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HomeArticlesThe Setup and Care of a Patient in Buck Traction

The Setup and Care of a Patient in Buck Traction


In the realm of orthopedic care, the proper setup and meticulous care of a patient in Buck traction play a pivotal role in ensuring optimal outcomes. This article delves into the nuances of this medical intervention, providing a comprehensive guide for healthcare professionals and caregivers alike.

Understanding Buck Traction

Buck traction is a therapeutic technique to manage fractures, hip dislocations, and certain lower extremity conditions. It involves the application of longitudinal force to the lower limb, typically achieved through the use of weights and pulleys. This method aids in the reduction of fractures and provides stabilization, contributing to the overall healing process.

Setting Up Buck Traction

Choosing the Right Equipment

Selecting the appropriate equipment is paramount to the success of Buck traction. Start with Buck’s extension traction setup, consisting of a padded boot, adhesive traction strips, and a system of pulleys and weights. Ensure that all components meet the highest standards of safety and functionality.

Positioning the Patient

Proper positioning of the patient is crucial. Begin by placing them in a supine position on a well-padded bed. Affix the adhesive traction strips to the skin, just above the knee joint, ensuring a secure and comfortable attachment. Subsequently, attach the pulley system to the foot of the bed.

Applying the Traction

With meticulous care, attach the traction boot to the patient’s affected limb, taking care to maintain proper alignment. Gradually add weights to the pulley system, allowing for controlled traction. Regular monitoring is essential to ensure the prescribed amount of force is consistently applied.

Care and Monitoring

Regular Assessment

Continuous assessment of the patient’s neurovascular status is imperative during Buck traction. Regularly evaluate the affected limb’s color, warmth, and sensation, noting any signs of compromised circulation. Swift action must be taken if any abnormalities are detected.

Skin Care

Given the prolonged nature of Buck traction, meticulous skin care is essential. Inspect the skin beneath the adhesive traction strips regularly, addressing any signs of redness or irritation promptly. Employing a rotation schedule for weight-bearing limbs can also mitigate the risk of pressure ulcers.

Potential Complications and Precautions

Neurovascular Complications

While Buck traction is generally well-tolerated, vigilance is required to identify potential neurovascular complications. Persistent pain, numbness, or tingling may indicate nerve compression, necessitating immediate intervention to prevent long-term damage.

Pin Site Infections

In cases where skeletal traction involves the insertion of pins into bone, the risk of infection exists. Adhering to strict aseptic techniques during pin insertion and providing diligent wound care can significantly reduce the likelihood of such complications.


The meticulous setup and care of a patient in Buck traction are integral to successful orthopedic management. By adhering to stringent protocols and maintaining a vigilant approach to monitoring, healthcare professionals can ensure optimal outcomes for patients undergoing this therapeutic intervention.


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