How to Treat a Minor Floor Burn

Woman roller blader on ground
 Getty Images/Dirima

Indoor inline skaters—and many other athletes—may occasionally get "floor burns,” shiny red patches that are created when an unprotected part of the athlete's body glides across a smooth wood, tile, plastic or coated cement surface as the result of a fall.

A floor burn is an abrasion that only disturbs the outer layer of skin (the epidermis) which provides protection to muscles and organs. These abrasions are similar to a first-degree burn and can usually be cared for without a medical professional's attention in about five minutes.

In order to properly treat a minor floor burn, be sure to evaluate the burn first, clean and treat it with sterile gauze and topical ointment, and keep an eye on it as it heals.

Identification and Treatment

The first step to treating any type of wound or abrasion is to first identify the severity of the wound. You can identify a floor burn by reddened skin that shows no blistering, which will not need professional medical attention, but make sure it's not more severe before applying your own treatment.

Once you're sure the wound doesn't require a doctor's visit, clean and treat the injury with a topical ointment like Neosporin to prevent infection, stop bacteria from growing in the wound, and to reduce the pain of the irritated area.

Like many other seemingly minor injuries, you should keep an eye on the affected area. If the floor burn shows any blistering, continues to hurt or shows any signs of infection, seek professional medical attention right away.

Preventing Floor Injuries

Unfortunately, falling while skating (or doing most indoor activities) is almost inevitable, especially when you are first learning a sport. The best way to prevent more major injuries than floor burns, you should always wear the proper safety gear—regardless of how uncomfortable or "uncool" they might make you feel.

While you shouldn't be too concerned with your overall health from floor burns, a more common injury when playing contact or high-speed sports like inline skating is a wrist injury or head injury. Learning to fall without hurting your wrist or head can go a long way in avoiding serious injury, though sometimes accidents resulting in head or wrist injuries are unavoidable.

There's an old saying that goes, "learn to walk before your run," and when applied to learning a new sport, make sure you know how to do the basics before you start attempting professional moves—and learn how to treat your minor injuries before you get major ones, too!