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Hip protectors

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 16 February 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:375

Prevent fractures but adherence is a problem

  1. Ian D Cameron, associate professor of rehabilitation medicine (
  1. Rehabilitation Studies Unit, Department of Medicine, University of Sydney, Ryde, NSW 1680, Australia

    For an older person a hip fracture is a devastating injury that greatly increases disability and mortality.1 Most hip fractures in older people occur due to a fall on to the greater trochanter of the femur.2 Clinicians and others have suspected this for a long time and logically have thought about methods of protecting this area. The first patent for a device designed to protect the hip was granted in the United States in 1959.3

    Hip protectors are devices that reduce the force transmitted to the proximal part of the femur through the greater trochanter in a fall. A pad or shield is held in place over the greater trochanter as shown in the figure. There are many types of these devices marketed around the world, and they fit into two broad categories. The first type pads the area of the hip with an energy absorbing material. The second type uses a semi-rigid plastic shield to divert force from the trochanteric region to the soft tissues of the thigh. In vitro …

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