How to Treat Turf Burns

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Turf burn is a common injury among people who play sports -- especially football and soccer players. A turf burn is caused by friction, which generates heat and removes layers of skin, leaving a painful and unsightly "raspberry" abrasion. Proper treatment of turf burn is essential to speed healing, prevent infection and reduce the potential for scarring.

Step 1

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Apply pressure with a clean cloth or sterile gauze to stop bleeding. Bleeding from most turf burns generally will stop with a few minutes of pressure, although weeping of clear fluids may continue after bleeding has ceased.

Step 2

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Clean the turf burn abrasion with a saline solution, gently rinsing it to disinfect the wound and remove any dirt and debris that may be adhering to the damaged tissue. "Football Times" recommends adding 1/4 teaspoon of a noniodized salt -- such as sea salt or kosher salt -- to clean water to make a saline solution. Chemicals such as peroxide, iodine and alcohol can cause unnecessary pain and further damage the wounded skin.

Step 3

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Apply a hydrogel liberally to the surface of the turf burn. Hydrogel will keep the abrasion moist when it is dressed, a key element of proper healing for turf burns. According to a 2007 review article published in the "Journal of Athletic Training," moist wound dressings significantly reduce healing time, help prevent infection and reduce pain with abrasions such as turf burns.

Step 4

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Cover the turf burn with an occlusive dressing. The dressing creates a moist environment in which the abrasion can heal. Occlusive dressings are available at pharmacies and range from adhesive films to waterproof bandages. Any product that seals the area and keeps it moist will promote healing and help prevent scabbing and scarring.

Step 5

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Change the dressing after a day or two to ensure that the turf burn is still moist and shows no signs of infection, such as increasing redness or a foul odor. Apply more hydrogel and use a fresh occlusive dressing when rebandaging the turf burn. Most turf burns will heal within a week using a moist dressing. When you see that the abrasion is covered with new pink skin, you can remove the dressing.

Things You'll Need

  • Sterile gauze

  • Clean water

  • Non-iodized salt

  • Hydrogel

  • Occlusive dressing

Tip

Avoid reinjuring a turf burn by wearing protective clothing over the bandaged area.

Warning

If the turf burn causes severe pain or covers a large area of the body, seek medical attention immediately.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
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