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Who Is At Risk Of Road Rash?

Posted on May 26, 2021 in

If you or a loved one regularly ride motorcycles or bicycles, then you understand there is possibility of sustaining significant injuries. However, one of the lesser-talked about injuries associated with motorcycling and bicycling is road rash.

Road rash is one of the most common injuries associated with operating a motorcycle or riding a bicycle, but it can also occur in other types of accidents as well, including those involving traditional vehicles or even electric scooters. Here, we are going to discuss road rash injuries more in-depth so you have an idea of what to expect if someone you know, or even yourself, sustains this type of injury.

What is Road Rash?

Road rash is a common term used to describe a skin abrasion that results from a person’s skin scraping across a rough surface. In general, this usually means a person has been involved in an accident and their skin has scraped across the pavement. This type of injury can occur on any body part that does not have clothing over it (and even clothed areas if the crash is severe enough). In general, road rash is associated with a person’s jointed areas, including their knees and elbows. Additionally, road rash injuries to the face, hands, ankles, shoulders, and shins are not uncommon.

Not all road rash injuries look exactly the same. There are different types of road rash, including the following:

  • Avulsions. This refers to scraping away of the top layers of skin, and can also involve the fatty layers and even muscle or bone underneath the skin layers.
  • Open wounds. This involves the tearing away of the skin tissue, and this may require stitches.
  • Compression. This is a type of road rash that can occur when a part of the body is trapped between two different objects. We see this type of injury when a motorcyclist’s leg is trapped between the motorcycle and the roadway during an accident.

As we mentioned above, motorcyclists and bicyclists are more likely than others to sustain road rash injuries due to the very nature of riding on these vehicles. However, road rash injuries are becoming more common amongst electric scooter riders, particularly as these vehicles become more popular. Additionally, any person ejected from a vehicle involved in a motorcycle accident can experience road rash just like these other victims.

Symptoms That Indicate Treatment

Road rash injuries are classified similarly to burn injuries. A first-degree road rash will typically involve only the outer layer of skin and result in redness and tenderness. A second-degree road rash can affect the lower layers of skin. A third-degree road rash is considered the most serious, and involves the scraping away of skin and fatty layers, and could affect the muscle and bone underneath.

Some of the symptoms that indicate the need for prompt medical care in these situations include the following:

  • Any road rash wound times bigger than the palm of a person’s hand. This large exposed area increases the risk of a person sustaining an infection.
  • Any road rash wounds on the hands, feet, or genitals must be treated promptly because these areas are prone to infection due to bacteria.
  • Any road rash wound that results in muscle or bone becoming visible must be treated immediately by a doctor in the emergency room.
  • If there are any foreign objects embedded in a road rash wound, this increases the chance that a person will sustain an infection or suffer from other complications.
  • If a road rash wound will not stop bleeding, this means that the issue is more serious than a person likely understands. Emergency treatment will be needed.

How do You Treat Road Rash?

Road rash injuries can be treated in a variety of ways. Often, first-degree road rash injuries can be treated by simply washing the area to remove any debris. An antibiotic ointment will often be used to protect the wound and to keep it moist, along with a lightweight gauze or medical dressing.

For more serious second- or third-degree road rash wounds, there may need to be extensive treatment rendered by a doctor. This can include the need for X-rays, a monitoring of vital signs, IV antibiotics, tetanus shots, and even surgery.