Abrasions & Lacerations

Cleanse the wound. Thoroughly clean the wound with a soapy solution to remove dirt and debris. A gentle brushing may be required to remove all foreign materials.

Ice. An application of ice should ease the pain and reduce local inflammation.

Protection. The wound should be protected from further irritation, caused by clothing or equipment, by using a sterile non-adherent dressing such as a Telfa Pad Larger abrasions, such as road rash, tend to seep fluids and should be covered with a bland water- soluble ointment. Antibiotic ointments are usually not required and greasy ointments should be avoided.

Medical referral is necessary if infection is suspected (swelling, redness, tenderness, and/or heat). Do not overlook the possible need for a tetanus booster.

Return to Activity

Minor abrasions should form scabs and heal quickly. If this does not occur, see a physician.

During the healing process, check the wound daily for indications of infection. These include swelling, redness (or red streaks), tenderness, and heat sensation. As the infection increases, there a throbbing pain and a feverish feeling may develop. Serious infections may produce swelling of the lymph nodes in the armpit, groin, or neck.

An abrasion located on a joint may take longer to heal if the scab cracks and bleeds as a result of continued motion. Once the scab is formed, applying antiseptic cream on the scab to keep it flexible can prevent cracking. The site should be dressed daily until the skin is completely healed.


Protecting areas that are susceptible to abrasions (for example, using knee-pads, sliders, elbow pads, etc.) should be considered. It is recognized, however, that this is not always an available option, particularly when you are participating in an activity like running where you are not planning to hit the pavement!

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