Every year, an increasing number of elderly people suffer a hip fracture. Hip fractures are a major cause of morbidity and mortality for people over 65 years of age, and almost all occur as a result of a simple fall. A hip fracture could turn the life of an individual upside down. Less than half of the people suffering a hip fracture regain the mobility they had before the fracture occurred. Many become dependent on the assistance of others – or move to residential aged care .

The risk of falls and hip fractures increases with age especially if there is brittleness of the bones (osteoporosis), which is a widespread condition occurring in elderly women and men.

Hip protectors are one way of reducing the risk of a hip fracture from a fall. Hip protectors which are plastic shields or foam pads that fit into the pockets of specially designed underwear, have been advocated as a means to reduce the risk of sustaining a fracture as a result of a fall on the hip. They help to absorb impact and disperse the force acting on the hip bone. People who are thin are especially recommended to consider wearing these, as they have less natural ‘padding’ around their hips. People with osteoporosis are also recommended to consider hip protectors, as they have a greater chance of bone fracture should they fall.

To see a range of products available, view the equipment catalogue from the Independent Living Centre.