People in my story are always getting themselves injured. Adventuring is dangerous and weapons are bountiful.

I want to write this ~1300s fantasy as "realistically" as possible, which includes feasible recovery times after injuries.

But I have no medical knowledge. Does anyone know of a recovery-time "cheat sheet"; i.e. some source which lists injuries, and reasonable time it takes a person to recover from given injury?

For example (totally invented):
- Deep cut in arm, 1 litre (medium) blood loss: Time until walking = 2 days; Time until arm usable = 3 weeks; time until healed = 7 months.

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    $\begingroup$ Unfortunately this is not that easy. Most injuries are unique, and the list of afflictions is near infinite. Deep cut in arm: did you hit the bone? Sever a tendon? Damage the muscle? How deep is deep? How is it treated? Can it get infected? $\endgroup$ – Plutian Mar 10 '20 at 6:45
  • $\begingroup$ "But I have no medical knowledge" hey, luckily a lot of medieval doctors, too, so you're on even keel! I'm slightly joking - doctors did have medical knowledge but it wasn't very good in some areas. Like germs - they didn't believe in germs. As a result surgery was a lot more likely to kill you than not. In some cases you were statistically safer not going to a doctor. Heck, it wasn't until relatively very recently until a doctor had more than 50% chance of actually helping with a serious ailment. $\endgroup$ – VLAZ Mar 10 '20 at 9:28
  • $\begingroup$ You ever heard a modern doctor say "lets SEE how it heal"? That's your recovery sheet. Observation. $\endgroup$ – SZCZERZO KŁY Mar 10 '20 at 11:38
  • $\begingroup$ A deep cut in an arm can very well be the end of it (at least in combat), even more true in a medieval setting. So...no cheat sheet for this unless you add a fantasy element. $\endgroup$ – maxisalamone Mar 10 '20 at 12:46
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    $\begingroup$ @maxisalamone I guess easy cheat sheet a) Is it a surface wound? If yes, then you have 70% chance to survive. Roll a d6, on 3+ the character survives. b) is it a deep wound? You die. (it simplifies the math) $\endgroup$ – VLAZ Mar 10 '20 at 17:13

You can improve realism by setting realistic minimum healing times

This website details approximate healing times for various common sporting injuries, including things like various broken bones, bruises and lacerations. It's not in particularly great detail, but should give you a ballpark.

I'm not familiar with the reliability of the website, but where they're stated they tally with advice from the NHS which is trustworthy. It should be noted though that they average a little on the low side, so take them as rough times for a best-case scenario. If anyone's healing significantly quicker than this then you might want to think about explanations. As others mention, there can be many other complications:

  • Age, other illnesses, amount of food available and general fitness will affect how fast something heals. The worse the situation, the longer it will take. Some other injuries will prevent things healing entirely (e.g. heart attack resulting in reduced bloodflow to the lower body will inhibit healing).
  • The wound will need to be clean and infection free. Depending on your time period this may be more through luck than judgement. If it isn't, it could take a lot longer and/or not heal.
  • The wound will need to not be very complex. If it would require surgery today to fix, it's likely that it wouldn't be fixable with pre-modern medicine. You'll either end up with something healed incorrectly, not really healed at all, or amputated.
  • The wounded person will need to not do any more damage to the injury. This is an issue even today when we know about this as injuries typically feel ok to use well before they're fully healed. They will likely have more pressures on them to use whatever's injured than we do nowadays.
  • Linked to the above, it will take a lot longer after an injury's healed to get even near the strength you had to begin with. Even with modern understanding of physio, it can take longer than the healing process to regain strength after a serious injury. After healing the wounded body part will be usable, but it will take more time before it's 100% (or could never quite reach 100% again which is more likely for serious injuries).

You can't

A simple wound may just take a couple of days to heal, without any further consequences. Or it can be infected and you die.

Without proper medicine and medication, healing is way more random, so you can't have a reliable cheat sheet.


You can't have such a sheet, especially in those times.

Today doctors make a prognosis after checking the person, because they need to verify the condition of the injury and the person's fitness.

Too many variables to consider for making a realistic sheet. And we are talking about today.

In those times a light wound contaminated with tetanus spores could quickly and painfully lead to death. Lack of proper hygienic practices makes thing drift to the worse pretty quickly. Actually that might simplify your search: amputation or death are the most likely outcomes for the severe wounds, without much concern for accuracy. Just look at the death of McKinley for an example.


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