(2) Running traction. Direct pull is applied without support of the part
(example: Buck's traction). The pull is exerted in only one plane. This principle may be
utilized in both skin and skeletal traction, and may be either unilateral or bilateral.
1-26. PREPARING THE PATIENT AND HIS UNIT FOR TRACTION
a. There are many local variations in traction procedures, depending upon the
preferences of the orthopedic surgeons. The nursing procedures described for the care
of patients in traction are only guidelines and are subject to amendment by specific
orders of the medical officer. In Department of the Army hospitals, an orthopedic
technician usually assists the physician in application of traction. The nursing personnel
may be required to assist occasionally, but it is not a nursing responsibility to construct
traction. It is a nursing responsibility to recognize and report defects in the traction
system so that the defects can be corrected by qualified personnel. The nursing
personnel's primary responsibility lies in giving quality nursing care. In order to give
effective nursing care to a patient in traction, one should have an understanding of the
basic forms of traction and recognize some principle features of standard traction
b. Check the physician's orders to determine the type and location of the traction
to be applied before you prepare the patient for application of traction.
(1) Remove pajama trousers for application of traction to a lower limb. A
towel should be provided for use as a loin-cloth style drape.
(2) Remove pajama coat for application of arm or cervical traction. If a
pajama coat is used, it may be worn backward, leaving the affected arm free.
Offer a bedpan or urinal prior to the start of the procedure.
Assemble any equipment or dressing materials that may be needed.
c. Prepare the patient's bed with a firm mattress and a bedboard if one is
required. Make the bed with a draw sheet over the bottom linen and fold the top linen
back and leave untucked. Depending upon the type of traction to be applied, assemble
the following equipment and complete the bed.
(1) Provide a footboard or sandbags to support the foot that is not in
traction. Foot support for the leg in traction is usually provided by means of a footrest,
attached when traction is applied.
(2) Attach an overhead Balkan frame with trapeze or an orthopedic head or
footboard as appropriate.
Provide several firm, plastic-covered pillows.