Climbing that tough rope in your gym or playing tug of war with your friends, you suddenly notice some abrasions on the top layer of your skin due to the rope. Sounds familiar, right?
Rope burns are something that people are becoming aware of nowadays. However, most people do not know how to treat those burns. Although considered to be harmless, rope burns can become a serious concern if not treated properly.
So let us go then, explore more about how to treat those painful rope burns.
What is a rope burn?
Before we delve further, we should know the basic definition of a rope burn. Rope burn is a type of a frictional burn which is caused due to rapid or repeated movement of coarse rope against the skin. It abrades the skin resulting in the formation of blister, redness or puffiness in those areas. It causes immense irritation and can also lead to bleeding.
Rope burns can range from mild ones like scrapes or grazes to a more severe condition which involves removal of several layers of the skin leading to a situation known as skin avulsion. Whatever the degree of burn be, it should be mentioned that rope burn definitely causes immense suffering and discomfort wherever it happens.
Some rope burns treatments
As mentioned earlier, rope burn can be superficial like affecting only the top layer or it can go very deep, exposing many layers of skin even up to the bone. The treatments are generally based on the degree of the burn caused.
However, immediate first aid should be applied to the affected area to prevent further infection. Upon encountering rope burns, one should follow the mentioned procedures:
Assess the wound
Always determine the severity of the burn caused before moving further into any treatment. Check the size and shape and degree of the burn formed.
If the size of the burn is larger than 2 to 3 inches, then immediately call the doctor and ask for medical help.
Clean the wound
- The first step in the treatment of rope burns is to clean the wound.
- Rinse the area thoroughly to avoid infection in the future.
- Cleaning of the wound should take place by using cool and running water.
- Remove every dirt and grime from the wound. If running water is not available, use cold compresses or standing sterilized water can do the work.
However, remember not to use ice as it can damage the wound further. Use a sterilized tweezer to remove anything that is stuck in the wound but avoid pulling anything forcefully from the scar. Always remember to not to abrade the wound further.
Cover the wound
If it is a first-degree burn, proper first aid treatment at home can do all the wonders.
After cleaning the wound thoroughly and making sure that nothing is stuck inside of it, apply a layer of aloe topically over the affected area. Aloe will speed up the healing process and will also cool down the infected zone.
Following the application of topical aloe vera, cover the wound with clean and dry gauze or a bandage. Make sure not to wrap it up tightly and instead do it lightly so that proper airflow is available in that infected area.
Rope burn treatments if you have first-degree burns
If you are suffering from a first-degree burn and solely dependent on the first aid treatment, then your job does not end at just covering up the wound.
Make sure you take proper care of the injury every day. Change the bandage once in a day and keep it clean and dry. Assess the wound every day and clean the area if possible. Before applying back the bandage, do not forget the application of the topical aloe.
Rope burn treatments if you have mild pain
If you are suffering from a mild pain from the superficial graze, then over the counter medications can help you to alleviate the pain.
Now you may ask the question, what if the person is not suffering from a first-degree burn and it is more serious than it seems. Well, we are getting to that part now.
When to see the doctor?
Most of the rope burns are superficial and responsive to home treatments. However, it has been observed that a first-degree burn has worsened over time even with proper treatment and medications.
So always consult a doctor or ask for an extensive medical treatment whenever you encounter the following symptoms
You have received a second-degree rope burn and had no tetanus for five years or more.
- You have a significant amount of pain and no pain killers can help in alleviating it
- Redness, puffiness or different signs of infection is developing around the wound.
- Charred black or white waxy appearances are forming around the wound or heavy bleeding is taking place and dirt or some rope parts are still tuck in the wound.
- The infection gradually deteriorates over time. Oozing of the pus out of the wound takes place.
- High fever and nausea and immense throbbing of the area.
- Apart from any one of the above-mentioned symptoms, if you are generally concerned about the rope burn or if it is taking a long time to heal the wound, consultation with the doctor would be the best option available.
A first-degree burn generally takes three days or up to a week for complete palliation with help of some in-house medications. However, if the severity of burns is higher, it usually takes more time to heal. Sometimes, skin grafting or some other similar surgeries are recommended to mend the infected area.
Prevention from rope burns
Prevention is always better than cure.
- Cover your skin with a cloth when you have to do anything with a rope.
- If you are hitting the gym and need to do some exercises with the rope, always make sure to check the ropes before using it.
A rope which is weakened or frayed in some points can worsen rope burns.
- Wear special neoprene gloves used generally for climbing so that your hands don’t have to suffer the burnt from the ropes.
Rope burns can be painful and uncomfortable, however, with some proper preventive measures, one can easily avoid those.
Nevertheless, even if you suffer from rope burns now onwards, you do know what to do. Proper medications and treatment will be able to reduce any pain caused due to rope burns.