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Are hip protectors correctly positioned in use?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Alexis Chuck, Jacqueline Todd


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There are many designs of hip protectors ranging from small elliptical shaped hard shell designs to large circular soft pads. They are held in position usually by being contained in a close fitting pocket on a garment that patients wear all the time they are at risk of sustaining a fracture of the hip if they fall onto the area of the greater trochanter (GT). It is important for the function of the hip protector that the pad element is positioned over the GT when the subject falls onto a surface such as the floor so as to provide the maximal protection by reducing the large forces transmitted to the femoral neck that lead to the fracture of the bone. In this study, anatomical measurements show where the GT is relevant to the centre of the hip protector, and position and movement studies have shown that generally the hard shell design of the hip protector lies posterior and proximal to the GT both for erect and flexed positions of the hip. The position of the GT relevant to the anterior superior iliac crest was established using ultrasound examinations on control and patients admitted with a fracture of the hip due to a fall. The diagonal surface distance for the three groups of test subjects was approximately 12 cm and a template was developed that could be used to locate the GT. A 'zone' of GT position and movement has been established relative to the anterior superior iliac crest, and designers of garments should ensure that this zone is within the area of protection provided by their hip protector pad design.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Minns RJ, Marsh AM, Chuck A, Todd J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Age and Ageing

Year: 2007

Volume: 36

Issue: 2

Pages: 140-144

ISSN (print): 0002-0729

ISSN (electronic): 1468-2834

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/ageing/afl186


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