Bay Crit Tip #4 – Road Rash

by CyclingTips


Look at this mess!  Cookie is a tough cookie and has been through this a thousand times before, so he’ll be okay.  He got right back on his bike after taking a couple laps out. A true professional.  For the rest of us who are new to this, here’s my method of dealing with minor road rash (I realize I’m digging up an old post here, but we’ve had many new readers come aboard over the holidays and it’s quite relevant at this time).

First, take two to four 200mg ibuprofen with food 45 minutes prior to cleaning you wound. The maximum dose is 800mg every six hours and no more than 2400mg in 24 hours. It’s especially helpful right before bedtime so you can get some sleep. (I got this information on ibuprofen dosages through various internet searches. Once again, I’m not a doctor so you may want to confirm with your GP what your personal tolerance is.)

Next, clean the wound with mild antibacterial soap and a washcloth and plenty of water. Only scrub hard enough to get the gravel out to prevent it from tattooing your wound. Abrasive scrubbing is unnecessary because you risk damaging tissue and delaying the healing process. After the wound is clean, gently pat your road rash damp-dry.

In terms of covering the wound up, I use this second skin product called Opsite . It’s breathable, quite resistant to water, and heals wounds in about 1 week. You just need to place it over the wound without putting any ointment on it and let the wound heal inside. It will get disgustingly moist underneath, but it "retains wound contact with the natural wound exudate which contains vital nutrients for growing cells, and white blood cells to prevent infection ". It’s like miracle skin. You never get a scab with this, so you can be out riding the same day, if you aren’t too sore.

Check your wounds daily for increasing redness, swelling, pain, pus or foul smelling drainage. These are all signs of infection and you should seek medical attention. If it’s been 5 years since your last tetanus shot, go to the ER. There’s no glory in dying of lockjaw.

There is also good article from a qualified emergency medicine physician here on how he likes to handle road rash. In  my limited experience, the Opsite method above is the best for superficial wounds (most road crashes) where just the top layers of skin are removed.    I’ll find out what Cookie’s  method is later today and post it…

UPDATE: I’m told that Cookie dressed his wound exactly roughly how I described above, with the exception that the doctor told him to keep a thin layer of vaseline over the wound to keep it moist.  Haven’t heard that one before.  Unfortunately his knee has quite a deep gash and will be very soar today.

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