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What is Road Rash?

Inline Skating Falls Can Cause Abrasive Injuries


Inline skaters who skate indoors at roller rinks or sports centers are familiar with ‘floor burns” - those shiny red patches that show up when an unprotected part of the body slides across the skating surface during a fall.

Outdoor inline skaters occasionally experience a similar but much more invasive injury when a fall slides across cement, asphalt or gravel. These abrasions are called “road rash.” Road rash is a common injury resulting from cycling crashes, but not as common for inline skating falls. However, it is still a good idea for skaters to know how to recognize and treat these injuries. Although road rash is not serious if treated promptly and properly, it is a burn-type injury that can lead to serious infections if ignored.

Several factors affect the severity of road rash:

  • Impact speed - Fast skating will generate more impact force and cause deeper wounds.
  • Sliding distance - Sliding falls make more road rash than tumbling or crashing.
  • Surface texture - Rougher roads or trails will have a more abrasive effect on skin.
  • Surface condition - Surface debris like rocks or glass will cause additional damage to skin.

How to Prevent Road Rash

Prevention is the best cure. Wear your protective gear and choose clothing that will protect exposed areas of skin while still allowing comfort and movement.

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

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