An investigation into the application and maintenance of Hamilton Russell traction on three orthopaedic wards


Janet Draper, Institute Nursing Studies, The University of Hull, Hull HU6 7RX, England


This study is concerned with the application and maintenance of Hamilton Russell traction, a form of vectored skin traction It may be used in the treatment of fractures of the femur for the purposes of immobilization and for pain relief prior to surgery A preliminary questionnaire demonstrated a poor level of knowledge in nurses working in an orthopaedic area It was therefore speculated that application and maintenance of the traction would be inaccurate The angles making up the resultant traction force were measured in 11 systems The theoretical traction force was established using mathematics The actual force was measured using a goniometer A comparison was then made The results in all 11 systems demonstrated a highly statistically significant difference between the theoretical and actual positions of the traction force (P > 0 0005) The practical implications of this are discussed and recommendations for a protocol of application and maintenance suggested Areas for further research are identified