The picquet was a method of torture
Torture is the act of inflicting severe pain as a means of punishment, revenge, forcing information or a confession, or simply as an act of cruelty. Throughout history, torture has often been used as a method of political re-education, interrogation, punishment, and coercion...

 used as military punishment in vogue in late medieval Europe.

The punishment of the picquet required placing a stake
Stake may refer to:* @stake, a computer services company* Equity stake, a share or interest in a business or investment* "Stake", a tent peg* Stake -Military:* Sudis , a fortification carried by Roman legionaries...

in the ground with the exposed end facing upward. The exposed end had a rounded point. The malefactor was typically a junior officer who had disobeyed orders. One thumb was suspended from a tree, while the sole or heel of the opposite bare foot was balanced atop the stake. The point of the stake was sharp enough to cause considerable discomfort, but not sharp enough to draw blood. To relieve pressure upon the tortured foot, the prisoner relegated all his weight to the thumb, all but tearing the thumb from its socket, which could only be relieved by shifting weight back onto the tortured foot.

The procedure could be continued for a few hours, to as much as a day or two. The punishment did not cause lasting harm.
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