Friday, August 28, 2009

How To - Road Rash Care, Illustrated

A while back I did some pictures on road rash care with no pictures. To make things a bit clearer, here is a slightly abbreviated version with pictures.

Note: pictures taken August 25th. Crash occurred August 11th. Foot swelling has gone down some by August 27th.

Second Note: How the heck do pros keep going after they crash? And going and going and going? I am 100% wimp compared to them.

Back on topic...

Wound that needs redressing.

I don't bleed upwards, but I had my foot elevated for much of the time I had that Tegaderm patch on my foot. You can kind of ignore the fact that my foot is swollen up like a grapefruit - that's why I elevated it - it was so swollen before that I could barely feel my toes, and raising the foot well over my heart made it shrink to almost normal.

However, if you do crash, and your foot does look like this, go see your doctor. Mine had an ultrasound done on my leg to check for clots, and guess what?


Boo! Very bad! Clots bad. No clots good!

So I'm taking aspirin to thin my blood. If the clots were higher, I'd be writing this from a hospital bed. No kidding. Or not at all, if I couldn't use a laptop in there.

Anyway, the point of the first picture is that I have a dirty wound, and it needs dressing.

Using the first aid spray, we cleaned it up. Looks fake, right, like a movie set? I guess movie sets aren't that fake, it's just that we don't see that kind of stuff in real life too much.

Note it's clean, no dirt, no nothing. We don't go crazy, but we don't skimp with the first aid spray stuff either. You can see the Tegaderm ready for action. They are the 4" x 4.5" size, or $4 per piece.

Some antiseptic stuff on the wound. Bacitracin or something like that.

A 4" x 4.5" doesn't go far, does it.

The Tegaderm is like a bit sticker. You peel off the full backing. The Tegaderm has a window on it, with more backing surrounding it, so you put the window over the wound and put the Tegaderm on the person. Then you peel away the "window frame", the rectangular bit of white paper visible on the Tegaderm.

Make sure the area around the wound is dry. Tegaderm has adhesive on the skin side so stick it on the wound first (it won't stick to the actual wound because it's wet) and then press down around it.

In the background you can see the first aid spray, a generic CVS version in this case (they didn't have a brand version, and this is fine). It says "antiseptic wash", but it also claims to reduce pain. That's the numbing stuff, and you want the numbing stuff.

The missus starts to peel away the "window sill". The other Tegaderm patch is for my elbow.

More of it. The clear Tegaderm stays stuck to me.

Almost done.

Some padding for protection, held on by waterproof tape. We went vertical so pulling a sock on doesn't rip it off.

The Tegaderm is great because it sticks to the skin around the wound. It allows the wound to heal without drying it out so it prevents a scab from forming - the Tegaderm replaces the scab's function. The only problem with it is that Tegaderm has no cushioning properties - it's about as thick as a piece of plastic wrap.

Therefore you want to cover the Tegaderm with something a little more substantial, like gauze. This pads your wound, or, in the case of my ankle, makes it possible to put shoes on my feet without bringing me to my knees in agony. Gauze pads are especially useful for regular impact or rub areas - ankles, knees, elbows, hands or feet.

When the wound is almost healed, I skip the gauze. My elbow, even though it's a bit distant from healing completely, sits with just a layer of Tegaderm on it. Since it doesn't hurt much, it's okay.

To hold the gauze in place you can use ACE bandages, cling wrap (like ACE but more disposable), or the netting like the pros use.

Although I hope that no one has to use these tips, the reality is that if you race bicycles, you'll be dealing with road rash. When you do, proper treatment makes a huge difference in comfort during recovery as well as the time it takes to recovery completely.

Also, it really helps if you have a supportive and understanding spouse who can not only dress your wounds but does it in such a way that minimizes the pain level while doing so. Make sure you thank your spouse (or whoever is helping dress your wounds). I forget a lot because I get involved with the sensations of pain, but I have to remember to thank the missus more often. No matter how much I wince, how many times I catch my breath, ultimately I know that the procedure will result in a relatively comfortable, protected feeling.

So, to the missus, thank you for your help.

(And no, we didn't get into a fight or anything, but she's been doing this for two weeks, and without a single complaint or "I told you so" or all those other things that folks may imagine she could say. Instead she wants me to get better so that next year she can come out to the races to help and watch.)


Michele said...

I've also had good luck with DuoDerm (for bigger wounds) and BandAid Advanced Healing (for smaller wounds). Similar idea to Tegaderm but with more cushioning, especially when the moisture from the wound mixes with the magical goo on the dressing.

Best wishes for a quick recovery.

Anonymous said...

WOW! Look at the rock on that finger!

The Missus said...

You know how they say that "the camera adds 10 pounds", I think that it added some size to my diamond. It's .9 carats. Plus, I have very small fingers (size 4).

To the mister: You're very welcome.

Yokota Fritz said...

Ooh, feelin' woozy...