Clinical Topics — Burn Lesions

Burn lesions may be indicative of the traditional medical practice of therapeutic burning.1-4 Burning is used most commonly to treat kurtimat (joint pain) wugat (localized pain) and ferentit (bubos). Circular or linear burn patterns appear most frequently on the chest and back and are made with red-hot iron, charcoal, or a burning stick.1 In a similar process known as tataleh, heated bicycle spokes are flicked against the affected area.1


1.) Hodes RM. Cross-cultural medicine and diverse health beliefs — Ethiopians abroad. West J Med 1997; 166:29-36.
2.) Messing SD, Prince J. Health practices in Ethiopian pre-urban communities. In Messing SD (Ed): The Target of Health in Ethiopia. MSS Information Corp., 1972, 217-227.
3.) Pankhurst R. An historical examination of traditional Ethiopian medicine. Ethiop Med J. 1965; 3:157-172.
4.) Feldman, KW. Pseudoabusive burns in a Somali child. Child Abuse and Neglect. 1995;19:657-658.