The nurse is assessing a patient in Thomas splint traction, a device used to immobilize a hip fracture. The nurse should assess for complications as indicated by:

Redness on the skin that does not blanch when pressed.
Weak posterior tibial pulse.


• Weak posterior tibial pulses are a sign of poor perfusion and arterial compromise. This could be caused by tissue pressure from the traction device.

• Redness that doesn't blanch with pressure is a sign of a developing pressure ulcer, a complication possible with the pressure of the bandage with a Thomas splint.

• A Thomas splint applies traction by use of bandages that overlap the length of the entire leg, applying the pressure evenly with weight at the bottom. This is an expected finding.

• Warm toes are a sign of good perfusion.

• Pain at the fracture site is an expected finding.

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