SOURCE: HipSaver, Inc.

February 21, 2007 15:16 ET

Tax-Funded NIH Studies Spent Millions to Determine the Efficacy of a Hip Protector Product That Does Not Cover the Hip Bone

CANTON, MA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- February 21, 2007 -- Hip protectors are a promising intervention for the reduction of impact-related fractures in the elderly. Some 350,000 older people in the US fracture a hip each year. Hip protectors consist of underwear that places an energy-reducing pad over the hip bone. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has funded large clinical studies on a hip protector called FallGard at the Harvard University affiliated Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, University of Maryland, and Washington University. However, an article in the February 2007 issue of the scientific journal Age & Ageing reveals that FallGard hip protectors do not actually cover the hip bone.

Researchers have determined that over 90% of such fractures relate to the extreme force of a fall on the vulnerable hip bone. Biomechanical tests and clinical studies have shown that a properly designed hip protector can substantially reduce fracture risk if the product is worn at the time of a fall.

In the study published in the February issue of Age & Ageing, researcher Julian Minns, a medical physicist at Newcastle General Hospital in the United Kingdom, conducted ultrasound measurements of various subjects to precisely determine the location of the hip bone (trochanter). He then constructed a hip protector fitting pelvis rig and tested various commercially available hip protectors on it.

The NIH-funded FallGard hip protector missed the mark by several inches, showing that it offers no hip protection whatsoever in a fall. Of the eight other commercially available hip protectors tested by Professor Minns, four offered no or marginal coverage to the hip bone and four did cover the hip bone.

In addition, in 2002, the NIH Office of Research Integrity issued a finding of misconduct against a research contractor for HipCo, the company that produces FallGard, for falsified and fabricated data and research records.

"In the quest for market penetration, what has been left out of product development at some companies are the basics of product design, function and scientific integrity," says Ed Goodwin, President of HipSaver, a hip protector manufacturer whose product did cover the hip bone in Professor Minn's study. "Proper placement of a hip protector over the hip bone can be determined by anatomical data, palpation, ultrasound and X-rays. Poorly designed products on the market and studies of those products are very damaging to the reputation of hip protectors that do in fact protect hips and help preserve the health of the elderly."

HipSaver soft hip protectors are used around the world in veterans' hospitals, nursing homes, hospitals and elder communities, and their ability to prevent devastating hip injuries has been documented in third-party research studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association and in Advance for Physical Therapists. Further information on these studies or on HipSaver hip protectors is available at or by calling 1-800-358-4477.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Edward L. Goodwin
    Email Contact
    7 Hubbard Street
    Canton, MA 02021