5 tips for treating a cycling wound

Don't let cuts, bruises or road rash keep you off the bike

Dr Steve Baynes, a sports medicine physician at Perform, Spire Southampton Hospital, explains how to ensure road rash doesn’t keep you off the bike too long.

1. Infection protection injection

Dirt and grit can carry harmful bacteria so wash the wound — with water only — as soon as possible.

Check you are protected from a tetanus infection by ensuring you have had five doses in your lifetime — usually three as a baby, a booster when you started school and one at 14 or 15. If the wound is particularly dirty you may need another booster.

2. Clean and dress

Water is preferable to washing your graze with energy drinks — ideally pack a sterilising fluid with iodine in your kit or apply it as soon as you can.

Iodine scrubbing brushes can be helpful to get embedded grit out, as these can cause tattooing of the skin. If you have damaged tissue apply a cold compress to reduce swelling.

3. Apply antiseptic

Once dried, apply an antiseptic cream to a clean dressing pad and layer it over the break in the skin.

Change the dressing every day or two and check for any grit in the wound or signs of infection — these include increasing redness, heat and swelling around the wound, red streaks tracking up the skin, yellow or green discharge or increasing pain.

4. Take a bath

As the wound begins to heal you can speed up the process and ensure it remains free from infection and irritation by washing it daily.

If you have several wounds take a bath with sodium bicarbonate, which will also break down any dirt in the wound. Apply fresh dressings at bedtime in case you roll onto the wound in your sleep.

5. Stocking fixer

When you’re riding again protect the dressing with a Tubinette cover — a stocking-style bandage that goes over the pads to keep the dressing in place.

When your skin starts to heal and there’s no more fluid appearing on the dressing, expose it to the air as much as possible.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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