Study: Hip Protectors Show Promise for Reducing Fall-Related Fractures

November 21, 2019

Falls are the leading cause of hip fracture in older adults, and those individuals who experience such injuries generally have greater mortality and morbidity. However, a new study in the November issue of JAMDA showed that in a retrospective review, hip protectors reduced the risk of hip fracture nearly three-fold.

In Effectiveness of Hip Protectors to Reduce Risk for Hip Fracture from Falls in Long-Term Care, the authors retrospectively reviewed fall incident reports recorded during a 12-month period for 14 long-term care (LTC) facilities. They found that hip protectors were worn in 2,108 of 3,520 (60%) recorded falls. The propensity to wear hip protectors was associated with male gender, cognitive impairment, wandering behavior, cardiac dysrhythmia, use of a cane or walker, use of anti-anxiety medication, and/or the presence of urinary and bowel incontinence. The incidence of hip fracture was 0.33 per 100 falls with hip protectors, versus 0.92 per 100 falls without.

Hip protectors consist of specialized garments with soft pads or hard domes secured adjacent to the greater trochanter of the femur. They are designed to reduce the risk of hip fracture in the event of a fall by absorbing and/or diverting energy away from the proximal femur to less vulnerable tissues on landing.

The authors noted that most clinical trials on the effectiveness of hip protectors in LTC have “failed to attain a similar level of adherence.” Therefore, they said, “Our findings support the need for future research on the benefit of dissemination and implementation strategies to maximize adherence with hip protectors in LTC.”

This study was conducted by researchers at the George and Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada; Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Fraser Health Authority, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada; University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; and the Kolling Institute of Medial Research, University of Sydney, St. Leonards, New South Wales, Australia.

Click here for more information on the findings above and more details about the study. To contact the researchers or JAMDA editors for an interview, please email



JAMDA is the official journal of AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine. JAMDA publishes peer-reviewed articles including original studies, reviews, clinical experience articles, case reports, and more, on all topics more important to post-acute and long-term care medicine. Visit for more information.

About the Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine
AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine is the only medical specialty society representing the community of over 50,000 medical directors, physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other practitioners working in the various post-acute and long-term care (PALTC) settings. Dedicated to defining and improving quality, we advance our mission through timely professional development, evidence-based clinical guidance, and tireless advocacy on behalf of members, patients, families, and staff. Visit for more information.