This article is from the Bicycles FAQ, by Mike Iglesias with numerous contributions by others.
From: E Shekita <email@example.com>
[Ed note: This is a condensation of a summary of cures for road rash that
The July 1990 issue of Bicycle Guide has a decent article on road
rash. Several experienced trainers/doctors are quoted. They generally
- cleaning the wound ASAP using an anti-bacterial soap such as Betadine.
Showering is recommended, as running water will help flush out dirt
and grit. If you can't get to a shower right away, at the very least
dab the wound with an anti-bacteria solution and cover the wound with
a non-stick telfa pad coated with bactrin or neosporin to prevent
infection and scabbing. The wound can then be showered clean when you
get home. It often helps to put an ice bag on the wound after it has
been covered to reduce swelling.
- after the wound has been showered clean, cover the wound with either
1) a non-stick telfa pad coated with bactrin or neosporin, or 2) one
of the Second Skin type products that are available. If you go the telfa
pad route, daily dressing changes will be required until a thin layer
of new skin has grown over the wound. If you go the Second Skin route,
follow the directions on the package.
The general consensus was that scabbing should be prevented and that the
Second Skin type products were the most convenient -- less dressing changes
and they hold up in a shower. (Silvadene was not mentioned, probably because
it requires a prescription.)
It was pointed out that if one of the above treatments is followed, then
you don't have to go crazy scrubbing out the last piece of grit or dirt
in the wound, as some people believe. This is because most of the grit
will "float" out of the wound on its own when a moist dressing is used.
There are now products that go by the names Bioclusive, Tegaderm,
DuoDerm, Op-Site, Vigilon, Spenco 2nd Skin, and others, that are like
miracle skin. This stuff can be expensive ($5 for 8 3x4 sheets), but
does not need to be changed. They are made of a 96% water substance
called hydrogel wrapped in thin porous plastic. Two non-porous plastic
sheets cover the hydrogel; One sheet is removed so that the hydrogel
contacts the wound and the other non-porous sheet protects the wound.
These products are a clear, second skin that goes over the cleaned
(ouch!) wound. They breathe, are quite resistant to showering, and
wounds heal in around 1 week. If it means anything, the Olympic
Training Center uses this stuff. You never get a scab with this, so you
can be out riding the same day, if you aren't too sore.
It is important when using this treatment, to thoroughly clean the
wound, and put the bandage on right away. It can be obtained at most
pharmacies. Another possible source is Spenco second skin, which is
sometimes carried by running stores and outdoor/cycling/ stores. If
this doesn't help, you might try a surgical supply or medical supply
place. They aren't as oriented toward retail, but may carry larger sizes
than is commonly available. Also, you might check with a doctor, or
university athletic department people.