An accident on your bicycle could result in scraped skin. The medical term for this type of injury is an abrasion. However, abrasions also go by many colloquial terms as well, such as “road rash” or “raspberries” because of their often-bright red color.
Whatever you call such an injury, however, it is important to take it seriously and receive appropriate treatment. Otherwise, depending on the grade of the abrasion, you could put yourself at risk for complications, such as infection or scarring.
Grading of an abrasion takes place according to the depth of the wound. The more layers of skin involved, the higher the grade. The mildest grade is a first-degree abrasion, sometimes called a graze. It involves only the outermost epidermis layer and usually does not even bleed.
A third-degree abrasion is the most serious. Also called an avulsion injury, it extends through all the skin layers to affect the tissues underneath due to friction and tearing. A third-degree abrasion may require medical attention due to profuse bleeding.
A second-degree abrasion is less serious than an avulsion injury but more serious than a graze. It extends through the epidermis into the dermis and may result in mild bleeding.
A doctor should evaluate a third-degree abrasion as soon as possible. In most other cases, home treatment is sufficient. It usually focuses on the prevention of wound contamination, which can lead to infection. Therefore, it is important to rinse the wound with lukewarm water and apply a clean dressing in the form of antibiotic ointment and a bandage or gauze applied with tape.
You should change the dressing once a day and watch for signs of infection:
- Drainage or discharge
If your wound does not appear to be healing, this could also be a sign of infection. You should see a doctor right away if any of these symptoms are present.