Preventing a hip fracture 

It may be possible to prevent hip fractures by taking steps to prevent falls and by treating osteoporosis (weak and fragile bones).

If you're diagnosed with osteoporosis, follow your treatment plan. Improving your bone health may help lower your fracture risk.

Preventing falls

People over 65 years of age have an increased risk of falling. To help reduce your risk of falling you can:

Read about preventing falls for more information and advice to reduce your risk of falling. 

Hip protectors

Hip protectors can be used to reduce the impact of a fall, and are particularly useful for preventing hip fractures in older people.

Hip protectors are devices that use padded material and plastic shields attached to specially designed underwear. The pads absorb the shock of a fall and the plastic shields divert the impact away from vulnerable areas of the hip.

In the past, one of the biggest issues with hip protectors was that many people found them uncomfortable and stopped wearing them. Modern hip protectors have tried to address this by having a more comfortable fit and additional features, such as ventilation to reduce sweating.

Guidelines produced by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) – falls: assessment and prevention of falls in older people – suggest that hip protectors may be useful for older people in care homes who are considered to be at high risk of a fall.

However, they're thought to be less effective for elderly people who remain active and live in their own home.

Frax tool

The FRAX tool has been developed to help predict a person's fracture risk. It's based on bone mineral density (BMD), plus other relevant risk factors such as age and sex.

The FRAX tool

The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a 10 year Fracture Risk Assessment Tool to help predict a person's risk of fracture in an age range between 40-90 years.

The tool is based on bone mineral density (BMD) and other relevant risk factors such as age and sex.

The algorithms used give a 10-year probability of hip fracture and a 10-year probability of major fracture in the spine, hip, shoulder or forearm.

Page last reviewed: 18/07/2014

Next review due: 18/07/2016