What Is Traction?

In the medical field, traction refers to the practice of slowly and gently pulling on a fractured or dislocated body part. It’s
often done using ropes, pulleys, and weights. These tools help apply force to the tissues surrounding the damaged area.

The purpose of traction is to guide the body part back into place and hold it steady. Traction may be used to:

 stabilize and realign bone fractures, such as a broken arm or leg

 help reduce the pain of a fracture before surgery

 treat bone deformities caused by certain conditions, such as scoliosis

 correct stiff and constricted muscles, joints, tendons, or skin

 stretch the neck and prevent painful muscle spasms

What Are the Different Types of Traction?

The two main types of traction are skeletal traction and skin traction. The type of traction used will depend on the
location and the nature of the problem.

Skeletal Traction

 Skeletal traction involves placing a pin, wire, or screw in the fractured bone. After one of these devices has been
inserted, weights are attached to it so the bone can be pulled into the correct position. This type of surgery may
be done using a general, spinal, or local anesthetic to keep you from feeling pain during the procedure.

 The amount of time needed to perform skeletal traction will depend on whether it’s a preparation for a more
definitive procedure or the only surgery that’ll be done to allow the bone to heal.

 Skeletal traction is most commonly used to treat fractures of the femur, or thighbone. It’s also the preferred
method when greater force needs to be applied to the affected area. The force is directly applied to the bone,
which means more weight can be added with less risk of damaging the surrounding soft tissues.

Skin Traction

 Skin traction is far less invasive than skeletal traction. It involves applying splints, bandages, or adhesive tapes to
the skin directly below the fracture. Once the material has been applied, weights are fastened to it. The affected
body part is then pulled into the right position using a pulley system attached to the hospital bed.

 Skin traction is used when the soft tissues, such as the muscles and tendons, need to be repaired. Less force is
applied during skin traction to avoid irritating or damaging the skin and other soft tissues. Skin traction is rarely
the only treatment needed. Instead, it’s usually used as a temporary way to stabilize a broken bone until the
definitive surgery is performed.

you’ll probably need to participate in an inpatient or an outpatient treatment program. however. These risks include:  an adverse reaction to the anesthesia  excessive bleeding  an infection of the pin site  damage to the surrounding tissue  nerve injury or vascular injury from too much weight being applied It’s important to contact your doctor if:  the prescribed medications aren’t relieving your pain  the skin around the pin site becomes red. . What Are the Risks of Traction? There are risks involved in all surgical procedures. so the recovery time is often much longer. The muscles are often weak since you must spend a lot of time in bed after traction is performed. However. or swollen  there’s drainage Is Traction an Effective Treatment? Traction used to be considered a state-of-the-art treatment. other surgical techniques have become more advanced and more effective in correcting fractures.What Happens After Traction? If you’re treated with traction. weakness. However. damaged muscles. and spinal conditions. You and your doctor can discuss whether traction is the best option for your particular condition. Moving around and walking may be challenging and can make you tired. traction can be beneficial in treating certain conditions. It’s very effective in providing temporary pain relief in the early stages of treatment after trauma. Traction also doesn’t allow for much movement after surgery. Traction saved many lives during World War II by allowing soldiers to be transported safely without injury to their surrounding tissues. A therapist can also teach you new skills to compensate for any pain. Today. or paralysis you may have experienced as a result of being injured. In recent years. it’s used primarily as a temporary measure until the definitive procedure is done. These programs often consist of physical and occupational therapy to help you regain your strength and relearn skills that may have been affected by your injury. it’s important to stick with any rehabilitation program so that you can improve your chances of making a complete recovery. hot. The first few days after traction is performed can be difficult.

A splint is often used to stabilize a broken bone while the injured person is taken to the hospital for more advanced treatment. Placed properly. you can create a temporary splint from materials around you. Indications for Splinting • Acute arthritis. a splint will help ease the pain of an injury by making sure that the wounded area does not move. A splint is often used to stabilize a broken bone while the injured person is taken to the hospital for more advanced treatment. feet. and joints • Fractures and sprains • Reduced joint dislocations What Is a Splint? A splint is a piece of medical equipment used to keep an injured body part from moving and to protect it from any further damage. and joints • Fractures and sprains • Reduced joint dislocations . a splint will help ease the pain of an injury by making sure that the wounded area does not move. If you or a loved one is injured at home or during an activity. Indications for Splinting • Acute arthritis. including acute gout • Severe contusions and abrasions • Skin lacerations that cross joints • Tendon lacerations • Tenosynovitis • Puncture wounds/bites to the hands. It can also be used if you have a severe strain or sprain in one of your limbs. such as hiking.What Is a Splint? A splint is a piece of medical equipment used to keep an injured body part from moving and to protect it from any further damage. Placed properly. feet. It can also be used if you have a severe strain or sprain in one of your limbs. including acute gout • Severe contusions and abrasions • Skin lacerations that cross joints • Tendon lacerations • Tenosynovitis • Puncture wounds/bites to the hands.

3-. the ends can be folded back  Use plaster width that is slightly greater than the diameter of the limb  Can be measured on the contralateral extremity to avoid excessive manipulation of the injured extremity  Thickness:  UE: 8-10 layers  LE 10-12 layers .or 6-inch widths) • Prefabricated Splint Rolls • Plaster • Fiberglass with polypropylene padding (at CMH) • Padding (Webril) • Ace Wrap • Bucket/receptacle of warm water • Trauma sheers Plaster Preparation  Length: Measure out the dry splint at the extremity to be splinted  remember the plaster shrinks slightly when wet.Splinting Equipment • Stockinette • Splinting material • Plaster • Strips or rolls (2-. if too long. 4.

capillary refill. arterial pulse. and sensation . check the splinted extremity for function. temperature of skin. mold the plaster to conform to the shape of the extremity • Use the palms of your hand rather than the fingers • Place the patient’s extremity in the position desired • Keep the patient still until the splint has dried and hardened (the plaster will become warm as it’s drying) • Fast-drying: 5-8 minutes • Extra-fast drying: 2-4 minutes • After the splint has dried.General Splinting Procedure • Measure and prepare the plaster • Apply the stockinette so that it extends 2 or 3 inches beyond the plaster • Apply 2 or 3 layers of Webril over the area to be splinted • Be generous • Avoid wrinkles • Place extra padding around bony prominences • Place Webril between digits that are going to be splinted to avoid maceration • Wet the plaster and place it over the area to be splinted • Submerge the premeasured plaster in unused warm water • Remove the splint from the water and squeeze out the excess water and remove wrinkles • Fold the ends of stockinette over the the plaster to smooth the edges of the splint • Place a layer of Webril over the plaster • Apply the ace wrap around the splint to secure it in place • Unwrap the bandage without placing too much tension around the extremity • While still wet.