Featured Technique: Lower Extremity Distraction
This video shows the end of the process of setting a patient up for knee or hip distraction. Notice that he’s wearing a CompletePT flotation belt, the most buoyant of all the belts. If you look at the patient’s ankles, you’ll see that he has 5-lb. ankle weights on each leg. The video in the course will show the entire process, but for now, you can imagine putting the belt and the ankle weights onto your patients and see the final details that make this technique really effective.
When I describe this technique to orthopedic surgeons, I call it “Floating Traction.” They tell me that FAI patients LOVE the feeling of traction on their hip. So when I talk about hip joint distraction in deep water, they always get a surprised but dreamy look on their faces, saying something like, “That sounds heavenly!” Yes, it is. Just ask our patients. At the end of their pool sessions, we let patients “hang” in the deep end of the pool for 10-15 minutes in the position shown in the photo below. Some of them find this technique so comfortable and soothing that they actually fall asleep.
The most important thing is to get the person well balanced. You don’t want them leaning forward or backward, so adjust the noodles appropriately before starting the clock on their distraction time. Tell them to relax as much as they can, especially their quadriceps muscles. That way the weights can provide as much traction on the hip joint as possible.