Leg splint (1)

VOLKMANN leg splint, about 1930



Already the antique knew greaves of metal. In the Middle Ages, the leg was wrapped after repositioning of the bone [with a screw clamp] with strips of linen, were glued to the wood chips in the longitudinal axis of the leg. These chips were then lashed together with knitting to hold the bone fragments.
The sheet metal rail presented here for immobilizing a leg fracture - a somewhat disturbing collection object for a gynecologist - was named after the great surgeon Richard von VOLKMANN (1830-1889). Born in Leipzig, he became a student of John Lister (1827-1912). From 1867 he was professor of surgery in Halle and could venture thanks to the learned antisepsis to the surgery of the joints. He was a great friend of the US surgeon HALLSTEDT, after the mastectomy is named - so there is a connection with gynecology!

His lower limb metal sheet (allegedly) of stainless zinc sheet was used worldwide - during the First World War it was often made from rain gutter sheets in need (cit., Léon Binet, Le guide du médecin aux tranchées ou Petit arsenal chirurgical à l'usage the infirmier, Paris 1916)!

The model presented here belonged to the practical inventory of the 1979 deceased physician Paul HETTO from Diekirch. It consisted of two halves and could be lengthened or shortened by superimposing the two halves to fit the patient's leg.

Nota: The Belgian military doctor Antonius MATTHIJSEN (1805-1878) invented in 1851 the plaster cast, which quickly displaced all other types of permanent bandage. Not everyone found plaster a good solution. In 1890, for example, the British prosthetist George BEACOCK patented a leather bandage which, moistened and breathable by means of many perforations, was tied around the injured limb like a corset. Sure, which Englishman would have liked a treatment with "Plâtre de Paris", the historical archenemy ...