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Part 53

Some tell a story how the Amazonian women dislocate the joints of their male children while mere infants, some at the knee, and others at the hip-joint, that they may be maimed, and that the male sex may not conspire against the female, and that [p. 252]they use them as artisans to perform any sedentary work, such as that of a shoemaker or brazier. Whether these things be true or not I do not know, but this I know, that matters would be such as is represented, provided their children, while infants, were to have their joints dislocated. The consequences of dislocation inward at the hip-joint are much greater than of dislocation outward at the hip-joint, but at the knee, although there be some difference, it is less; but the mode of either impediment is peculiar, their legs are more bandied when the dislocation is outward, but those who have dislocation inward stand erect on their feet with less freedom. In like manner, when the dislocation is at the anklejoint, if outward they become vari (their toes are turned inward?), but they can stand; but if the dislocation be inward they become valgi (their toes are turned outward?), but they have less freedom of standing. The proportional growth of their bones is as follows: in those cases in which the bone of the leg is dislocated, the bones of the feet grow very little, as being very near the injury, but the bones of the leg increase in size, and with very little defect, but the fleshy parts (muscles?) are wasted. But when the ankle-joint is in its natural state, but the knee is dislocated, in these cases the bones of the leg do not grow in like manner, but become shortened, as being nearest the seat of the injury, and the bones of the feet also are atrophied, but not in the same proportion; because, as was said a little while ago, the ankle-joint is safe, and if they could use it, as in the case of club-foot, the bones of the foot would be still less atrophied. When the dislocation takes place at the hip-joint, the bone of the thigh, in this case, does not generally grow in like manner, as being the one nearest the seat of the injury, but becomes shorter than the sound one; but the growth of the bones of the leg is not arrested in like manner; nor of those of the feet, for this reason, that there is no displacement between the bones of the thigh and leg, nor between those of the leg and foot; in those cases, however, the fleshy parts of the whole limb are atrophied; but if they could make use of the limb, the growth of the bones would be still more developed, as formerly stated, only the thigh, although its flesh would be much less wasted, would [p. 253]still be by no means so fleshy as the sound limb. The following observations are a proof of this: those persons who are weasel-armed (galiancones) from birth, owing to dislocation of the humerus, or when the accident has happened to them before they have attained their full growth, such persons have the bone of the arm shortened, but those of the fore-arm and hand are little inferior in size to the sound, for the reasons which have been stated, because the humerus is the bone nearest to the joint affected, and, on that account, it is shorter than natural; but the fore-arm is not equally affected by the accident, because the joint at which the bones of the arm and forearm are articulated remains in its natural condition, and the hand is still further distant than the fore-arm from the seat of the injury. Such are the reasons why certain of the bones in this case increase in growth, and certain do not. The laborious office of the hand contributes much to the development of the flesh in the fore-arm and hand, for whatever work is done by the hand, these weasel-armed persons strive to do no less effectually with the other hand than with the sound; for the arms do not support the weight of the body like the legs, and the work performed by them is light. From exercise, then, the fleshy parts on the hand and fore-arm are not atrophied in weasel-armed persons, and by these means the arm, too, gains flesh. But in dislocation inward at the hip-joint, whether from birth or from childhood, the fleshy parts, on that account, are much more atrophied than those of the hand, because the patients cannot exercise the leg. Another proof will be given in the observations which will be presently stated, that these things are such as I things are such as I have represented.

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