Split Russell's / Buck Traction

Your child has a condition that will be helped by resting his / her hips.

Resting the hip joint and muscles will be done by using skin traction, which eases the pressures that cause painful spasms and stiffness.

Some of this equipment may be sent home from the hospital with you. The rest is ordered by the hospital from a medical supply store. Here is a checklist of what you will need:

  • Hospital bed
  • Two elastic bandages (Ace wraps) or two pieces of vent foam
  • Boots**
  • Overhead traction frame (optional)
  • Traction ropes and pulleys
  • Weight bags with sand or water
  • Thigh slings

**Special boots may be used instead of elastic bandages.

You may also need:

  • A bed pan
  • A urinal
  • A bath basin

The supply company will set up the bed and traction frame. You will need to check the traction every day. It is not necessary to awake at night to check the traction.

  1. Every four hours, make sure that the weights are hanging freely. The weights must not rest on the floor or the bed.
  2. If the ropes become frayed, call the supply store to replace them.
  3. All the attachments must be secure.
  4. The ropes must be in the pulley tracks.
  • If the Ace wraps or boots are too tight, your child's blood circulation will be slowed. Check your child's toes every four hours. They should be pink and warm.
  • If his/her toes are cold, swollen, pale, or blue; or he/she complains of tingling or numbness, remove the traction and allow the circulation to improve. When the circulation is better, reapply the wraps or boots, but not as tightly as before.
  • Use the "Figure 8" method with vent foam underneath to rewrap the bandages. The bandages should be snug, but not so tight to cause your child to have numb or tingling feet.
  • Check your child's circulation and rewrap the bandages throughout the day, before you go to bed, and in the morning, as soon as you awaken. The bandages might slide down to the ankles causing circulatory problems to the foot. It is not necessary to awaken at night to check these things.
  • Your child's ankles, heels, elbows and tailbone may become red and sore from rubbing against the sheets. To help prevent this, apply rubbing alcohol twice a day to these areas. This will toughen the skin. If the skin becomes dry, cracked, or as rash develops, stop using the alcohol until the skin heals. Do not apply lotion or lanolin creams.
  • To ease heel pressure, place a rolled hand towel under the ankle. This will raise the heel off the bed. Do not rest the heel on the towel.
  • Ask your doctor if your child may have a tub bath. If not, they may have a sponge bath every day.
  • If your child is using a boot, take it off every morning and evening to check the skin underneath.
  • Keep your child's bed linens dry. Damp sheets also soften the skin. Disposable underpads may help keep the sheets dry. You can buy these at a drugstore.
  • Your child must be flat in bed for the traction to work. Raise the head of the bed for meals only.
  • Call the school to set up a home tutor program as soon as possible.
  • Traction can be a trying time for children and families. Quiet activities, such as crafts and board games, may help pass the time. If possible, have your child's bed in a room with the rest of your family.
  • Your child's toes or feet remain pale, blue, cold, or swollen after the Ace wraps or boots have been removed for 20 to 30 minutes
  • Any open sores develop
  • You have a problem keeping your child in traction

If you need to reach the orthopaedic nurse before 4 pm Monday through Friday, call 513-636-4567. After 4 pm and during weekends and holidays, call 513-636-4200 and ask that the orthopaedic resident on call be paged.

Last Updated 03/2015