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Part 15

And when both bones of the leg are broken without a wound of the skin, stronger extension is required. We may make extension by some of the methods formerly described, provided the bones ride over one another to a considerable degree. But extension by men is also sufficient, and for the most part two [p. 186]strong men will suffice, by making extension and counterextension. Extension must naturally be made straight in a line with the leg and thigh, whether on account of a fracture of the bones of the leg or of the thigh. And in both cases they are to be bandaged while in a state of extension, for the same position does not suit with the leg and the arm. For when the fractured bones of the arm or fore-arm are bandaged, the fore-arm is suspended in a sling, and if you bind them up while extended, the figures of the fleshy parts will be changed in bending the arm at the elbow, for the elbow cannot be kept long extended, since persons are not in the custom of keeping the joint long in this form, but in a bent position, and persons who have been wounded in the arm, and are still able to walk about, require to have the arm bent at the elbow-joint. But the leg, both in walking and standing, is habitually extended, either completely or nearly so, and is usually in a depending position from its construction, and in order that it may bear the weight of the rest of the body. Wherefore it readily bears to be extended when necessary, and even when in bed the limb is often in this position. And when wounded, necessity subdues the understanding, since the patients become incapable of raising themselves up, so that they neither think of bending the limb nor of getting up erect, but remain lying in the same position. For these reasons, neither the same position nor the same mode of bandaging applies to the arm and to the leg. If, then, extension by means of men be sufficient, we should not have recourse to any useless contrivances, for it is absurd to employ mechanical means when not required; but if extension by men be not sufficient, you may use any of the mechanical powers which is suitable. When sufficiently extended, it will be easy to adjust the bones and bring them into their natural position, by straightening and arranging them with the palms of the hand.

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