Traumatic Neuritis.—This consists in an overgrowth of the connective-tissue framework of a nerve, which causes irritation and pressure upon the nerve fibres, sometimes resulting in their degeneration. It may originate in connection with a wound in the vicinity of a nerve, as, for example, when the brachial nerves are involved in scar tissue subsequent to an operation for clearing out the axilla for cancer; or in contusion and compression of a nerve—for example, by the pressure of the head of the humerus in a dislocation of the shoulder. Some weeks or months after the injury, the patient complains of increasing hyperęsthesia and of neuralgic pains in the course of the nerve. The nerve is very sensitive to pressure, and, if superficial, may be felt to be swollen. The associated muscles are wasted and weak, and are subject to twitchings. There are also trophic disturbances. It is rare to have complete sensory and motor paralysis. The disease is commonest in the nerves of the upper extremity, and the hand may become crippled and useless.

Treatment.—Any constitutional condition which predisposes to neuritis, such as gout, diabetes, or syphilis, must receive appropriate treatment. The symptoms may be relieved by rest and by soothing applications, such as belladonna, ichthyol, or menthol, by the use of hot-air and electric baths, and in obstinate cases by blistering or by the application of Corrigan's button. When such treatment fails the nerve may be stretched, or, in the case of a purely sensory trunk, a portion may be excised. Local causes, such as involvement of the nerve in a scar or in adhesions, may afford indications for operative treatment.

Multiple Peripheral Neuritis.—Although this disease mainly comes under the cognizance of the physician, it may be attended with phenomena which call for surgical interference. In this country it is commonly due to alcoholism, but it may result from diabetes or from chronic poisoning with lead or arsenic, or from bacterial infections and intoxications such as occur in diphtheria, gonorrhœa, syphilis, leprosy, typhoid, influenza, beri-beri, and many other diseases.

It is, as a rule, widely distributed throughout the peripheral nerves, but the distribution frequently varies with the cause—the alcoholic form, for example, mainly affecting the legs, the diphtheritic form the soft palate and pharynx, and that associated with lead poisoning the forearms. The essential lesion is a degeneration of the conducting fibres of the affected nerves, and the prominent symptoms are the result of this. In alcoholic neuritis there is great tenderness of the muscles. When the legs are affected the patient may be unable to walk, and the toes may droop and the heel be drawn up, resulting in one variety of pes equino-varus. Pressure sores and perforating ulcer of the foot are the most important trophic phenomena.

Apart from the medical treatment, measures must be taken to prevent deformity, especially when the legs are affected. The bedclothes are supported by a cage, and the foot maintained at right angles to the leg by sand-bags or splints. When the disease is subsiding, the nutrition of the damaged nerves and muscles should be maintained by massage, baths, passive movements, and the use of the galvanic current. When deformity has been allowed to take place, operative measures may be required for its correction.