Lateral traction is a treatment technique in which weight or tension is used to move a body part to the side or away from its original location.
Traction can be used to treat or reduce any joint dislocation or bone fracture by applying tension to the leg or arm with weights and pulleys to realign the bone. For example, it may be used to help line up a broken bone while it heals. Traction can reduce pain related to the injury.
Traction as a treatment involves the amount of tension or force used, the length of time the tension is used, and the means used to maintain the tension.
Browner BD, Jupiter JB, Krettek C, Anderson PA. Closed fracture management. In: Browner BD, Jupiter JB, Krettek C, Anderson PA, eds. Skeletal Trauma: Basic Science, Management, and Reconstruction. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 6.
Witmer DK, Marshall ST, Browner BD. Emergency care of musculoskeletal injuries. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery: The Biological Basis of Modern Surgical Practice. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 18.
Review Date 4/21/2019
Updated by: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.