Foot, that part of the body on which animals stand and walk. The principal cause of the lameness and distortion observable among many children, especially of the poorer class, is owing to an improper management of them, during their infancy. Instead of being carried on the nurses' arms, in a posture which contracts and palsies the lower extremities, they ought to be supported in such a direction that the legs and feet may be at liberty. Nor should they be confined too early in narrow shoes, with a view to render their fee small and taper : those necessary parts of our dress ought to be wide enough to allow sufficient room for motion, and might be fastened with strings, which are preferable to buckles. It will also be proper to adapt the shoes to the form of each foot, by means of separate lasts; in the same manner as those of the fashionable classes are made at present. A kind of half-boots, however, such as may be laced above the ancles, are superior to shoes, as they not only have the advantage of fitting the leg, but are likewise not easily trodden down at the heels; besides, children are enabled to walk more firmly in them than in shoes.
With respect to the feet of adults, we would recommend always to adapt the shoe to their size and shape, and utterly to disregard the prevalence of an absurd fashion, which is often attended with inconvenience. Hence arise those painful excrescences, corns, con-cerning the cure of which we have already treated. To the same cause must be ascribed the growing of the nails into the flesh, which is attended with excruciating pains.
Bathing the feet and legs, over the knees, in warm water, is of great service, especially after returning from a long journey. When employed as an assistant to medicine, in certain diseases, it is of considerable advantage : and, if it be of a proper temperature, not exceeding 9°, it may be considered as a safe cordial, by which the circulation of the fluids can be excited, or a gentle and salutary fever induced. Bathing of the feet, therefore, is incomparably safer than the generality of cordials and sudorifics, as its effects may be suspended at pleasure.
Blistered feet, or vesicles containing water, may be prevented in the hot days of summer, by anointing the soles of the feet with venison tallow, and wearing worsted socks. We know an instance of a man, who at the age of eighty years travelled on foot, in warm weather, from the vicinity of Durham to the west of Scotld, a distance of 200 miles, in five days, without experiencing any inconvenience : on inquiry, he declared that he made use of no other expedient than that of rubbing the feet of clean woollen stockings, every evening, with spirit or oil of turpentine ; suffering the moisture to evaporate during the night; and wearing them on the following day. We believe, however, that vitriolic oether, though more expensive, would be better adapted to the purpose. But, when the feet are once blistered, it is advisable to open the vesicles without delay, by the point of a lancet, or needle ; to express the water; and rub the parts with the fat of venison, or mutton-suet taken from the kidneys.
Those parents whose children are afflicted with club-feet, or other deformities of the lower parts, we would recommend to peruse Mr. Sheldrake's "Practical Essay on the Club-foot" etc. (8vo. pp. 214. 7s. Murray and Co. 1798) ; where they will find much information perspicuously arranged, and illustrated by engravings. - See CHIL-blain and Shoe.