A couple weeks ago I bought a new road bike for commuting to work with. Part of the commute is along the beach bike path, so there's usually some sand on it. Last week my tires slipped on the sand and I scraped my leg a bit. There was quite a bit of blood and a lot of sand in the wound, but luckily I had brought a rag with me (it was clean, but I brought it thinking I might need it to wipe chain grease of my hands) and some sanitizing wipes so I was able to do a decent job of cleaning it until I got home. I used the rag to wipe up the blood so I could see what I was doing and also to wipe off as much excess sand as I could. I then poured some of my water over it, then used the wipes to clear up some more of the blood and try to get rid of more of the sand. I was about 12 miles from home and this was all I did before I got there.

There are few questions I have at this point.

Was there something else I could have done about the sand? I REALLY didn't want a ton of dirty sand in an open wound, but I also didn't want to rub the sand into it either.

Should I have used the ocean water to clear away more sand and further sanitize the wound? I considered going to the water to help cleanup, but I didn't want to get my feet sandy and socks wet, and wasn't sure if it would even help at all.

Should I have done anything else before biking back/while biking back?

It's been more than a week, and each day I've been putting hydrogen peroxide on it, letting it get as much air as possible, and then putting a band-aid on it. I'm a little concerned though, because it hasn't scabbed yet. It seems like the band-aid is absorbing everything that would be forming the scab. I would leave the band-aids off more, but I'm still biking into work and wearing jeans there. How should I be taking care of the wound now?

Any advice is appreciated!

  • I'm sorry, but this really has nothing to do with cycling itself. Voting to close. Aug 17, 2012 at 6:28
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    @NeilFein this is a fairly common topic in bike mags and commonly cited in the leg shaving discussion. I think this is very on topic. Aug 17, 2012 at 6:55
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    @BrianNickel - Yes, it's a clearly related topic, but this is not a cycling mag. The top-voted answer on this meta thread about medical advice seems to indicate that recovery is on topic, but first aid is not... I think? Will flag for mod attention, I think we can use some clarification. Aug 17, 2012 at 8:23
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    This is absolutely an appropriate topic for this stack exchange. It has A LOT to do with cycling.
    – Angelo
    Aug 17, 2012 at 11:42
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    This is why you should always have a full water bottle of clear water. The stream from a squeeze bottle will clean most sand out of the wound. Then after you get home and clean it up, keep the wound covered with a thin layer of petrolatum-based antibiotic cream, primarily to keep the wound from drying out. DO NOT use hydrogen peroxide!! It is a denaturing agent that prevents healing. Aug 17, 2012 at 11:57

2 Answers 2


The ocean is not sanitary! Especially around major cities, so if you were on a bike path, there is a good chance you are close enough to civilization to where the ocean is not good for your wounds. I grew up in a beach house in Hawaii and know that until the wound closes you don't want to go swimming, you can get it infected. Happened to my foot, frekn SUCKED! Samoans wash off in the ocean after they get tattoos, but they are not as industrialized as we are.

The sand itself is not really that bad, not as bad as the dirt that is mingled with it. Washing it out with clean water and covering it with that rag, as long as it didn't have grease on it, should have been good enough to get you home where you could clean it better. The problem you are having isn't so much with what you did the first hour or so but sounds more like what you did after you got home wasn't enough. Hydrogen peroxide is good, keeping it clean, make sure there is no sand in there. Band-aids are supposed to take the place of the scab, so that is why you are not scabbing up.

If you are sure it is clean and you keep it clean with fresh bandages you should be OK. Some wounds take 3 weeks to start to look better. If the skin around the wound looks red and swollen (as opposed to scraped up from the road rash) then you might need to break down and go to a DR. I hate going to the DRs more than the any one I know, but there are times when a bunch of people you don't know giving you medical advice just isn't good enough...

  • On top of the H2O2, I would use polysporin or a similar antibiotic ointment under the bandage. H2O2 will get rid of most of the bacteria at the time you apply it, but it doesn't stick around that long. Polysporin will stick around when the bandage is on and help to fight infection throughout the day.
    – Kibbee
    Aug 17, 2012 at 14:30

If it were me, I would be off to the doctor for professional advise.

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    I'm in the US, so it would be more cost-efficient to just buy a new leg.
    – mowwwalker
    Aug 17, 2012 at 4:33
  • @Walkerneo I joined just to like your comment. Well done sir. Aug 17, 2012 at 6:47
  • Your choice - the longer you leave it the more likely you will need to.......
    – mattnz
    Aug 19, 2012 at 3:24

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