Road rash is a term for the
wounds created when abrasion against a road surface damages
or grates skin following a spill. These wounds can be messy
and difficult to deal with, so effective treatment is
essential. Experienced trainers and doctors generally
recommended the following.
Clean the wound as soon as
possible using an anti-bacterial soap such as Betadine.
Showering is recommended, as running water will help flush
out dirt and grit. If you can't get to a shower right away,
at the very least dab the wound with an anti-bacteria
solution and cover the wound with a non-stick telfa pad
coated with bactrin or neosporin to prevent infection and
scabbing. The wound can then be showered clean when you get
home. It often helps to put an ice bag on the wound after it
has been covered to reduce swelling.
After the wound has been
showered clean, cover the wound with either 1) a non-stick
telfa pad coated with bactrin or neosporin, or 2) one of the
Second Skin type products that are available. If you go the
telfa pad route, daily dressing changes will be required
until a thin layer of new skin has grown over the wound. If
you go the Second Skin route, follow the directions on the
The general consensus is that
scabbing should be prevented and that the Second Skin type
products were the most convenient -- less dressing changes
and they hold up in a shower. (Silvadene was not mentioned,
probably because it requires a prescription.)
It was pointed out that if
one of the above treatments is followed, then you don't have
to go crazy scrubbing out the last piece of grit or dirt in
the wound, as some people believe. This is because most of
the grit will "float" out of the wound on its own
when a moist dressing is used.
There are now products that
go by the names Bioclusive, Tegaderm, DuoDerm, Op-Site,
Vigilon, Spenco 2nd Skin, and others, that are like miracle
skin. This stuff can be expensive ($5 for 8 3x4 sheets), but
does not need to be changed. They are made of a 96% water
substance called hydrogel wrapped in thin porous plastic.
Two non-porous plastic sheets cover the hydrogel; One sheet
is removed so that the hydrogel contacts the wound and the
other non-porous sheet protects the wound.
These products are a clear,
second skin that goes over the cleaned (ouch!) wound. They
breathe, are quite resistant to showering, and wounds heal
in around 1 week. If it means anything, the Olympic Training
Center uses this stuff. You never get a scab with this, so
you can be out riding the same day, if you aren't too sore.
It is important when using
this treatment, to thoroughly clean the wound, and put the
bandage on right away. It can be obtained at most
pharmacies. Another possible source is Spenco second skin,
which is sometimes carried by outdoor and cycling stores. If
this doesn't help, you might try a surgical supply or
medical supply place. They aren't as oriented toward retail,
but may carry larger sizes than is commonly available. Also,
you might check with a doctor, or university athletic