Medical treatment for turf burns

Updated April 17, 2017

For many athletes, turf burn is an unavoidable injury. Soccer, lacrosse and football players all may be subjected to the nasty rash or scrapes associated with sliding across artificial turf. However, without proper treatment, turf burn can be a dangerous gateway for infection.


The skin is the human body's armour, protecting you from internal injury, bacteria and infection. When that barrier breaks down, you are much more susceptible to illness, including the very dangerous staph infection. According to Miranda Hitti with WebMD Health News, one Connecticut school's college football team suffered from a massive outbreak of drug-resistant staphylococcus bacteria and the main culprits were turf burn and shaving nicks.

Turf burn creates tiny wounds in the skin, allowing bacteria, such as staph, easy excess into the body. As turf burn becomes infected, it can create weepy sores that continue to spread the bacteria to others, especially those with open wounds. When a skin infection is left untreated or is resistant to treatment, bone or bloodstream infections, or even pneumonia may develop. While turf burn may be unavoidable, it is paramount that the injury be treated and healed as soon as possible, restoring the skin's defensive powers.


The athletic trainers at Texas Christian University recommend a step-by-step course of treatment for turf burn. First, the afflicted area must be cleaned using soap and water. Working from the centre of the burn to the outer edge is most efficient, and frequently changing the gauze or sponge you are using will make the cleansing more effective. Use hydrogen peroxide to clean out any dirt, turf pieces or other remnants found in the wound.

Once the main part of the wound is clean, use Betadine to clean the outside edges. Then, using sterile saline, flush the wound and dry with sterile pads. Cover the wound with a hydrocolloid dressing, such as DuoDerm, because this type of dressing will absorb drainage. Continue to regularly clean the wound with water and redress until it is fully healed.


It is extremely important to keep an eye on the wound for signs of infection like redness, swelling, or sour smells. At the onset of any of these signs, seek medical attention. Additionally, practice extremely good hygiene to keep any infection from spreading to other members of the team.

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About the Author

Stormy Hickman has been completing freelance writing projects for three years, including research and script writing for the production of computer-based high school English curricula. Currently, she primarily researches and writes articles for eHow. Hickman holds a Bachelor's degree in English from Texas A&M University.