#226: Joint saver

Hip replacement operations, although highly successful, are very costly. The reason that so many are required is that when someone has even a minor fall, the ligaments around their hip, the ones that hold the hip joint ‘ball’ in its ‘socket’, become suddenly very taught.

It’s this sudden snapping force which can break the balljoint off the top of the femur, rather than any subsequent impact with the floor.


Today’s invention is a belt containing two syringes of fast-acting muscle relaxant. Each syringe is positioned over the hip region of the wearer. An accelerometer on the belt detects when a fall is in progress (just like the mechanism for locking up the hard disk in a falling laptop).

When this occurs, the syringes automatically inject their content into both hip regions, preventing a serious tightening of the muscles and saving the joints from damage.  Actually, you might well see more dislocations (it’s to avoid these that the muscles tighten up) but that seems like a much less significant problem that femoral-neck fractures.

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