Hip protectors for preventing hip fractures in older people
- Correspondence to H Handoll, Health and Social Care Institute, School of Health and Social Care, Teesside University, Middlesbrough TS1 3BA, UK;
Fractures of the proximal femur (hip fractures) occur predominantly in older populations, with an average age around 80 years. Around 80% of people sustaining hip fractures are female and many are frail with other medical conditions. Between 12% and 27% of people sustaining a hip fracture die within a year, often as a direct consequence of their fracture. Most survivors fail to regain their former levels of mobility, many becoming more dependent including requiring institutional care. Worldwide, an estimated 1.7 million hip fractures occurred in 1990 with a predicted increase to 6.29 million by the year 2050. The already immense burden on society is increasing, including the escalating costs of the additional institutional care for many people. Preventing these injuries is a clear public health priority.
Hip fractures generally result from a simple fall, from standing height or less, in bone weakened by osteoporosis. Loss of protective mechanisms, such as putting out the arms to break the fall, in old people means that the main impact with the ground is …