Bone Diseased

Sources: Papers On Health

Diseased bone is not incurable. Bone is indeed

constantly being replaced as it disappears in the ordinary waste of the

body. Defective vitality in any part may cause an accumulation of bad

material, which forms the basis of bone disease.

To cut off a diseased foot or ankle is easy, and soon done. To cure it,

may take a long time and much patience, but is worth a great deal. We

know large numbers of limbs that are sound and good now, that were

doomed once to be amputated, but which we were able to rescue in time.

Moreover, a very short time of well-regulated fomentation improves the

general health, and prevents the diseased material spreading from the

foot or ankle through the body.

Take, then, a case in which the ankle bone has first become painful,

perhaps without any perceptible cause, or it may be as the result of an

injury to the part. It then swells and becomes inflamed. At this stage

two or three fomentations (see) well applied may very likely cure it

entirely. But if neglected, or leeched, blistered, and the skin spoiled

with iodine, what is called disease of the bone may set in, accompanied

with discharge of matter at one or more places on the ankle. This

discharge, where it is evidently lodging in the limb, may be assisted

to escape by careful lancing by a good surgeon. For such a case,

fomentation of as much of the limb as possible is the treatment. Let a

bath be procured, in which the limb may be immersed in hot water as

deeply as possible, even up to the very thigh. Let the water at first

be comfortably warm. Increase its temperature gradually until as hot as

can be borne without pain. Keep the limb in this bath for an hour, or

for such shorter period as the patient may be able to bear it. Gently

dry, and rub all over with warm olive oil. Wipe this gently off, and

cover the limb with clothing. Then syringe any sores with weak acid

(see Acetic Acid; Wounds), and dress with bandage (see Ankle,

Twisted). Do this twice each day, and persevere.

If it cannot well be bathed, let it be fomented by a large piece of

flannel soaked with boiling water, and placed round the diseased part.

We have seen a wasting bone healed entirely in a few weeks by this

means. We have seen a man with the bones of both his legs splintering

off and coming through the skin perfectly healed in a few months. It

stands to reason that it should be so. The bathing in his case, like

the fomenting in others, were so effectually done that the bones

themselves were heated, and strong healing action set in at once. We

saw lately a piece of dead bone above four inches long come out of a

young man's arm as the result of nothing else but fomentation. The arm

was soon as whole and as useful as could be desired, though it had been

to all appearance only fit to be taken off at the elbow. The steady

supply of moist heat does wonders in this way.

We have seen some most remarkable specimens of what was erroneously

thought sufficient fomentation. One was a case of diseased thigh-bone.

A bit of old flannel, about a quarter of a yard square, had been wrung

out of water slightly tepid and laid on the skin, covered by a little

cloth scarcely equal in size. The application would not have conveyed

activity to the skin on which it was laid, though it required to convey

it to the heart of a large mass of bone. The helpless complaint of the

operator was that it did no good. How in the world could it do good?

Not less than six or seven or even eight yards of a blanket are

required. That is to be folded and rolled up so that a good quantity of

boiling water may be poured first into one end of it and then into the

other. It has to be squeezed and kneaded till the heated water and

steam are fairly soaking the inside of the blanket. When this is opened

up, it is far too hot to put to the skin, but a double flannel or

strong towel may be put on first, so that the heat shall go gradually

through to the body, and by-and-by into the bone. This may be done at

least once a day--if agreeable, it may be done twice. But it must be so

well done that the heat shall effect the bone, or you cannot look for

any result of importance.

If under the bathing the skin becomes irritated, as it will often do,

cover it with cloths soaked in weak vinegar till the bathing is over.

If the skin suffers from the fomentation, do the same thing, and if

this does not cure, dress it, before putting on the fomentation

flannels, with SOAP (see) lather as if for shaving, spread like

butter on a cloth, and made to shelter the skin from irritation till

the fomenting is done. This is of great importance in many cases; the

skin is often so sensitive that it cannot well be bathed without being


In the case of hip-joint disease, the ARMCHAIR FOMENTATION (see) is

the best form of fomenting. For other parts, common sense will guide

how to produce an extensive and thorough heating of the diseased part

and its neighbourhood by some similar means (see Bathing the Feet;

Pains, etc.). It is only heating the failed tissues, only keeping on

such heating, and all the elements of perfect cure are supplied. Even

limbs which have shrunk and become shorter, grow out to their natural

size under this patient heating.

Get "steel drops" and all such-like sent down the sewer. The rats may

have them if they are disposed. Give wheaten or oatmeal porridge, bread

or Saltcoats biscuits, with good buttermilk, and the poor creature,

half dead with poisonous "drops," begins ere long to have red on his

lips and on his cheeks, some fresh vigour in his muscles, and healthy

bone in the course of formation, where bone was only wasting before.

How is this explained? On the simple principle that the bodily system

can turn wheaten meal into all the elements wanted for good bodily

health. Beef tea, soups, "fine things" of all descriptions, never on

earth gave human beings solid strength, but in myriads of cases they

have been successfully employed to take it away. Above all, they fail

to give healthy bone.

Get the patient to take wheaten or oaten meal porridge twice a day at

least. We are not so stern as some in forbidding all else, though in

this we may fall short; but by all means let eating and drinking be

considered in the light of what we have been writing (see Food in


Good air is important in this, as in all cases of ill-health.

Much depends, in this treatment, on cheerfulness of mind. Let the

patient feel that he is going to be cured. Avoid opium, tobacco,

alcoholic drinks, and all worry. This will actually increase the vital

exchange in the body and very much help the cure.