Modified Bryant's Traction

Modified Bryant's Traction is used mainly to help reduce congenital hip dislocation.

When your child is lying on his back, the traction holds the legs upright and the weight on the traction gently stretches your child's leg. This loosens the ligaments, tendons, and muscles around your child's hip. After a number of weeks (determined by your doctor), your child's hip will be repositioned under general anesthesia and a hip spica cast will be applied.

How the traction is applied

  1. A small piece of soft white dressing (webril) is placed over the ankle to protect the skin from rubbing against the dressings when your child moves his foot.
  2. A liquid (tincture of benzoin) is put on the entire leg to protect the skin.
  3. A dressing (elastoplast) is wrapped around the leg.
  4. A strip of moleskin traction strap is placed against both sides of the leg (it sticks to the elastoplast).
  5. An elastic bandage (ace wrap) is wrapped around the leg to help secure all the dressings.
  6. The moleskin traction strap is connected by rope to the traction set-up and weights.

Caring for your child in traction


  • Be sure your child's body is in the right position. The buttocks should be even with the "butt" marking on the traction set-up.
  • Your child's toes and feet should be warm and pink and the toes should move when touched. Check for these signs of good circulation every four hours the first few days, every four hours after you rewrap the legs, and then whenever you feed, change, or play with your child.
  • Be sure the weights hang freely.

Every day

  • Take the ace wraps (the outer elastic bandage) off the legs. Inspect any skin you can see for redness or irritation. Rewrap the legs with the ace bandages. Start at the feet. Overlap each loop of the wrap half way. Do not stretch it tight. Stretch with mild tension only (1/3 tight).

It is OK to take your child out of traction for feedings, cuddling, etc. Simply unhook the "S" hook and rope from the metal brackets. Keep the wraps on. Your child can be out of traction often; but keep in mind, the longer your child is in traction, the better. Aim for 16 to 20 hours a day.

If you have any problems or concerns, take everything off of your child's legs and call your doctor.

Page reviewed on: May 25, 2004