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SENIOR CARE / Hip Protectors Said to Reduce Risk of Fracture

January 28, 2002

Hip fractures are common among elderly men and women and can lead to permanent disability, admission to a nursing home, even death. Only about 25% to 30% of people who suffer a hip fracture make a full recovery, according to a report in the January issue of the American Journal of Nursing.

But protection is available.

Hip protectors, undergarments with padding to cushion fragile hip bones in the event of a fall, have been shown to reduce the risk of a fracture during a fall by as much as 84%. The garments, which cost $30 to almost $200 and are widely available on the Internet, are usually lightweight and thin enough to be worn under loose clothing.

As lighter and more attractive styles of hip protectors hit the market, more people at high risk of a fracture may consider wearing the garments. Earlier studies have indicated that the hip protectors take some getting used to and that long-term compliance may be a problem if the garment is uncomfortable or unattractive.

--Shari Roan

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