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How to Treat Minor Lacerations

First Aid for a Skater's Minor Cut or Wound


Inline and roller skaters often find themselves traveling over rough terrain or through scattered debris that could make them candidates for cuts or skin wounds that leave an opening in the skin. These cuts or lacerations can be any irregularly-shaped tear-like wounds that have been caused by a blunt trauma. They can include a variety of skating-related injuries from a small cut on a knee to a wide open gash on a thigh or arm. And the treatment for these wounds can range from a simple first aid treatment to professional medical attention including butterfly closures, glue, staples or stitches to close the laceration until it heals properly.

First Aid for Minor Lacerations

The most important thing to do as first aid for any laceration caused while skating is to stop the bleeding with direct pressure using a sterile pad. When the bleeding has stopped, the laceration wound area should be evaluated. Any laceration that continues to bleed after 10 minutes, or a wound that is deep enough to need stitches should be treated by a medical professional.

Minor lacerations can be treated on location or at home much like abrasion treatment. Just follow these steps:

  1. Remove any debris like glass, dirt, splinters, fibers or rocks from a minor laceration before cleaning it.
  2. Use tweezers to remove the smaller pieces of debris.
  3. After all visible debris is removed, rinse the wound with mild soap and clean tap or bottled water.
  4. Gently clean off the wound by using a non-alcoholic wipe, making sure to wipe in only one direction.
  5. Carefully apply an antibiotic cream or antiseptic ointment to the minor laceration.
  6. Cover the wound area with a clean sterile gauze dressing.

If you get a minor laceration, you can also use this video on how to care for the wound.

Seek Medical Attention for All Severe Lacerations

If you get a severe laceration while skating, seek professional medical attention right away. Call your primary medical care provider or urgent care medical services for these situations:

  • Wounds longer than one-half inch that are open and will not stay together
  • Wounds deeper than one-quarter inch that are open and will not stay together
  • Cuts that do not stop bleeding after 10 minutes of applying pressure
  • Any wound where nerves or tendons may have been affected
  • Any cut with something that cannot safely be removed embedded in the wound
  • All punctures caused by an animal or human bite
  • Lacerations that may have been contaminated by something that is dirty
  • All cuts on the mouth, hands, face or in genital areas

Important Laceration Tips:

  • If the laceration is contaminated, seek professional medical help as soon as possible for a tetanus vaccination.
  • Remember that foot lacerations have a high risk of contamination.
  • Any wounds or bites by animals also have a high risk of contamination or may even be infected by rabies.
  • Try using liquid bandages for minor lacerations to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Wear protective like rubber gloves when treating someone else.
  • Most lacerations can be handled by your doctor or at an urgent care center. A call to 911 should be reserved for wounds that are bleeding profusely.

Skating injuries are always lurking on the horizon. Some may be overuse injuries and others may be acute or traumatic. Make sure you know how to prevent, identify or get professional treatment for common inline skating injuries:

Please note this document has not been medically reviewed, and the information may not be medically accurate.

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