Bath surgeon's design aims to put brake on fractures
It's an injury which brings hundreds of people to his hospital each winter.
But now a surgeon from the Royal United Hospital has designed a new wrist guard to reduce the risk of a fracture when falling over.
Orthopaedic surgeon Grey Giddins has come up with a design that fits inside a leather glove to give protection against wrist fractures.
The Giddins Guard is a small plastic disc with energy-absorbing foam padding that could reduce the number of falls resulting in a wrist fracture by up to 80 per cent.
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It absorbs shock at the source of impact – the heel of the hand – and minimises the impact on the forearm, which is where a break normally happens.
Dr Giddins, who also has a private clinic at James Street West, said: "I see many broken wrists every year and on speaking to snow boarders and discovering that only ten per cent of them wear wrist supports I felt compelled to create something better.
"By studying how people fall and why these breaks occur I found that the prevention of movement in the wrist by a traditional brace is not only unnecessary, but probably counter-productive as it prevents the hand going back into the optimal position to absorb shock on impact.
"The Giddins Guard was designed to provide all of the protection of a conventional wrist brace, without restricting movement and causing discomfort, which discourages many people from wearing the existing products.
"We can't stop people falling but it's exciting to now have the Giddins Guard to protect you as much as possible."
Last year more than 100,000 people in the UK broke their wrists from a fall, the majority of them women.
The leather Giddins Guard gloves are available to buy at www.giddinsguard.com and are priced at £35 per pair.
The technology is also being developed for use by snowboarders and other sports people at high risk of wrist fracture.