Long Axis Traction, Manual Therapy and HipTrac

How Does Long Axis Traction Help?

Long axis traction is one of the key manual therapies that physical therapists use to relieve the pain and improve mobility of patients with hip osteoarthritis. Long axis traction has been in use for more than 100 years, and multiple studies over the last twenty years have documented its efficacy. They also suggest that higher traction forces up to 800N are superior for improvements in pain and mobility. However, those higher traction forces can be difficult to maintain and exhausting for the therapist. They can be effectively delivered through HipTrac, which uses a pneumatic cylinder and hand pump that can easily and comfortably provide over 100 PSI to get above 800N of force when needed.

In this excerpt from his workshop at OPTA 2016, Dr. Tony Rocklin, a leading advocate for the expanded use of conservative treatment for patients with hip osteoarthritis, discusses long axis traction and the part it plays in conservative treatment in the clinic – and can play at home following the patient’s discharge. Whether patients are preparing for, waiting for, or not candidates for hip replacement surgery, Dr. Rocklin believes they can benefit from long axis traction and other manual therapies that can relieve the pain and improve joint mobility. Doing so enables them to move more and – depending on their specific condition – even begin exercising again. It won’t cure osteoarthritis – but it enables patients to move, exercise and maintain a better quality of life, and avoid narcotics and anti-inflammatories. As Dr. Rocklin notes in the video, it’s a win-win – for patients preparing for or waiting for surgery, this “prehabilitation” leaves them in better shape going into surgery and for the rehabilitation post-surgery. For patients who cannot or will not have the surgery, this approach enables them to return to activities and exercise and gives them a better quality of life.

The result? Better patient outcomes and less cost to our healthcare system. Watch the video below. You can see other excerpts from Tony’s presentation here.