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Doctor’s Corner: Managing Skin Wounds In Sports

Skin wounds are frequent among athletes and other exercisers. There are four basic types of skin wounds in athletics (blisters fall outside of the context of
this article):

Abrasion: a wearing or rubbing away of skin tissue by friction.

Incision: a smoothly-cut skin wound made by a sharp object.

Laceration: a torn or ragged skin wound.

Puncture: a skin wound caused by an object piercing the skin and creating a small hole.

Initiation of wound care consists of cleansing the wound and the surrounding skin.

Infection in an open injury poses a potentially serious problem. Proper wound management is designed to prevent further exposure to bacteria and to cleanse the wound of dead tissue or foreign material.

Most simple ways to clean a wound is with cool water. You can hold the wound under running water or fill a tub with cool water and pour it from a cup over the wound.

Use antibacterial soap and a soft washcloth to clean the skin around the wound, but try to keep soap out of the wound itself because soap can cause irritation.

Use a clean cotton tipped applicator or tweezers that have been cleaned in rubbing alcohol to remove any dirt that remains in the wound after washing.
NB: Bleeding helps to naturally clean out wounds.

Most small cuts or scrapes will stop bleeding in a short time.

Wounds on the face, head or mouth will sometimes bleed a lot because these areas are rich in blood vessels.

NOTE:
To stop the bleeding, apply firm but gentle pressure on the cut with a clean cloth, tissue, or gauze.

If possible, elevate the wounded area above the heart. If the bleeding cannot be controlled in 20 minutes, it is recommended that you seek professional medical care.

Leaving a wound uncovered helps it stay dry and helps it heal. If it’s in an area that will get dirty with activity or be irritated by clothing, cover it with an adhesive strip (i.e Band-Aid) or with sterile gauze and adhesive tape.

Great idea to change the bandage each day or after sport participation or showering to keep the wound clean and dry.

Certain wounds, such as larger scrapes, should be kept moist and clean to help reduce scarring and speed healing.

Antibiotic ointments (i.e. Neosporin, Triple
Antibiotic) help healing by keeping out infection and by keeping the wound clean and moist.

NOTE:
If the wound ends up requiring stitches, your doctor will tell you whether to use an antibiotic ointment.

Scabs are the body’s way of bandaging itself.
It’s best to leave them alone and not pick at them. They will fall off by themselves when the time is right.

Here are some criteria that warrant a wound being treated by a physician or medical provider:

1) The wound is jagged.
2) The wound is on the face.
3) The edges of the cut gape open.
4) The cut has dirt in it that won’t come out.
5) The cut becomes tender or inflamed.
6) The cut drains a thick, creamy, grayish fluid.
7) The individual starts to run a temperature over 100°F.
8)The area around the wound feels numb.
9)Red streaks form near the wound
10)It’s a puncture wound or a deep cut and the person hasn’t had a tetanus shot in the past 5 years.
11)The cut bleeds in spurts.
12) Blood soaks through the bandage or the bleeding doesn’t stop after 20 minutes of firm, direct pressure.

NB:
When caring for another person’s wound, it is always recommended that you follow what are called “Universal Precautions” – avoiding contact with their bodily fluids by wearing medical gloves and by handling all bodily fluids as if they are known to be infected with HIV, HBV and/or other blood-borne pathogens (disease-causing agents).


The Author is Isaac Gabriel Otuk, the CEO of Fitness Health Nutrition Sports (FHNS) company.

THE FHNS brand provides sports medicine like injury management and REHABILITATION services, injury Prevention programs and performance enhancing services to Athletes from all sports disciplines in Uganda, East Africa and around the world through its Physical and online medical Platforms.

Mail – [email protected]
Phone – +256778092815

Read more of our Healthy Series Here

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