Lameness, a weakness that may arise from various causes, in any part of the body.
Where this defect originates from natural deformity, it is generally incurable: few instances, however occur in which lameness is hereditary ; though it may also be induced by causes that are difficult to be discovered. If it be occasioned by external accidents, sucli as luxation of the thigh at the birth, fractures, etc. it can be cured only by a skilful reduction of the dislocated limbs, though it will always be attended with hailing.
Frequently, however, the leg, in consequence of the rigidity of the muscles destined to put it in motion, contracts to such a degree that it cannot be moved without limping. In this case, it will be advisable to apply emollient fomentations ; to immerse the part affected in mollifying baths ; or, for very robust individuals, to expose it frequently to the action of a pump from mineral springs, and to wear a shoe furnished with a leaden sole, the weight of which should be proportioned to the contraction of the limb.
Much lameness, as well as deformity, might certainly be prevented, if a stricter attention were paid to the early treatment of children. These are often afflicted with a weakness of the hips, ae-companied with a lameness of both sides of the body ; which is wholly occasioned by inducing them to walk without any assistance, before they have attained sufficient strength to support themselves. Such debility may, in some measure, be counteracted by tying a girdle round the waist, that should extend to the whole circumference of the belly; and which, if well braced at the hips, will invigorate the loins, while it gradually enables children to walk. It will also be advisable to bathe such weak. limbs in astringent decoctions, frequently in the course of the day, for several months.—See Rickets ; and also vol. ii. p. 218.
Beside these common causes of lameness, there are various other circumstances which our limits will not permit us to discuss, as they relate peculiarly to surgery. A practical work on this subject is much wanted ; and we conceive it would be of essential service to society, if a popular treatise were properly executed, in which the manifold causes or lameness might be discriminated, and the most appropriate remedies judiciously stated, according to the different stages of the affection.