How to Treat Cycling Road Rash

POSTED BY Andrew Kass||

Cycling road rash is something most of us will have to deal with at least once or twice. The nasty abrasions that occur with road rash aren’t immediately that painful, but within just a few minutes your adrenaline levels will decrease and the discomfort will start. Road rash can usually be treated at home, by following simple home remedies. However, if your road rash covers a large area of your body (larger than the size of your palm) or is showing signs of infection, see a physician immediately.

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Tips for Bicycle Road Rash Treatment

Before you treat road rash or any bicycle crash injury, assess the extent of your injuries. Road rash is usually minor, but can sometimes mask other injuries like fractures, sprains, and strains. Check for any signs of bruising, swelling, or signs of a fracture like a limited range of motion. Also, if you have struck your head in a crash, you should always follow up with a physician right away.

Treatment for road rash begins by clearing any debris from the site of the abrasion. Gravel and dirt can cause infection. Avoid using alcohol (which will sting and dry out the wound). Also, do not use hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide can damage healthy tissue. Instead, use clean saline and flush the area. Clean the wound water and antibacterial soap will also work to flush the wound and remove any dirt. If you use a cloth, be sure that it is clean and does not leave any fibers or residue. If there is debris deep within the wound that you cannot remove, it is best to see a physician for care.

Once you have cleared away any visible dirt, dry the wound by patting it gently with a clean cloth or paper towel. If it is bleeding, you can blot away any areas of blood that form. Once the wound is clean and bleeding has stopped, apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment to prevent infection. Next, cover the wound with a non-adhesive gauze pad over the injury and secure with medical tape. You may want to lightly wrap the area in gauze or even an ACE bandage. Just be sure that the only thing touching the wound is the non-adhesive gauze as anything else will adhere to the wound.

Road rash can be quite painful! It’s best to take a painkiller like acetaminophen or ibuprofen immediately. Follow dosage recommendations on the bottle. You can also relieve the pain by applying a cool compress. Many people describe the pain of a road rash as a burning sensation and feel that a cool compress helps calm the pain. Remember, however, that you should not use ice directly against the wound as it can damage the tissue.

Monitor your road rash healing and check for signs of infection. Those signs of infection can include an increasing area of redness around the wound, seepage of pus from the wound, fever, increasing pain, or swelling. If you notice any of these signs of infection, visit your physician as soon as possible as you may have developed an infection. Otherwise, be sure to monitor the healing and change your bandages daily.

After a couple of days, the road rash area should be dry to the touch and forming a scab as the wound heals. Your discomfort should be reduced, as well. You may now remove the bandages at night and sleep with the wound exposed to the air. Just be sure to cover it again with antibacterial ointment and a non-stick bandage before you dress. Once a solid scab has formed, you can remove the bandage completely. Wash the injured area gently with a mild antibacterial soap and apply a thin layer of moisturizer.

After your road rash becomes fully healed, you will notice that the area may feel a bit tender and may be lighter in color than the surrounding skin. This is to be expected as the skin that has healed is thinner than the surrounding skin. Applying moisturizer regularly can help prevent the area from drying out if you experience itching.

Everyone who has experienced a road rash seems to have their own remedy to ease the pain and promote healing. But for most of us, good old antibacterial soap, clean water, and non-stick gauze is all it takes to get you on the mend.

If you were struck by a motor vehicle, you may have questions about making a claim for your injuries. In many cases, the insurance adjuster will reach out to you within days (or even hours) and offer you a small settlement. Often, this amount is not even enough to pay your medical bills. Keep in mind that your injuries may keep you from work for a period of time, could require several visits with the physician, and may result in a period of physical therapy. 

It’s always best to reach out to a bicycle crash attorney after you have been struck- even if you don’t think your injuries are severe. An experienced bicycle crash attorney, like the ones at Kass & Moses, will be able to listen to the details of your crash and provide guidance on how you should proceed. Contact Kass & Moses today with any questions you may have about your bicycle accident or cycling road rash.