Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/340

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erage, and a greater space for the arch to fall when once it gives way. In the majority of cases the mischief would stop when the arch reached the level of the natural heel, but the heels of boots favor a still greater fall, which ends in e version of the foot. It is difficult to understand how women submit to the discomfort of wearing high-heeled boots, or can be so cruel as to let their daughters wear them. It is true they give a fictitious height to the body, and disguise the slighter forms of flat-foot, but on the other hand they exaggerate the severer forms, and the boots are entirely wanting in proportion. Zeising's law of proportion requires that the sole and the heel should have the relative length of three to two, like that of the normal foot.

In treating the deformities of the spine and legs incident to healthy girls, it is obvious that attention must be directed, in the first instance, to correcting the deformed knees and feet. The very first signs of the giving way of the arch of the foot, which is easily detected by examination, by growing pains, and especially a change of gait, should be met by the wearing of flat-soled, well-fitting boots, with India-rubber or felt pads inside to support the arch, and special exercises favorable to the development of the deep flexor muscles. At puberty, and for two or three years before, the growth is very vigorous, and in both stature and bulk girls shoot ahead of boys of the same age, the period of rapid growth of boys coming later. From ten to fourteen years the stature of girls increases at a uniform rate of two inches per year, except at thirteen, when it is two inches and a half; but the weight increases at a much greater rate. At ten years girls add four pounds, at eleven six pounds, at twelve ten pounds, at thirteen twelve pounds, and at fourteen and fifteen eight pounds to their weight, and this sudden addition to the weight tells rapidly on ankles, feet, and knees, placed at a disadvantage by concurrent change in the position of the lower limbs by the evolution of the pelvis and the cramping of the muscles by tight boots. The arch of the foot often breaks down in the course of a few weeks, without warning or apparent cause, and in girls in perfect health, and especially those of an indolent habit. Fortunately, the remedy is as easy and complete, if applied promptly at the beginning and adhered to persistently, as it is difficult and unsatisfactory if put off till the deformity is firmly established. Support to the arch of the foot prevents the formation of knock-knee and lateral curvature of the spine. When it fails to do so, the knock-knee can be corrected by the temporary application of long splints, especially in bed at nights; but no apparatus is necessary for the curvature of the spine in its earlier stages, as it will disappear on restoring the lateral balance of the body, and all treatment will be useless until this is done. Much walking or standing should be avoided, and short but vigorous gymnastic exercises substituted, and when possible the recumbent position assumed. Sitting on the ground or on a sofa, in the cross legged, Oriental position, serves to expand the pelvis, evert the knees