded position. The static region of the cuff is
provided with a gripping surface that secures the open end of the
compression garment in a comfortable, static position.
1. A fabric cuff for securing a compression garment to a wearer's body,
the first part having a static region positioned between the wearer's
body and an end of the compression garment, the static region including a
gripping surface to contact the end of the compression garment; the
second part adjacent the first part comprising a folding part that covers
the end of the compression garment and the static region.
2. The fabric cuff of claim 1, wherein the gripping surface has spaced silicone rubber ridges.
3. The fabric cuff of claim 1, wherein the gripping surface has spaced hook-and-loop fastener strips.
4. The fabric cuff of claim 1, wherein the fabric is a felted polyurethane foam fabric.
5. An accessory for maintaining the position of a compression garment, comprising: a foldable fabric band having inner, outer, and middle regions, the middle region having a gripping surface that has spaced silicone rubber ridges or spaced hook-and-loop fastener strips.
6. The accessory of claim 5, wherein the circumference of the foldable band is between 5 and 70 inches.
7. The accessory of claim 5, wherein the circumference of the foldable band is between 10 and 35 inches.
8. A method for securing a compression hosiery garment comprising: providing a foldable, stretchable, fabric cuff for securing a compression stocking in place on a wearer's leg, the cuff having inner, middle and outer regions, the middle region having a gripping surface of at least one silicone rubber ridge or at least one spaced hook-and-loop fastener strip; sliding the foldable fabric cuff into place on the compression hosiery garment to engage the gripping surface and the compression hosiery garment.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
 This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 440,496, filed on Feb. 8, 2011, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.
FIELD OF INVENTION
 The present invention relates to devices for comfortably maintaining the position of compression hosiery worn on an extremity.
BACKGROUND OF INVENTION
 Elastic compression garments are typically worn on the extremities, and are extremely effective in the prevention and palliation of varicose veins and other venous disorders. Compression garments are considered medical devices, and are manufactured in several levels of compression strength in order to treat a range of medical conditions. However, compression stockings with the lowest compression level of 15-20 mmHg are designed to be worn by anybody to promote general leg health. Indeed, anybody who stands or sits for long periods of time can benefit from these inexpensive, non-prescription devices.
 There are several well-known styles of compression garment construction. For each of these types, rolling of the compression fabric at the uppermost open end is a problem. Rolling of the elastic fabric causes painful and dangerous pressure on the body where it occurs. Skin irritation, and in more severe cases, blood clots may occur where the rolled compression fabric creates a tourniquet-like effect.
 Attempts have been made to create a compression garment or compression garment accessory that maintains the position of the garment at its open end. For example, garter belts and suspenders are used to secure the end of the fabric to another garment or another part of the body. Additionally, body adhesives, silicone and even rubber bands have been used to fasten the compression fabric directly to the skin that it covers. Unfortunately, these various securing devices are generally ineffective and uncomfortable. As a result, many users of compression garments fail to realize the full benefits of their devices. Worse, some may even stop wearing their garments out of frustration with seemingly unavoidable fabric rolling, slipping and constriction.
 There is a need for a reusable accessory that comfortably and effectively maintains the position of compression garments. A need exists for an accessory that is easy to use, and does not adhere to either the skin or other garments.
SUMMARY OF INVENTION
 The present invention overcomes the disadvantages of earlier devices by providing a relatively wide, soft cuff of elastic fabric provided with a gripping surface for securing the open end of compression garments. The wearer draws the compression garment along the extremity until the open end of the garment fits over a first part of the cuff and contacts the gripping surface. The compression garment is then comfortably secured by folding a second, exposed part of the cuff over the end of the compression garment. In this way, the cuff mitigates the tendency of compression garment fabric to be relatively more compressive at the open end, particularly when worn around fleshy areas of a leg, for example. At the same time, the cuff of the present invention prevents the garment from slipping toward the end of the extremity by means of gentle friction. Advantageously, it may be used with a wide range of commercially available compression garments.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 Other features and advantages of the invention will become apparent by reviewing the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments, with reference to the drawings in which:
 FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a first preferred embodiment of the invention in an unfolded position;
 FIG. 2A is a perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 worn on the leg of a patient in an unfolded position;
 FIG. 2B is a perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 worn on the leg of a patient in a folded position;
 FIG. 3 is an enlarged view of a first preferred embodiment of the invention having a gripping surface comprising silicone rubber ridges; and
 FIG. 4 is an enlarged view of a second preferred embodiment of the invention having a gripping surface comprising lengths of Velcro®-type hook-and-loop fastener strips.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 Referring to the drawings, FIG. 1 depicts a relatively wide, soft cuff or band 2 of elastic fabric 4 provided with a gripping surface 6 where the open end of the compression garment contacts the cuff 2. The gripping surface 6 is located in a static region 8 of the cuff 2, which always remains in contact with the skin when the cuff 2 is worn. Abutting and attached to the static region 8 is a folding part 10, which is folded over the static region 8 when the cuff is worn.
 The fabric 4 may be of any suitable type, provided that its compression level is low and that it is soft to the touch. Preferably, the fabric is a porous, "breathable" type. In an exemplary embodiment, the fabric 4 is a thin annulus or ring of felted polyurethane foam. For example, the fabric 4 may be felted polyurethane foam that is about an eighth of an inch thick when in an unstretched state.
 The cuff 2 may be any suitable length from open end to open end, and is preferably between 3 and 9 inches long. The circumference of the cuff 2 varies widely, as it is intended to substantially match the circumference of the body part around which is it worn. The wearer will select the cuff 2 with a circumference that achieves the desired amount of compression, and thereby best accommodates its intended usage. Exemplary circumferences may range up to 35 inches for compression garments worn on the larger extremities. Cuffs 2 having greater circumferences will have commensurately greater lengths from open end to open end, to ensure that there is sufficient friction with the body surface for proper functioning of the device.
 In another embodiment, the cuff may be sized to secure a stocking around the upper thigh region of a wearer's leg, and may be used in connection with conventional women's stockings as a garter. In such an embodiment, it may be suitably decorated with lace and the like.
 FIGS. 3 and 4 depict two alternative exemplary embodiments of the present invention. In FIG. 3 the gripping surface 6 comprises a plurality of silicone rubber ridges 30. The gripping surface 6 depicted in FIG. 4 comprises a plurality of Velcro®-type hook-and-loop fastener strips 40. The shapes, positions and types of the fastening elements that comprise the gripping surface 6 may vary from those shown in the pictured embodiments without departing from the scope of the invention.
 The present invention also provides a method of using the compression garment accessory. The aforementioned fabric cuff 2 is positioned on an extremity as pictured in FIG. 2A, along with the compression garment 20, such that the open end 22 of the compression garment covers the static region 8 of the cuff 2. Subsequently, the folding part 10 is folded over the top of the compression garment 20 as pictured in FIG. 2B.
 The embodiments set forth in the detailed description and the accompanying figures are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention. However, the scope of the invention is not limited by the disclosure, and it is to be understood that other embodiments that differ from the pictured and described embodiments may be practiced or utilized without departing from the spirit of the present invention. For example, in yet another alternate embodiment the surface of the folding part 10 may be provided with fastening elements such as silicone rubber ridges or bumps, or Velcro®-type hook-and-loop fastener strips.
 Thus, there has been shown and described a protective, comfortable anchoring cuff for compression garments. The many variations, modifications and alternative applications of the invention that would be apparent to those skilled in the art, and that do not depart from the scope of the invention are deemed to be covered by the invention.
Patent applications in class Torso or limb encircling
Patent applications in all subclasses Torso or limb encircling