Gravel Rash Treatment

Gravel Rash is a term that was obviously coined prior to roads having a paved surface and the advent of paved sealed roads led to the term road rash coming into common usage. It does not matter what you call it, it hurts like mad.

Many of us remember those early days of learning to ride a bike or skateboard and taking off the obligatory layers of skin that seemed to come with the territory of mastering a new wheeled transportation device. My how quickly those injuries healed in hindsight!!


When one of your road cycling mates hits the deck first thoughts turn to concern. The obvious and painful gravel rash can be a distractions from other more serious injuries such as spinal injuries, head injuries and fracture. Take some time with your fallen comrade and let them catch their breath.

  1. Stop giggling.
  2. Complete a head to toe check 
  3. If badly hurt call for help, giving some accurate location information, keep your mate warm (some superfine merino wool cycling gear would be very handy at this point in time) and manage for a spinal injury if you suspect this may be a possibility.
  4. Take a photo for posterity.
  5. If they are able to ride back home, check for damage to the bike


Time for some first aid on the rash and abrasions.

  1. Get yourself in the shower and grit your teeth, it is going to sting. You have exposed multiple nerve ending on the skin to the open air and there are a bunch of pain receptors there!! Once the pain subsides and it will, eventually give the rash area a gentle clean with a soft wash cloth, removing gravel and dirt from the wound.
  2. I found getting into a warm bath with two tablespoons of salt dissolved in the water to be the next best step. Continue cleaning this hard to clean sections. If you have some hair in and around the wound in place that you have not previously shaved, this is the best time to get rid of those with a clean razor blade. Yes it hurts, but it will make applying dressings much more efficient in our next steps.
  3. Use a clean towel and pat the area dry. Have another look to check for any foreign objects in the wound. If you have a significant rash wound apply a Duoderm ( dressing. These are amazing, they have a gel-like substance impregnated in the dressing that acts like a layer of skin, cooling and protecting the exposed skin below. Tape this dressing on using some Fixomull (Hypoallergenic Adhesive Non-woven dressing tape) and aim to leave it in place for a number of days. It will leak like mad and ooze all over your clothing and bed sheets. I managed this by wearing cotton shorts and sleeping on a bath towel.
  4. The Duoderm helps the wound to heal much faster than traditional dressings. Fixomull works well on small/light wounds, allowing fluid to drain through the fabric. It can get a little wet and can be cleaned off with a wet cloth. It will remove healing skin if pulled of dry from your wound. Either leave it until you are sure the wound is healed or soak it in warm water/use an adhesive removal spray (Brava)
  5. Keep a close eye out for infection, looking for swelling, redness, extra tenderness.
  6. I found that there was an unpleasant smell coming from the Duoderm dressing after four days and chose to remove it at this point. There was a significant amount of healing that had already taken place. I gave the wound another clean use a saline solution and covered it with the Fixomull tape.
  7. Four days later the wound was healed, the Fixomull tape removed. The new skin is pink and raw at this stage and needs regular application of moisturiser and protection from exposure to the sun.
  8. Time to get back on the bike and keep it upright!


If the road takes away some of your skin, there is a big chance that your wool cycling jersey, bibs and or knicks will need replacing. We offer a generous crash replacement discount to help heal those wounds and get you back on the bike quicker. Check out our crash replacement offer.

“Crashing is part of cycling as crying is part of love.”— Johan Museeuw, “The Lion of Flanders” Belgian cyclist