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Cycling Injuries: How to Treat Road Rash (5 Steps to Heal the Pain)

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Crashes while cycling and the road rashes thereafter are a part of the experience. Despite the level of your experience, or your die-hard attempt to prevent the crash, sometimes it’s just not in your hands. While the friction may not be painful as soon as you fall, you will feel the pain once you have settled down. The right clothing or hand gloves can offer protection, but only to a certain level.

Falls are inevitable and you will surely end up with shredded skin and tiny pebbles someday. Even those with protection like pads and helmets can lose balance and end up with those nasty scrapes.

If you’re a cyclist, it is better to learn how to treat road rashes rather than taking frequent trips to the ER.

Given below is a step by step road rash treatment that you should keep in mind in case you suffer from road rash.

Clean your hands and wounds

Make sure to properly wash hands with a soap and lukewarm water, to avoid infecting, and worsening the road rash. This is a small, but important step you need to keep in mind while learning how to treat road rashes.

For added protection, you can use gloves before you attend to your wound. Using disposable gloves can be safer to avoid infections.

How to treat road rash cycling
Clean Hands: The First Step in Any Treatment (Source)

Most experts suggest that washing the wound with clean water, like drinking water or water from a clean bottle, should be the first thing after you have washed your hands.

Avoid using peroxide, and should not rub the skin hard on the wound. You may need stitches if it’s a deep cut or when fat globules are visible.

Get help from someone if you are unable to reach the wound and make sure that you pour enough water in the affected area to wash away any loose dust or dirt particles completely.

Stock up on road rash first aid

How to treat road rash
Prepared for the Worst!

Having a road rash treatment kit handy is one of the smartest decisions. So let’s take a look at the essentials of a road rash first aid ki before we see how to treat road rashes.

Road rash treatment kit essentials: 

  • Syringe
  • Anti-bacterial soap
  • Sterile wipes
  • Saline solution
  • Antibiotic cream or lotion
  • Different types of dressings.

These are easily available at the online chemists or at the nearest medical shop.

However, before you use any of these you must analyze the severity of the injury.

If it’s a deeper curt or covers a larger area, you must see a medical practitioner as soon as possible.
According to experts, if you are treating road rash injuries on your own, it is important to clean the wound thoroughly with continuous flow of syringe or saline solution and then wipe it clean with sterile wipes. Once the debris is cleared, you can then wash the wound using an antibacterial soap and plenty of water.

According to the physician, soap and water is sufficient in comparison to Betadine or peroxide which are too harsh.

Dressing the wound

How to treat road rash
Hydrocolloid Dressing: As Easy As 1,2,3!

Hydrocolloid dressing is something that can help your wound heal faster. You simply need to apply the dressing and leave it on till your wounds are healed.

It falls off automatically in around a week and shows off the pink new skin.

The advantage here is that neither does the dressing needs to be removed, nor does the wound requires re-cleaning.

If you want to go the traditional way of dressing, you must ensure that the wound is covered, preferably with a bandage to keep off any dirt, irritation, or infection in the air or when in contact with clothes. Once you have washed and dried the wound you should apply a thin layer of an antibiotic cream.

You can now use a sterile gauze pad and hold it in place with a micropore tape. Now, all you have to do is pay attention to how the healing is progressing, while cleaning and redressing the wound on a daily basis.

Keep your wounds moist and protected

How to road rash
Redressing: A Must In Road Rash Treatment (Source)

This is the step where you need to redress the wound daily or as frequently as required, based on how severe is the injury.

You can use dressings that can keep the wound moist like the bioclusive varieties that also keeps the wound protected from any infection. It also allows any efflux from the sores to evaporate that helps keep your wound off from any contamination.

This step helps the wound heal from both, the base of the wound as well as the sides.

As the scraps stay moist, there are very fewer chances of the wound forming a thick hard crust.

These crusts, when formed on knees and other joints, can crack open during any movement which can again expose the wound.

Tips to Prevent Scars

How to road rash
Scars? No Thank You! (Source)

Now that you know how to treat road rashes, let's see how you can prevent those wounds from scarring.

It’s an obvious fact that whenever there is a wound on your skin, there are chances of it leaving a scar.

To reduce the severity of the scars you must massage your scrapes daily using a moisturizer. However, you must massage the area only once the wound has healed, or it may lead to infections.

According to experts, massaging the healed area twice a day regularly not just helps the area stay moist with the moisturizer, but also helps break down the scar tissues.

You can also apply silicone-based gels, creams, or a tape for a period of two to four months after the injury has occurred.

However, if you want to reduce the appearance of the scars significantly, avoiding the harsh UV rays of the sun is suggested, as it helps decrease the pigmentation process. This should be followed for up to 18 months post the injury.

Road rashes are usually not severe and can be handled with some added care; however, you must always determine the severity of your wounds before you start the treatment on your own.

While it’s a good idea to know how to treat road rashes by yourself, if the pain worsens instead of healing, you must see a doctor without any delay. Reddish skin tissues that look angry are not a great sign and seeking medical advice at this point is preferable. A bacterial infection or infections at the joints need immediate attention and hence, you must see a doctor without any delay.


Do you have some tips that effectively help the healing process of road rashes? Have you ever treated road rashes before? How did it go? Do let us know.

How to treat road rash
Tour de France or your backyard, crashes are inevitable

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