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February 12, 2013
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Medical Research/Medical Question

:iconsadict:
Sadict Feb 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Where do you go to research medical issues to make a condition seem as realistic as possible?

I've got a character whose back right calf was cut (thin cut). I was thinking the region involves the gastrocnemius muscle, but I'm having a hard time determining how such an injury would impair said character.

Would he be able to walk (granted painfully)?
What might be a general reaction to such an injury?
And what long-lasting effects might it have since he can't get it healed right away?

My book takes place in a fantasy world (think Middle Earth) and the healers use a combination of herbs and (the healer who would heal this injury) magick. I am planning on using magick to heal most of the injury, but I have quite a bit of story to write with this injury before it can get healed.
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:iconchimeradragonfang:
This doesn't really answer your question, but it's a neat resource I found a while ago that I find quite useful: Zygote Body. I use it all the time when inflicting injuries on my (humanoid) characters. Helps me visualize the damage when I can peel back the skin and see where all the muscles and internal organs are. It also has everything labelled with the proper names, which makes further research much easier.
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:iconsadict:
Sadict Feb 18, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Ahhh! I can't visit the site! Says WebGL isn't supported by any of my browsers.

Sounds like it might be an awesome resource.
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:iconchimeradragonfang:
Which browser(s) are you using? I've got whatever the newest version of Firefox is, and everything works fine with it.
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:iconsadict:
Sadict Feb 21, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I tried IE, Chrome, and Firefox. The Firefox I re-installed, though may not be the latest. I'll have to go back and check.
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:icondanceinmyblood:
Hi there, well as a 3rd year med student myself, I can tell the first thing that you need to keep in mind is that the legs and arms are just layers of muscles, skin, and aponeurosis. First, you have the skin, then some "minor" veins (the ones you can see through your skin), maybe some thin nerves, then the aponeurosis (which is like a thin fold that covers the muscles), and then, the muscles.

There are superficial and deep (I dont know if that is the aproppiate word) muscles. Most of the important veins, arteries, and nerves are beneath those "deep" muscles. In the back of the leg, the popliteal sciatic nerve, and the popliteal vein and artery are together in a "pack" just below the back of the knee, and covered by a layer of three different muscles, including the gastrocnemius and two other more which I dont know their names in english. Those three muscles, including the gastrocnemius are very VERY thick, and it's really difficult to cut through them (personal experience, spent some time trying to dissect that area).

So, if the injury is SUPERFICIAL (with this I mean that it does not compromisse another muscles besides the gastrocnemius), your character will be able to walk (altough with some pain and difficulty). Even if no mayor veins go through that area, he will have some blood loss (specially if the injury was near the middle of the leg, where the superficial saphenous vein is), but not a mayor life threatening blood loss (if treated in time). If he reaches medical attention, he will NEED to have that stiched up, which is not that difficult and can be done quickly.

If the injury is PROFOUND, there are many consecuences, from MAYOR blood loss (if it reaches the popliteal artery or vein), to compromising his toes and feet movement (if it damaged the flexor hallucis longus, tibialis posterior, and flexor digitorum longus muscles, or the popliteal sciatic nerve).

On another note, the most important tendon is the "Achilles tendon", which connects the gastrocnemius and the other 2 muscles to the heel. Those muscles on the back of the legs bend them, while the ones on the anterior part of the legs stretch them. So, if the Achilles tendon gets completely sliced your character WILL have problems while walking. He will be unable to stand up on his toes, and step off the ground using the injured leg, meaning that he will develop a limp, at least if the tendon does not heal appropiately. The recovery takes about 6-12 months.

Hope this helped, and I'm sorry for my shitty english :)
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:iconsadict:
Sadict Feb 18, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This helped greatly, and no worries about your English. It's really good.

Thank you so much for taking the time to write this up and help me out. I really do appreciate it. Everyone's inputs help me a lot and have helped me decide how to go back and re-write and re-work the chapter when the time comes.

Thank you again, very much for the time you took to write all of that. :hug:
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:iconexillior:
Exillior Feb 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm a bit late to join the party, but in general, I would advise you to ask people who deal with that sort of thing. There are two groups of such people:
- Those who take care of injuries like this, e.g. physiotherapists, medics, nurses, paramedics.
- Those who have suffered injuries, e.g. athletes/sportspeople, soldiers, people who work in risky jobs.

Reading books and articles is excellent and gives a good background, but it will never give you the practical "would this happen??" answers that you need.

I am a doctor (gosh, I typed medical student there and realised I'm no longer that :lol:) so luckily I am surrounded by people who could give me answers that I don't have myself. It may seem difficult for you to get hold of such people but trust me, it is worth it. There are few things that piss me off as much as reading something that's completely impossible... and that could have been easily verified by asking somebody in the domain. Gah!

It's the same principle as writing something in a language that you're not good at. You'd go to somebody who's fluent and good at it and ask them to give it a once over. It's just the same thing.
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:iconsadict:
Sadict Feb 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for taking the time to write a response. :)

I really do need to find people I can talk to about these types of questions and check out the near-by hospital in town.
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:iconexillior:
Exillior Feb 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
You can also ask people online. ;P There are quite a lot of medics and other healthcare professionals on dA.
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:iconsadict:
Sadict Feb 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
The asking online's part reason I made the thread on DA. :XD: First forum I could think to post on after midnight.
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