Improvised traction splints: a wilderness medicine tool or hindrance?


OBJECTIVES To investigate whether a traction splint made from improvised materials is as efficacious as commercially available devices in terms of traction provided and perceived comfort and stability. METHODS This was a prospective randomized crossover study utilizing 10 healthy, uninjured volunteers. The subjects were randomized to be placed in 4 different traction devices, in differing order, each for 30 minutes. Three of the traction splints are commercially available: The HARE, Sager, and Faretech CT-EMS. The fourth traction device was an improvised splint made as described in Medicine for the Backcountry: A Practical Guide to Wilderness First Aid. At the end of 30 minutes the pounds of force created by each device was measured. The volunteers were also asked at that time to subjectively report the comfort and stability of the splint separately on a scale from 1 to 10. RESULTS All traction splints performed similarly with regard to the primary outcome measure of mean pounds of traction created at the end of 30 minutes of application with results ranging from 10.4 to 13.3 pounds. There was little difference reported by participants in regard to stability or comfort between the 4 traction devices. CONCLUSIONS In this small pilot study, an improvised traction splint was not inferior to commercially available devices. Further research in needed in this area.

DOI: 10.1016/j.wem.2011.12.005

Cite this paper

@article{Weichenthal2012ImprovisedTS, title={Improvised traction splints: a wilderness medicine tool or hindrance?}, author={Lori A Weichenthal and Susanne J Spano and Brian Horan and Jacob C Miss}, journal={Wilderness & environmental medicine}, year={2012}, volume={23 1}, pages={61-4} }