Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Road rash treatment

Criterium road rash
Originally uploaded by richardmasoner
Somebody asked recently: A friend of mine crashed on Pescadero Road during the Tour de Cure ride and has a significant amount of road rash. Someone mentioned a product for road rash (unfortunately it was after my crash last year). What is the name of it?

The product would be one of Tegaderm, Duoderm, Second Skin, and others. These dressings allow the wound to stay moist while allowing the wound to breathe through semipermeable plastic layers. It's expensive stuff, but these bandages are resistant to showers and can stay on the wound for up to a week.

To treat road rash:

  • Clean the wound thoroughly by flushing it with clean water and mild soap or saline solution. Scrubbing the wound can increase the trauma.
  • Do not apply antiseptics such as hydrogen peroxide or iodine washes -- these can harm the exposed tissue. Even topical antibiotic creams can interfere with wound healing, so medical professionals now advise against this for road rash.
  • Apply a "moist" dressing like the hydrogel and hydrocolloidal dressings I mention above.

In over 20 years of serious cycling, I've had more than a few episodes of road rash. The new magic dressings are an absolute Godsend -- no scabbing, no nasty pus-filled infected sores, and it even seems to keep the scarring down. These specialty bandages can be hard to find even in drugstores -- I order it online and keep it in my First Aid Kit at home.


  1. If you look at the two last posts they relate in a way:

    "Road Rash Treatment"
    "A Downside to Naked Cycling"

  2. Honey... yes the kind that bees make actually works as road rash treatment also. Honey contains a natural antiseptic and tastes pretty sweet too, but when you put it inbetween the road rash and the cotton pad it eliminates the pad from sticking to the wound.

  3. Honey also typically contains botulism spores. Google for "wound botulism" some time to see the fun that can happen when you get botulism spores into an covered wound. Honey is "antiseptic" because it's mostly sugar, which kills bacteria by osmosis. Thanks for the suggestion, but I think I'll pass on the honey treatment.