Skip to page contentSkip to footer

This handout was written to help you care for your road rash and abrasions at home.  If you have questions or concerns after you get home, please feel free to call the phone numbers listed at the end of this handout.

Abrasions are a superficial injury to the skin and its underlying tissue caused by rubbing or scraping.  Road rash is a common term used for abrasions caused by scrapes received during an accident.  Road rash should heal within 2 weeks if you take good care of the wounds and keep them clean and moist.  Sometimes, road rash can go through all of the layers of skin and require skin grafting surgery to heal.  If your wounds take longer than 2 weeks to heal, they may be deeper wounds and should be re-evaluated by your health care provider.

Daily Wound Cares

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water before touching your wound.

  2. Remove old dressings.  Do not soak in water to remove.  Dry dressing removal cleans away dead tissue and debris.

  3. Wash your wounds gently once a day with antibacterial soap such as Dial® and a clean washcloth.  Wash off antibiotic creams, soft scabs, and any loose dead tissue.  You may have a small amount of bleeding.  Most patients should wash their wounds during their daily showers.

  4. Rinse your wounds well with plain water. 

  5. Dry off surrounding skin thoroughly with a towel.

  6. Apply a thin layer of Bacitracin® to all open wounds.  If your wound has been drying out between dressing changes, you may want to apply a thicker layer of Bacitracin® at this time.

  7. Apply a thin layer of moisturizing lotion to all healed areas of skin that surround the open wound. 

  8. Apply Cutecerin (non-stick) gauze to all open wounds.

  9. Secure dressings with cotton gauze as needed.

Signs of Infection

  • Increasing redness and swelling around the wound

  • Foul smelling drainage or pus from the wound

  • Flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, nausea or vomiting, and muscle aches)

Managing Pain

Your doctor may have prescribed pain medicines for treating pain.

  1. Take _____________________________ (your pain reliever) 1 hour before washing your wounds.

  2. Between wound cares use acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Advil®) to treat pain.  If you have any broken bones, or are having surgery in less than a week do not take ibuprofen.

Pain will lessen as the wound heals.  The wound may feel stiff, dry, itchy, or tight as it heals.  Moisturizing lotion on the healed skin can provide great relief for these symptoms.

Care of Healed Skin

The skin is healed when it appears dull pink or red, is not moist or weepy, and no longer stings when you touch it. Newly healed skin needs moisturizing creams to prevent drying and cracking. Once your wound is healed, stop using the Bacitracin®, Cutecerin® gauze and gauze dressings. Apply creams (free of alcohol) such as Elta lite®, Aquaphor, Eucerin®, Nivea® as often as needed to keep the skin moist and soft.

Phone Numbers

In case you have any questions or concerns, or if your wounds do not heal in 2-3 weeks, please contact your health care provider.

Your Primary MD ________________________

Trauma Clinic at 608-263-7502

Burn Clinic at 608-263-1490