If you’ve ever skinned your knee, stubbed your toe, scraped your elbow, slid on the carpet or taken a small tumble, then you’ve experienced what is known as an abrasion. Most often simply a minor injury, an abrasion is caused when your skin comes into contact with any rough or rigged surface, almost always with some sort of movement. Whether you’re running and you fall or a moving object collides with you, if there is damage to outer layers of your skin, then you have suffered an abrasion.

Most often with abrasions there is little to no bleeding involved and the chances of scarring is minimal. An abrasion isn’t as serious as a laceration, in which a deeper wound occurs and there is typically much more bleeding involved. However, some abrasions (an avulsion, for instance) can be very serious, and these occur when multiple layers of skin are damaged or even removed. In situations like these, scarring is almost certain.

Run-of-the-mill abrasions are most commonly referred to as “burns,” as in rug burns, rope burns, carpet burns, etc. These types of abrasions can be treated by simply cleaning the wounds and using a topical cream or ointment like Neosporin to help it heal quickly and to eliminate or at least minimize any pain or stinging sensations. More serious abrasions will most often require treatments including dressing the wounds and antibiotics.

As with most wounds, the healing time of abrasions will vary based on the severity of the injury and the methods of treatment. A mild, treated abrasion could take merely a few days to heal, whereas an untreated wound could take more than a week. The deeper the wound, the longer it will take to heal, obviously, so that is why cleaning the wound in a timely manner and using the right antibiotics is of the utmost necessity. Otherwise the wound could become infected and require further medical attention.

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