Well, maybe it isn’t technically ‘road’ rash, but I lost a bit of skin on Wednesday. I’ve had a lot of road rash over the years, and have tried just about everything, with varied results. The primary choices for wound care are to keep it moist, or dry.
Dry: Leaving your wounds to dry isn’t too bad of an idea depending on where you lost the skin, and how much. Minor road rash will develop a reasonably thin scab which remains flexible. The scab works like a dressing to keep things clean, and nature basically takes care of itself.
But, it turns out nature never intended for us to hit the pavement at 30+ mph. When a large area is effected, and especially when the wound is deep, going dry is less comfortable. It can take a while to scab over, and in the interim is an oozing mess, sticking to your bedsheets and/or clothes. After the scab forms, it is thick, hard, and inflexible, causing pain and/or cracking when the surrounding skin is stretched.
Wet: Keeping the wound moist allows for the fastest healing, but requires more maintenance. Commonly, dressings need to be changed every day or so, and the body’s natural impulse to make a scab takes over and the scab grows into the dressing. When it is time for a dressing change, it can be near-impossible to remove without soaking in the bathtub for half an hour or more. In the past I’ve used the technique with frequent dressing changes and copious amounts of neosporin to keep the dressing and wound from growing together.
This time around I got a new type of dressing from the local ER. Don’t worry, my crash wasn’t that bad, and it was an ‘informal’ visit, and a friend hooked me up. I got a fancy dressing designed for old folks with bed sores. They’re designed to be left in place for a longer amount of time (up to a week), and have some amazing properties. I changed one after 24 hours, and found minimal adhesion to the wound itself. I didn’t have to worry about any hair being pulled off my elbow from the edges of the dressing, since the adhesive is not sticky like you would expect. This property, combined with the stretch in the bandage, has kept it in place on my elbow and hip for 48 hours as I write this post with no need for any tape/wrap/etc to hold it in place.
I looked them up online, and they’re not cheap at about $10 each for the 6×6″ dressing like I have on my hip. If I didn’t have access to these locally, I would definitely order a few 3×3 and 6×6 dressings to keep on hand.