A traction splint most commonly refers to a splinting device that uses straps attaching over the pelvis or hip as an anchor, a metal rod(s) to mimic normal bone stability and limb length, and a mechanical device to apply traction (used in an attempt to reduce pain, realign the limb, and minimize vascular and neurological complication) to the limb.
For any injury, the first thing you must do is figure out is how quickly you need help and whether you can reach it yourself. Ideally, you’ll be able to call for aid on your mobile or satellite phone, radio, or GPS tracker if it has a built-in emergency signal. But it can be difficult to gauge how seriously someone has been hurt. Injuries to the head, neck, chest, abdomen, and pelvis are especially tricky. Fortunately, arm and leg injuries tend to be more straightforward. There are a few signs that a bone is broken, or fractured. The most obvious one is if your bone is sticking through the skin. But there are closed fractures as well—when the bone breaks but does not pierce the skin.
If you heard a crack, or can hear or feel grating when the injured area is touched or moved, the bone might be broken. Another sign is that the limb hurts too much for the person to use, or can move at a point where there is no joint.
The injured person may be suffering from shock if they are feeling faint or taking only short, rapid breaths. In this case, try to lay the person down without affecting the injured body part. If possible, you should elevate their legs and position their head slightly below heart level.
Once the splint is on, you’re not done. While you wait for help, check for nerve and blood vessel problems every hour or so. Keep an eye on the splint to make sure the swelling inside hasn’t cut off circulation in the limb.
Long leg splinting is used to stabilize injuries by decreasing movement and providing support, thus preventing further damage. Splinting also alleviates extremity pain, edema, and further soft-tissue injury and promotes wound and bone healing. Splints can be used for immobilization of an extremity before surgery or as a temporizing measure before orthopedic consultation.
Once the splint is applied, you should check the areas around it every few minutes for signs of decreased blood circulation. If the extremities begin to appear pale, swollen, or tinged with blue, loosen the ties that are holding the splint.