Traction is used when a child's hip is totally dislocated and attempting to make a false acetabulum higher up on the pelvis. If the child's hip has been dislocated for some time, the muscles will tighten up over the passage of time. The doctor will be unable to put the hip into the socket because the muscles have shortened over time. Traction will gently stretch the muscles so that the doctor will be able to put the femur bone back into the hip socket. Without traction, it is possible to have the muscles pull the femur right out of the socket even if the child is in a body cast. In traction the legs are attached to weights that go over a frame that is attached to the end of the bed. The weights hang on ropes with the opposite end attached to the child's legs by sticky tape and ace bandages. It is not painful, but it is uncomfortable. The child has to remain hooked up 24 hours a day with short breaks. The time in traction varies from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.
The left picture illustrates traction at home and the right picture illustrates traction in the hospital.
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