| [p. 198]ankles, and the other below the knee. Sideways it should have
below two appendages, either of a single or double thong, and short,
like loops, the one set being placed on either side of the ankle,
and the other on the knee. And the other upper ball should have others
of the same kind in the same line. Then taking four rods, made of
the cornel tree, of equal length, and of the thickness of a finger,
and of such length that when bent they will admit of being adjusted
to the appendages, care should be taken that the extremities of the
rods bear not upon the skin, but on the extremities of the balls.
There should be three sets of rods, or more, one set a little longer
than another, and another a little shorter and smaller, so that they
may produce greater or less distention, if required. Either of these
sets of rods should be placed on this side and that of the ankles.
If these things be properly contrived, they should occasion a proper
and equable extension in a straight line, without giving any pain
to the wound; for the pressure, if there is any, should be thrown
at the foot and the thigh. And the rods are commodiously arranged
on either side of the ankles, so as not to interfere with the position
of the limb; and the wound is easily examined and easily arranged.
And, if thought proper, there is nothing to prevent the two upper
rods from being fastened to one another; and if any light covering
be thrown over the limb, it will thus be kept off from the wound.
If, then, the balls be well made, handsome, soft, and newly stitched,
and if the extension by the rods be properly managed, as has been
already described, this is an excellent contrivance; but if any of
them do not fit properly, it does more harm than good. And all other
mechanical contrivances should either be properly done, or not be
had recourse to at all, for it is a disgraceful and awkward thing
to use mechanical means in an unmechanical way.
Moreover, the greater part of physicians treat fractures, both with
and without an external wound, during the first days, by means of
unwashed wool, and there does not appear to be anything improper in
this. It is very excusable for those who are called upon to treat
newly-received accidents of this kind, and who have no cloth for bandages
at hand, to do them up