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Part 62

Wherefore, then, some of these congenital displacements, if to a small extent, may be reduced to their natural condition, and especially those at the ankle-joint. Most cases of congenital club-foot are remediable, unless the declination be very great, [p. 261]or when the affection occurs at an advanced period of youth. The best plan, then, is to treat such cases at as early a period as possible, before the deficiency of the bones of the foot is very great, and before there is any great wasting of the flesh of the leg. There is more than one variety of club-foot, the most of them being not complete dislocations, but impairments connected with the habitual maintenance of the limb in a certain position. In conducting the treatment, attention must be paid to the following points: to push back and rectify the bone of the leg at the ankle from without inward, and to make counter-pressure on the bone of the heel in an outward direction, so as to bring it bring it into line, in order that the displaced bones may meet at the middle and side of the foot; and the mass of the toes, with the great toe, are to be inclined inward, and retained so; and the parts are to be secured, with cerate containing a full proportion of resin, with compresses, and soft bandages insufficient quantity, but not applied too tight; and the turns of the bandages should be in the same direction as the rectifying of the foot with the hand, so that the foot may appear to incline a little outward. And a sole made of leather not very hard, or of lead, is to be bound on, and it is not to be applied to the skin but when you are about to make the last turns of the bandages. And when it is all bandaged, you must attach the end of one of the bandages that are used to the bandages applied to the inferior part of the foot on the line of the little toe; and then this bandage is to be rolled upward in what is considered to be a sufficient degree, to above the calf of the leg, so that it may remain firm when thus arranged. In a word, as if moulding a wax model, you must bring to their natural position the parts which were abnormally displaced and contracted together, so rectifying them with your hands, and with the bandaging in like manner, as to bring them into their position, not by force, but gently; and the bandages are to be stitched so as to suit the position in which the limb is to be placed, for different modes of the deformity require different positions. And a small shoe made of lead is to be bound on externally to the bandaging, having the same shape as the Chian slippers had. But there is no necessity for it if the parts be properly adjusted [p. 262]with the hands, properly secured with the bandages, and properly disposed of afterward. This, then, is the mode of cure, and it neither requires cutting, burning, nor any other complex means, for such cases yield sooner to treatment than one would believe. However, they are to be fairly mastered only by time, and not until the body has grown up in the natural shape; when recourse is had to a shoe, the most suitable are the buskins, which derive their name from being used in traveling through mud; for this sort of shoe does not yield to the foot, but the foot yields to it. A shoe shaped like the Cretan is also suitable.

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