Commentary: A few comments have been posted about
text-only version is available for download.
Written 400 B.C.E
Translated by Francis Adams
The treatment of the sores is the same in those cases of fracture in which
there was no wound of the skin at first, but one has formed in the course
of treatment, owing to the pressure of the splints occasioned by the bandages,
or from any other cause. In such cases it is ascertained that there is
an ulcer, by the pain and the throbbing; and the swelling in the extremities
becomes harder than usual, and if you apply your finger the redness disappears,
but speedily returns. If you suspect anything of the kind you must loose
the dressing, if there be any itching below the under-bandages, or in any
other part that is bandaged, and used a pitched cerate instead of the other.
If there be nothing of that, but if the ulcer be found in an irritable
state, being very black and foul, and the fleshy parts about to suppurate,
and the tendons to slough away, in these cases no part is to be exposed
to the air, nor is anything to be apprehended from these suppurations,
but the treatment is to be conducted in the same manner as in those cases
in which there was an external wound at first. You must begin to apply
the bandages loosely at the swelling in the extremities, and then gradually
proceed upward with the bandaging, so that it may be tight at no place,
but particularly firm at the sore, and less so elsewhere. The first bandages
should be clean and not narrow, and the number of bandages should be as
great as in those cases in which the splints were used, or somewhat fewer.
To the sore itself a compress, anointed with white cerate, will be sufficient,
for if a piece of flesh or nerve (tendon?) become black, it will fall off;
for such sores are not to be treated with acrid, but with emollient applications,
like burns. The bandages are to be renewed every third day, and no splints
are to be applied, but rest is to be more rigidly maintained than in the
former cases, along with a restricted diet. It should be known, that if
any piece of flesh or tendon be to come away, the mischief will spread
much less, and the parts will much more speedily drop off, and the swelling
in the surrounding parts will much more completely subside, under this
treatment, than if any of the cleansing applications be put upon the sore.
And if any part that is to come away shall fall off, the part will incarnate
sooner when thus treated than otherwise, and will more speedily cicatrize.
Such are the good effects of knowing how a bandage can be well and moderately
applied. But a proper position, the other parts of the regimen, and suitable