Avierra (avierra) wrote in little_details,

Broken Bones in the Italian Renaissance

The time is 1498, in Florence, Italy.

My character breaks his leg in a fall from scaffolding, say 5 or 6 feet up. He falls backwards off it, after tripping over an item that was accidentally placed behind him. I am currently undecided on what bone(s) he breaks, as I want him to have a fairly uncomplicated recovery-- just one that is tedious and long enough to keep him fairly confined and more or less immobilized.

I had thought about having him break his tibia and fibula, but my reading indicates that may be fairly problematic in terms of a decent recovery (and that in some cases it is problematic even today).

The person setting the bone is quite skilled (and is from a line of bonesetters... the wife of the local barber-surgeon-- I have read stuff that indicates that most bonesetters per se were women and it was a family business, so to speak.

1)  If the tibia/femur break is too much of a long shot for a non-crippling recovery, what is a better suggestion?

2) I have seen in this comm that bonesetters and people like them frequently used the herbs feverfew, comfrey/knitbone and boneset for the purposes of speeding healing for broken bones. I know the Renaissance barbers used ox bones as splints, and linen bandages to stabilize the break. I have seen one (scholarly, cited) web page that said they had read a religious text that suggested red clay be used on the bandages (I suppose to strengthen them as with plaster). I have also seen a web page that said (uncited) that Renaissance barbers also used plaster. I am interested in either possibility, but mostly I just want to know how my bonesetter would treat this injury: she'd reduce the break as best she could, pack unguents and herbs around the break, bandage to stabilize it, and then... ?

I have searched Wikipedia for Renaissance Medicine; in here for medicine: injuries: broken bones, italy: history; and Google for
setting bones in the renaissance
treatment of broken bones in the renaissance
medical therapy renaissance
broken bones in the italian renaissance
treatment of fractures in the italian renaissance
Tags: 1400-1499, italy: history, ~medicine: historical, ~medicine: injuries: broken bones, ~renaissance

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