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How to Treat a Rope Burn

By Robert Preston ; Updated July 27, 2017

A rope burn is a painful injury. Rope burns essentially are friction burns, caused by your skin being passed over a rough surface at too high of a speed, such as if you were to slide down a climbing rope without properly slowing your decent. Depending on the severity of the burn, you can lose one layer of skin or several, resulting in large open sores. These are prone to slowly oozing in the time immediately following the injury, before proper care is taken and the wounds scab over.

  1. Apply a compress of gauze to the open wound to stop any bleeding. Hold the gauze to the injury and apply pressure if there is any bleeding until it stops. While painful, it is essential that the bleeding be stopped for further cleaning.

  2. Check the area around the burn for signs of any further injury beyond the burn, such as a finger that has been injured in the fall and appears swollen or out of position.

  3. Clean the injured area carefully. Remove any gravel or dirt in the open wound, then rub the wound with an alcohol swab to disinfect the injury.

  4. Apply anti-bacterial cream to the burn. This cream will help ensure that the wound does not become infected while it is open and more susceptible to infection from dirt or other outside objects.

  5. Wrap the burn in a bandage. If the wound is larger than any bandages you own, use gauze and then secure the gauze with a bandage or a wrap.

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