“Road rash” is slang for skin injuries caused by abrasion with road surfaces. It may very well be the most common cycling injury, and it’s also common in skating and running.
Although road rash is “just a flesh wound,” it’s super painful because it exposes the sensitive nerve endings just under the skin’s outer layer. When exposed to air and water, road rash is eye-wateringly painful.
Road rash is literally a pain to treat because the wound weeps blood and plasma (“exudate”) for days if not weeks. The weeping makes it hard to bandage–the exudate tends to bond even with non-stick dressings. Because of that difficulty, some folks leave the wound completely open, but that makes sleeping difficult because the weeping wound sticks to bedsheets.
While Tegaderm film dressings for everyday use are relatively new to most of us, the technology was patented in the 1980s. If you’ve ever had an IV, they probably used Tegaderm to protect the insertion area.
The film adheres to the skin, and separate taping is not needed.
The moist conditions under the dressing promote wound healing. Since the film is transparent, you can watch the healing process. Amazing!
Surprisingly, no scab ever forms which, for road rash wounds that cover a lot of surface area, means no irritating itchy phase when the scab dries out and shrinks.
These films are waterproof and you can wash and bath normally. The plastic barrier means no pain from contact between the wound and water.
DrySee is an upgrade from conventional Tegaderm in that it has a water invasion indicator near the edge and center of the film. The indicators make it easy to see if the film or wound site has been compromised, and is a signal to change the dressing.
When the DrySee bandage is clean and dry, the gauze pads remain white. When the bandage is contaminated, the gauze changes to a deep blue color along the perimeter of the bandage.
Road Rash Care
–Take a shower and clean the wound with soap and water. If there is embedded dirt or rocks you may need to scrub them out. It will hurt!
–Gently dry off.
–Apply the film.
–Change the dressing as needed. It will weep quite a bit at first, then gradually slow down. You’ll be able to see the healing process and it will be obvious when the wound is closed. Instead of a scab, expect to see fresh pink “baby skin.”
First Aid Kit
Both 3M Tegaderm and DrySee come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Stock your first aid kit with a mix of sizes that are a match with potential injuries: Larger surface areas for cyclists and skaters, smaller surface areas for runners and hikers.
Folding these dressings can damage them. Store them flat and protected in your home and automobile first aid kits.
Buy Local and support small businesses!
3M Tegaderm is available at most local pharmacies.
The best way to get DrySee is via their website.