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An abrasion is a type of injury that frequently occurs when we have an accident. In minor accidents, small abrasions may be the only injury sustained. However, abrasions can also be accompanied by cuts and bruises or more serious injuries. In this article we look at abrasion injuries, how they are likely to occur, distinguish them from bruises and lacerations, set out the different degrees of laceration injury and explain how abrasion injuries are treated.

Common Causes of Abrasion Injury

The most common cause of an abrasion injury is where an exposed part of the body is rubbed forcefully against a rough surface. The areas of the body that are most likely to be affected are those where the skin is thin, such as the knees, elbows and ankles. These areas are also more likely to bear the brunt of a fall or skid onto or against a hard surface.

Differences Between Abrasions, Bruises and Lacerations

Abrasions are principally friction injuries. They do involve the surface of the skin being broken but may not necessarily cause bleeding. Bruises, conversely, involve impact damage beneath the surface of the skin but do not involve the surface of the skin being broken. Lacerations, which involve the surface of the skin being penetrated, tend to occur when a sharp object, such as a knife, splits the skin open. Lacerations invariably cause bleeding, and can be fatal according to the depth of the wound.

Degrees of Abrasion Injury

The size and seriousness of an abrasion is determined by the amount of skin that is affected by the abrasive surface, the roughness of that surface and the force with which the skin comes into contact with it. There are three basic degrees of abrasion injury.

  • First Degree

These are the mildest abrasion injuries, where only the outermost layer of the skin is injured.

  • Second Degree

Second degree abrasions are somewhat more serious, with both the outer and second layers of skin being injured.

  • Third Degree

The most serious of the three types of abrasion injury, the outer, second and subcutaneous skin layers are all affected.

Treatment for Abrasions

The treatment for an abrasion depends on the degree of the injury. For first and second degree abrasions, the treatment is normally limited to ensuring that the wound is clean. It is essential that third degree abrasions are also cleaned and treated properly and the administration of painkillers may be required because this degree of abrasion can be extremely painful. If in any doubt about your injury, especially if it does not appear to be healing naturally after around a week, if it becomes red, swollen or hot or if you notice a discharge from the wound, you should take immediate medical advice.

Many abrasions arise as a result of an accident. If you believe that you have sustained an abrasions injury that was caused through the negligence of someone else, you may also wish to take expert advice from a personal injury solicitor in addition to seeking the necessary medical advice and treatment.