While road rash can happen from many activities, such as falling while skateboarding or biking, the most severe road rash injuries are caused by motorcycle accidents. For this reason, motorcyclists are encouraged to wear thick leather riding gear to protect their skin against contact with the pavement. However, even when wearing proper clothing, sustaining road rash is still a possibility during a crash. If you’ve suffered road rash, treating your wounds properly is essential to avoid further complications.
What is Road Rash?
Road rash is an abrasion wound caused by a rough surface, such as the pavement, rubbing across your skin and causing damage. It is similar to chafing or a rug burn but much more severe. In motorcycle accidents, it often affects the extremities as the rider attempts to catch themselves as they are thrown from their bike. Road rash can cover large areas of the body in painful lacerations. If the abrasion removes many layers of skin, the wounds can become very deep, resulting in infection or extensive scarring if not treated properly.
What Steps Can You Take to Heal From Road Rash After an Accident?
You should always seek an evaluation from a medical professional after a motorcycle accident, even if your injuries appear minor. The doctor will likely clean and bandage your road rash and provide care instructions. Be sure to follow all your doctor’s advice and take any prescribed medication to ensure that you heal correctly.
While treating your road rash at home, you can take these steps to help speed your recovery:
- Wash your hands before touching the damaged area.
- Use an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection and keep the skin moist to promote healing.
- Bandage the area to protect it and keep it clear of debris.
- Change the bandage frequently (at least once a day). If the dressing is stuck, a gentle saltwater solution can loosen it without causing more damage.
- If the wound becomes tight or itchy as it heals, moisturizer can be used to relieve the discomfort.
- Use OTC pain medication when needed.
When Should You See a Doctor?
After your initial medical evaluation, paying attention to your road rash and how it is healing is vital. You should see a doctor immediately if there are any signs of infection, such as persistent or growing redness or warmth around the area, pus discharge, increasing pain, or fever. Some medical conditions, such as diabetes, can make it more difficult for your body to recover after a skin injury and may require you to seek more medical intervention to ensure a good outcome. If your wound does not heal after two to three weeks, you ought to schedule a follow-up with your doctor to reevaluate your care plan.