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Sapphire135
06-10-2014, 12:45 AM
My current WIP is a Regency Romance. My hero was injured in a battle in 1811. He walks with a cane. Without the cane he cannot go very far.

My story begins in 1814. About 2.5 years after his injury. When he came home from the war, he sort of lost his will to do much of anything - let alone try to get better. But now he has some incentive.

I don't imagine a full recovery, but I am thinking that maybe with exercise and building up the muscles or something like that, he could eventual end up with just a limp instead of a cane?

Problem is, I cannot imagine what type of leg injury would allow for this type of belated recovery. Does anyone have any ideas?

I don't know if it could be a broken leg that didn't heal right, a crushed leg, torn ligaments or muscles that never properly healed. Whatever it is, I just need it to be possible that once he comes out of his massive depression and starts to be active that he sees some improvement.

Thanks for any advice!

Marlys
06-10-2014, 01:47 AM
I would probably break his femur--or better yet, shatter it with a musket ball. It's a big, heavy bone and would probably be kept immobile while it heals (look up how they did it back then: traction, metal screws, splint, cast, or some combination). They take months to heal, and his leg muscles would atrophy if the hero was keeping weight off it.

So the leg would need to be worked to get strong again afterwards--and if your hero is depressed, he's probably unwilling to put the work into rehab. So that leg would be weak until he finally got around to trying to strengthen it. And yeah, he might still always walk with a limp.

Sapphire135
06-10-2014, 01:55 AM
I would probably break his femur--or better yet, shatter it with a musket ball. It's a big, heavy bone and would probably be kept immobile while it heals (look up how they did it back then: traction, metal screws, splint, cast, or some combination). They take months to heal, and his leg muscles would atrophy if the hero was keeping weight off it.

So the leg would need to be worked to get strong again afterwards--and if your hero is depressed, he's probably unwilling to put the work into rehab. So that leg would be weak until he finally got around to trying to strengthen it. And yeah, he might still always walk with a limp.

Thanks! I was hoping it could be something attributed to atrophy, but I didn't know if it was feasible. Maybe he crushed it when his horse fell on him? He was on the battle field for at least 24 hours unconscious before he is found. I don't know if that makes a difference.

Thanks again :)

Marlys
06-10-2014, 02:11 AM
Sounds feasible to me. I just Googled, and this (http://femurfractureguide.com/femurfracturehorsefall.php)was one of the first links that came up. This person broke their femur falling from a horse, spent 3 months in a wheelchair and most of the rest of the year on crutches, and says they still walk with a slight limp--and that's with today's modern care and no complications.

EDIT: And this gives info (http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/injuries_and_poisoning/fractures/overview_of_fractures.html) on atrophy after fracture, which apparently can be quite severe.

benbenberi
06-10-2014, 03:09 AM
If your guy's femur was shattered in 1811, odds are the surgeon would have amputated it right away. Even today a shattered femur is a major injury. In 1811 it was very likely to be fatal (from blood loss or infection), whereas skilled surgeons had a good recovery rate with amputations. I would recommend something a bit less drastic. Any wound that seriously compromises the leg (it doesn't have to be a fracture!) could lead to functional impairment if he doesn't use it/exercise it... and the longer he doesn't use it, the less use it is.

ULTRAGOTHA
06-10-2014, 03:21 AM
Ditto benbenberi. Really severe injuries of the limbs were far more likely to be amputated than treated otherwise, especially after 24 hours out on the battlefield. (This was true even during the US Civil war 50 years later.) Also, if he was unconscious for 24 hours he was very, very badly injured and with medicine as it was during the Napoleonic wars, his recovery is a true miracle. It would be a remarkable recovery even today.

Sapphire135
06-10-2014, 03:57 AM
Thanks everyone.

I have read that there were two camps of surgeons re: amputations. One who believed you had to let the injury wait a little bit before you amputated and one who believed you had to amputate right away.

I wondered if he was unconscious on the battlefield for 24 hours and, with all the chaos of the massive death and injury toll during the battle, maybe the surgeon might have decided not to amputate if he were of the school of thought that believed in doing it immediately?

Or, alternately, what if he had a fever or something that made them think he was definitely going to die and so they did not waste time amputating his leg, but then he recovered later?

I was planning on saying something generic as in 'his leg was crushed' so that I don't need to get too technical with the injury. But I don't want to say anything that is completely unfeasible either.

He is walking with a cane now and, after 2.5 years of doing practically nothing, he has started to walk a lot. He is noticing that his leg hurts less a little less and his gait is a little more even after the first few weeks of walking. I thought, with continued exercise, it could get stronger and then he could stop using his cane. That is sort of the goal...

I wonder if torn muscles or ligaments would work for the type of recovery I am imagining?

melindamusil
06-10-2014, 05:13 AM
I wondered if he was unconscious on the battlefield for 24 hours and, with all the chaos of the massive death and injury toll during the battle, maybe the surgeon might have decided not to amputate if he were of the school of thought that believed in doing it immediately?

Or, alternately, what if he had a fever or something that made them think he was definitely going to die and so they did not waste time amputating his leg, but then he recovered later?

I was planning on saying something generic as in 'his leg was crushed' so that I don't need to get too technical with the injury. But I don't want to say anything that is completely unfeasible either.


Or there were so many soldiers with injuries and so few doctors that they just didn't get around to helping him until they'd helped the people who were even sicker. Either way, I think any of these explanations are okay.

ohyoudoll
04-11-2015, 08:03 PM
Sorry to resurrect this thread... just wanted to add that you should beware of the "mythical disability healing" cliche that angers a lot of discerning readers. From your description, it doesn't sound like the hero will make a "full" (and therefore unrealistic) recovery... but even so, be careful about his recovery coinciding with increased love/attraction from the heroine.