DEFINITION--Scraped skin or mucous membrane. An abrasion is usually a minor injury, but it can be serious if it covers a large area or if foreign materials become imbedded in it.
BODY PARTS INVOLVEDSkin or mucous membranes. The most common sites are usually over bone or other firm tissue.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
Skin that looks scraped or irritated.
Bleeding at the abrasion site.
Immediate pain that lasts a short time.
Crusting over of the abraded area in 3 to 5 days.
Falling on a hard, rough or jagged surface.
Rough fabric, seams in clothing, ill-fitting shoes, or other parts of athletic equipment such as helmets and shoulder pads that constantly irritate the skin.
RISK INCREASES WITH
Athletic activity on rough terrain, such as bicycling, or playing football or baseball (sliding).
Skin that is not properly covered or protected, especially when playing on rough terrain.
HOW TO PREVENT
Wear protective clothing, including long sleeves, high socks, knee and elbow pads, and special clothing designed for your sport.
Wear good-quality, well-fitting footgear to help avoid falls and to prevent foot abrasion.
Choose athletic clothing wisely to avoid irritating fabric and poorly placed seams. A combination of cotton and synthetic may be the most comfortable. Seams on the inside of the thigh of shorts can be particularly irritating, and should be checked for roughness before purchase.
Avoid poor-quality playing fields.
WHAT TO EXPECT
APPROPRIATE HEALTH CARE
Self-care for minor, non-infected wounds.
Doctor's care for extensive contaminated abrasions.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and exam by a doctor.
X-rays of underlying tissue (sometimes) to rule out other injuries.
"Tattooing", if imbedded, dark-colored foreign material is not carefully removed.
Scarring, if deeper layers of skin are affected (rare).
PROBABLE OUTCOMEThe wound will heal in 3 to 10 days, depending on its location.
HOW TO TREAT
NOTE -- Follow your doctor's instructions. These instructions are supplemental.
For a scrape, wash the abraded area with plain soap and warm water as soon as possible. Scrub with a soft brush if possible. Soap acts as a solvent for imbedded dirt.
For an irritation, protect the area against further abrasion. Use gauze or moleskin.
If foreign material is imbedded too deeply or the wound is too painful to cleanse thoroughly, seek medical help.
Cleanse lightly each day. If crusting or oozing occurs, soak in warm water with a little dishwashing or laundry detergent.
Between soakings, apply non-prescription antibiotic ointment.
Cover lightly with a bandage during the day, but leave the wound open to air at night.
If infection occurs, use warm soaks more frequently. Keep the injured area elevated above the level of the heart, when possible.
Apply non-prescription antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.
Spray with tincture of benzoin to reduce pain, if necessary.
Don't use strong antiseptics such as iodine, Merthiolate, mercurochrome or alcohol. They will further irritate the skin.
For minor discomfort, use aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics if the abrasion becomes infected.
ACTIVITYResume normal activities as healing progresses, but don't overuse the abraded area until it heals. Protect it against repeat injury.
DIETNo special diet.
CALL THE DOCTOR IF
You cannot clean all debris from an abrasion.
Signs of infection begin (fever, headache, or tenderness, increased oozing, redness, swelling and pain at the injury site).
New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.