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and off for months, or even years, before any inconvenience is experienced, but, progressively, the cuticle increases, and is either detached from the dermis by serum being poured out between them, similar to a common blister, and a new covering produced, or the epidermis thickens into layers adhering to each other.”
Chiropodists have been in the habit of classifying corns into
1. Hard corns.
And these classes have been subdivided into many varieties, but it is enough, in a treatise on the feet and their covering, to allude to the cause of torment generally, as a hard substance and a soft one, pressing into the foot, as the Roman name emphatically describes it, “clavus dura”-a small tack.
The approach of a corn, as all who ever felt it know, commences with a slight inflammatory smart on the prominent part of the little toe; then comes on the excessive burning, the throbbing, the stabbing: “a little longer, yet a little longer;" and then the point of the tack begins to enter, the outer skin is penetrated, the next membrane becomes inflamed, and, from the delicate “network" of the rete mucosum, an increased quantity of secretion is poured out: gradually a substance is formed, hard, horny, and with a sharp point, that descends deeper and deeper into the foot, until not unfrequently it reaches and enters the blood-vessels and very joints themselves.
All attempts at cure must be directed to the point of the corn. It has been usual to salve and plaster and cut the head of this tack, generally with little or no success -call it a thorn in the foot, “spina pedum,” a name given to it by some practitioners; and how absurd this palliative treatment appears - every one knows that the thorn must immediately be extracted, and if we delay, great pain is the consequence, and soon nature expels it herself.
Some balsams and tinctures have been much spoken of by the older writers on the different excrescences, but modern practice has very judiciously excluded them, from their insufficiency to produce any good effect. The radical cure is more dependent upon surgical than medical means.
Although I have devoted,” says Mr. Durlacher, “nearly thirty years practical experience to the investigation, and have tried various chymical and other remedial agents, yet I have never been able to discover any certain cure for corns. Neverthe
less, men are found bold enough in their ignorance and presumption, to assert, by public advertisement, that they possess an infallible nostrum, capable of thoroughly eradicating corns; and others who pretend to extract them, seek to aid their trickery and charlatanry by exhibiting small spiculæ as the roots of the corns they have extracted, although it is a positive fact from the structure of the skin, that such an assertion must be false, and the whole proceeding the veriest imposition imaginable."
The reader must, by this time have arrived at the conclusion, that the whole mischief is to be laid upon the covering of the feet, and not on the feet themselves. In some instances it may be admitted that the feet are peculiarly exposed to in. jury from the delicacy of the skin; some persons are constitutionally predisposed to corns, the slightest friction or pressure being sufficient to cause irritation, or, as in some cases, to develop a corn that has sometime been lying dormant. The illustrations given in former chapters of fashions, will sufficiently prove the cause of distortion of the feet; and the result of this infliction of pain for the sake of fashion, has been a plentiful harvest of corns.
Every one who has corns knows and feels that
pressure is the cause; one knows better where the shoe pinches, than he who wears it.” Yet few persons know why it hurts, or are aware how the remedy should be applied.
Sometimes a shoe is too large, often too small, very often too short, but generally the wrong shape altogether. The fault is not so much in the shoes themselves, as in the lasts from which they are made; there the cause is to be found, and there it has been my study for many years to apply the remedy.
The best materials may have been used for sole and upper leather; the most exquisite closing and stabbing been put in till the work “looked like print;" the workmanship may have been -“firstrate,” but deficient in the primary and most · essential part-the suitable form of the last on which the article was to be moulded. The boot or shoe would not be a suitable or comfortable covering for the foot, and the unfortunate wearer again finds that he has put his feet into the "shoemaker's stocks."
Every one who wishes to be comfortably fitted, should have a pair of lasts made expressly for his own use; experience has taught me, and doubtless many other masters who have had much to do with bespoke work for tender or peculiar feet,
that no plan is equal to this to secure a good fit and save inconvenience and disappointment for the future.
The length and the width are now every-day affairs, but the judgment of fitting is another thing, and here is the true skill.
A last fitted up to the length and width may do or it may not; it may do by chance, or fail of necessity; but if fitting be anything, it is a skilful adaptation of the last to the true form and requirements of the foot generally.
The outlines, 1, 2, 3, will show the direction and bearing of three different feet, neither of which would be comfortably fitted, if the length and width were the only points attended to. For No. 1, we require a straight-formed last, with an