Health Update: Hip protector

A PLASTIC hip protector designed by Danish doctors could reduce the risk of hip fractures in elderly people by half, a study has shown. The authors, from the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Copenhagen, say that most hip fractures are caused by direct physical injury to the hip in a fall, and they have designed an external hip shield, fixed in specially designed underwear, to soften the impact.

Their study, which involved more than 600 elderly residents of a Danish nursing home, found that use of the protector reduced the risk of hip fracture by 53 per cent.

However, the residents did not take to the protectors: only 25 per cent wore them regularly. The authors suggest in the Lancet that the device should be redesigned to make it more acceptable.

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