An abrasion is a wound or an injury that cause superficial damage to the skin and usually affects the uppermost layer of the skin. Abrasions do not go deeper than the epidermis. A first degree abrasion affects only the epidermis of the skin while a second degree abrasion affects both the epidermis and dermis of the skin and there is minimal bleeding in the affected area. As for the third degree abrasions, they usually affect the subcutaneous layer of the skin.
Abrasions and road rash are common injuries while playing sports that is usually caused by a fall on a hard surface. By falling or sliding on the ground, friction causes the layers of skin to scrape off. Cyclists sometimes refer to abrasions caused by crashes as “road rash”. Crash from biking has a potential of causing painful and severe abrasions. Sometimes, there might be no bleeding, but it can cause a great deal of pain due to exposed nerve endings.
- Oozing or bleeding of the affected area
- Pain and swelling
- Burning sensation
- Mild to moderate fever
- Tenderness around the area which becomes worse when touched
- Redness of the skin
- Clean the affected area thoroughly and remove debris and dirt. Irrigate the area using a non-toxic surfactant such as sodium chloride using minimal pressure with a syringe. Use clean gauze and gently scrub the affected area. Just remember to avoid scrubbing vigorously in order to prevent making the condition worse by damaging the tissue.
- When the area is already clean, cover it using a semi-permeable dressing to cover the affected area with adhesive tape. Change the dressing every few days and keep the wound moist until totally healed. A moist environment helps with the healing, improves formation of tissue and also helps protect the area from scarring and infection.
- The layers of damaged skin will start to heal from the deeper layers then to the surface layers and outer edges to the center. The affected area looks pink and raw and eventually the wound will form a new skin that looks pink and smooth.
- If there are deep cuts that continues to bleed after 15 minutes despite placing a direct pressure, cuts that extends deep into the skin and the edges are pulling apart, seek medical help immediately.
In order to prevent abrasions and road rash, always wear protective pad and cover any exposed skin with layers of clothing when performing sports especially bicycling and skate boarding. Have the necessary first aid supplies available in any event of an emergency.