Road Rash

If a cyclist falls onto a hard road surface, friction against the skin shreds off the top layers of the epidermis and the deeper-dermis.

The deeper the abrasion, the more blood — although even a mild skin abrasion is painful. Without proper treatment, abrasions can become infected.


The simplest way to treat road rash used to be clean soap and water, an antiseptic cream and a dressing.  But new research suggests that this method may not be ideal since it can further damage the injured area, making healing slower.  Some antiseptics actually harm the tissue and affect the regeneration of cells within the wound.

The best method is to clean the area using sterile water under pressure (a syringe is ideal). You can even use gauze to lightly clean the area, but don’t rub hard or you’ll do more damage.

After the wound is cleaned, cover the area with a dressing.

Change the dressing regularly, keeping the area moist — it heals quicker, protecting itself against infection.  It is also advisable to guard against tetanus (an infectious disease that affects muscles) if the wound is open. If the abrasion is full of deep cuts, then see a doctor as stitches may be needed.

Good luck!


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