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How Long Does Road Rash Take To Heal? Ouch, That’s Gotta Hurt!

how long does road rash take to heal

Are you looking answer the question "how long does road rash take to heal"?

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Road rash can simultaneously be a badge of honor and pain. Some people like to show it off. Others like to cover it up.

I think we can all agree, we still want it to heal up quickly rather than slowly.

If you'd like something to soothe the pain while it heals, check out Brave Soldier Antiseptic Cream​.

It does a pretty good job of road rash pain prevention.

road rash healing stages

Can I prevent road rash?

Any time you crash your bike, there’s a risk of road rash. This is particularly true of exposed skin. So the only proven step to avoid road rash is to avoid crashing.

The reality is, we’re not always in control of whether or not we crash.​

The second step is to wear tough clothing that covers as much skin as possible. Of course, this isn’t always feasible. Often cyclists bike in warmer climates or are racing with a strict dress code.

The reality is, anyone who cycles for a lengthy period will experience road rash at some point.

For a great run down on how to treat road rash from the pros, check out the video below by the GCN


How long does road rash take to heal?

How quickly road rash heals is completely dependent on two things. How serious the wound is, and how the wound is treated.

Minor road rashes are a nuisance, a mere graze that irritates us. These will begin healing immediately and will only take a couple of days. Serious road rash can cut deep into the skin and can take several weeks to heal up, marking the occasion with a life long scar.


How can I treat road rash?

Carrying a bottle of water with you when cycling is a good habit to get into. Not just for staying hydrated but for cases of road rash as well. The first thing to do when you discover broken skin is to wash the wound with water.

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This will clean out any serious gravel, pieces of road, or foreign elements that might otherwise lodge themselves in the wound and cause infection later.

If the wound is deep, then consider going for stitches immediately. It will stop the wound becoming infected and ensure the skin closes up sooner rather than later.


Use antibiotic ointment​

Once the wound has been washed out antibiotic treatment should be applied.

Cyclists can buy several creams, and there are often spray-on antibiotics available. The quicker it’s applied the less chance of infection and scarring.​

For minor wounds, applying a gauze that can be easily pulled off the wound should happen immediately.

If you carry a mini medical kit this is helpful, if not, then wait until you finish your journey and then take some time to cover the injury.

infected road rash

More serious injuries might require a bandage. Lightly wrap it around the impacted area after applying both a removable gauze and the antibiotic cream. Remember, you’re just trying to prevent further injury and increase the rate of healing.

It doesn’t have to be a perfect job.


Keep an eye on it

Keep an eye on your road rash. If it’s on the knees and ankles, you might find the wound reopening at night due to all the tossing and turning. It will also sting a lot in the shower.

This isn’t a bad thing.

If you have bandaged it up, then give the wound time to breathe and unroll the bandage from time to time. Clean it each night and every morning.

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Sometimes sleeping can be a challenge because the road rash is over a large part of your body.

Any turning at night or re adjusting the bed covers can cause the pain to flair. This is normal and you should find that after seven to eight days the pain will begin to subside.


When to call a doctor?

If the affected area begins to swell or the pain increases, rather than gradually fading, then you may have a problem. Seek a doctor in case it’s been infected. The longer you leave it, the worse the end result will be.

Likewise, if you notice any pus oozing out of the wound, you should also see a doctor as soon as possible. You may notice it on the bandage or gauze when you remove it during your daily checks.​


How to stop scarring

It is possible to decrease the chance of scarring on any road rash. The trick is to apply moisturiser frequently. This keeps the new skin fresh and stops some of the drying out associated with scarring. Spending less time in the sun will also decrease the likelihood of the wound scarring permanently.

Road rash is all about management and making sure the condition does not get any worse.

road rash pain relief

Summary

So, how much time does road rash take to heal? It can take between three days to two weeks or more to heal. The main thing to do with road rash is make sure you clean it out immediately and seek help if the wound is deep.

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Carry water on you at all times, and when cycling, keep a portable medkit on you if possible.

Image Credit Flickr Creative Commons - Eric Mueller, Jason Granfield, Dan Koslicki