Performing hip traction is a manual therapy technique utilized to help decrease pain, improve range of motion, and enhance overall functional mobility.
Manual therapy, including traction muscle stretching, has shown to be beneficial to decrease pain, function, ad well-being for those diagnosed with hip osteoarthritis.1 Manual therapy should include thrust, nonthrust techniques, and soft tissue mobilization.1 As there is noted improvement, exercises should be integrated to sustain gains in the patient’s range of motion, flexibility, and strength.1
How to perform long axis hip distraction
Long axis hip distraction is typically performed with the patient laying on their back, and the clinician will gently pull on the patient’s leg, usually placed with the lower extremity in slight flexion and abduction, while using proper body mechanics and forces. This technique is shown below:2
Self-mobilization using an exercise band or strap
This self-mobilization can be performed by the patient for their own self-management program. An individual can choose to use a belt, or heavy resistance band to achieve the desired therapeutic effect.3
The self-mobilization can be performed with the patient pulling on the belt or band. The self-mobilization can also be performed more passively with the leg placed in the belt or band attached to an anchor. An example is below using a cable column:4
HipTrac Long Axis Hip Traction
Some patients may require a different approach for achieving the desired therapeutic effect for this self-mobilization.
The HipTrac used for hip osteoarthritis, FAI/labral pathology, joint stiffness, pain, or muscle tightness. This can be used in a patients’ home without assistance of a second person. Can be used in a clinic to prepare the patient for joint and soft mobilization. The HipTrac can reduce pain and increase mobility to improve exercise compliance and performance.
As you can see, there many variations an individual can choose from to perform this self-mobilization. The way the self-mobilization is performed is highly individualized to the person. Make sure to find the best way this can work for you.
Individuals should consult with their healthcare provider before participating in any exercise or activity.
For more information about Gait Belts, click here.
For more information about Intensity Loops, click here.
Article Written By Eric Trauber, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, FAAOMPT
- Cibulka MT, Bloom NJ, Enseki KR, Macdonald CW, Woehrle J, and Mcdonough CM. Hip pain and mobility deficitis – hip osteoarthritis: revision 2017. Clinical practice guidelines linked to the international classification of functioning, disability, and health from the orthopedic section of the American of Physical Therapy Association. Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, 2017, 47(6): A1-A37. doi:10.2519/jospt.2017.0301.
- MacDonald CW, Whitman JM, Cleland JA, Smith M, and Hoeksma HL. Clinical outcomes following manual physical therapy and exercise for hip osteoarthritis: a case series. Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy. 2006; 36(8): 588-573.
- Nicolai E. Self-mobilizations of the hip with belting techniques. AAOMPT Conference Louisville 2015. Ola Grimsby Institute.
- Reiman MP, and Matheson JW. Restricted hip mobility: clinical suggestions for self-mobilizations and muscle re-education. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, October 2013, 8(5): 729-740.