Elbows, knees, shins, ankles, hands; all prime abrasion territory. At its most basic, this damage is caused by friction against a rough surface. That’s right, from scrapes to road rash today’s topic is Abrasions. Scrapes happen all the time but fair warning: they can get gross.
What is it then?
First-Degree abrasion, typically called a scrape or graze. It doesn’t bleed much and likely isn’t any deeper than the epidermis or first layer of skin. Second-Degree abrasion is similar except slightly deeper and heavier bleeding.
Third-Degree abrasions are called avulsion wounds. This typically involves losing skin down to the layers beneath the skin, like fat and muscle (this is the gross part, so I’ll stop there).
How bad is it?
If left untreated and allowed to get infected, this wound can indeed be terrible. For the most part however, abrasions are not a huge worry. Avulsions are a different matter as are abrasions that have not stopped bleeding after five minutes of direct pressure, wounds that bleed a lot or if the wound was caused by violence or trauma. Those require doctor visits for sure.
Can I prevent it?
Watch where you are going? Mostly this is a “be aware of your surroundings” problem and no one ever wants to get scraped up, so it’s mostly accidental.
What if it happens to me?
Start by making sure your hands and the area are clean. Cool to lukewarm water and mild soap can be used to flush out any dirt particles. If there is bleeding, elevate the area and apply gentle pressure. Topical antibiotics sound fancy but its basically Polysporin and similar products. If you have some, cover the wound in a light layer of that before you apply the bandage. If you go this route with it, change the bandage and ointment once per day.
Then watch for infection signs; swelling, redness and pain in the area. If it gets infected, that’s a doctor’s visit for certain.
Scabbing will occur and should be left alone; read that as Don’t Pick At It! It’s a natural part of healing and helps keep you healthy and safe. It will fall off on its own, leave it alone.
Will I be okay?
Of course, you will. Most abrasions heal without any scarring or other complications. And its something we’ve all had a few times at least. Just keep an eye out for any of the more severe signs and don’t be afraid to find training or professional medical advice if you need it.
As always, get proper training and medical advice before trusting anything on the internet!
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