1-27. TRACTION APPARATUS
When working with traction apparatus, the following points should be observed
routinely and any defect reported to the charge nurse.
a. Weights. The weights must hang free. Each weight bag must be tied
securely to its rope. Avoid bumping or knocking the weight bags. They should not be
allowed to swing back and forth. Weights should never be removed from a patient with
a fracture unless so ordered by the physician or in the case of an extreme emergency.
Weight and pulley traction is applied to provide constant corrective extension. If the
weights are removed, the purpose of their use has been defeated.
b. Ropes. There should be no frayed spots or knots in the running length. They
should not drag on the bedclothes or the bed frame. No ropes should rest against one
c. Pulleys. The rope should rest securely in the pulley grooves. Pulley clamps
must be securely attached to the bed frame and must not be moved unless ordered by
d. Spreader Bars. The spreader bars should cause no pressure on adjacent
e. Footplate. The footplate should maintain and support the foot in a neutral
position, with no pressure on either side of the foot, the heel, or the toes. It must not
rest against the foot of the bed, as this interferes with the traction pull.
f. Trapeze. The trapeze should be suspended from the overhead bar of the
bed frame so that the patient can reach and grasp it without strain and without twisting
out of proper alignment.
g. Hammocks, Slings, and Halters. These should be free of wrinkles and
cause no pressure on bony prominence or joints. If padding material is used, it must be
clean, dry, and free of wrinkles and crumbs.
1-28. SKIN TRACTION
a. Prior to application of the skin traction, inspect the skin for rashes, abrasions,
or signs of circulatory impairment since the skin must be healthy in order to tolerate the
traction. Check with the physician as to whether the skin should be shaved. Shaving is
not always advisable because of the possibility of skin irritation or subsequent ingrowing
hair problems. The extremity should be clean and dry before anything is applied to the
b. Assist with the application of skin traction and arrangement of the traction
apparatus as directed by the physician. Understand the nature of the traction and the