With Chrissie Wellington suffering from it, road rash must be in vogue at the moment, so here are our top tips for treating this abrasive condition.

Ouch! Road rash can put a serious dampner on training

Every triathlete has fallen foul of the dreaded road rash at some point. For those unfamiliar with the term, it refers to the unpleasant skin abrasions – or grazes, as your mum would call them – usually picked up by crashing your bike or stumbling while running. The abrasions are caused by the friction of soft skin hitting a hard surface, which means layers of skin are rubbed off. Most abrasions are not that serious and rarely break more than a couple of layers of skin, though high-speed bike crashes and full-throttle falls while sprinting can lead to deeper cuts. If this happens, it’s best to get it checked out medically – a deep cut may need stitches.

  • It’s impossible to prevent a case of road rash. But wearing protective clothing (such as below- knee tri suits, jogging bottoms or long-sleeve tops) helps, as longer trousers or shorts won’t come to your rescue.
  • After any road rash injury you should clean the wound. This prevents dirt and grime getting in and causing infection. It will sting a bit due to nerve ends in the skin being exposed, but soap and water will do.
  • While cleaning the wound, check for deep cuts that need greater medical attention. Cuts that bleed for more than 15mins after applying pressure, or that have edges that pull apart, will need stitches.
  • Cover the cut with a semi-permeable dressing. This will protect the wound and keep it moist, which is better for the healing process, as it helps new skin form. Change the dressing every few days until the wound heals.

This article was originally published in Triathlon Plus magazine – subscribe now to get the magazine delivered to your door every month.