An injury that results in a break in the skin such as a cut or any torn or ragged wound is a laceration. Many times, a laceration can be the result of a sports injury or accident. There are five general types of lacerations:
Over-stretching: An over-stretching laceration would generally be caused by a single force contacting the skin at an angle either pushing or pulling the skin until it breaks. A perfect example of this would be a gunshot wound. The bullet pierces the skin at an angle, causing both expansion and compression which tears the skin beyond the initial impact.
Cut laceration: Perhaps the most common form of laceration, a cut is caused when any type of blade (knife, scissors, sawblade etc.) causes a break in the skin and/or the underlying tissue.
Split laceration: This is generally caused when a part of the body is crushed in between two objects. Not to be confused with a crush injury which is more severe, a split laceration happens when an object makes a blunt impact and tears the skin with compression caused by the impact.
Grinding compression: A grinding compression is caused when a blunt object makes contact with the skin at an angle or in a sweeping motion. Much in the same way a banana is peeled, a person’s skin is peeled back when this sort of injury occurs.
Tearing: A tearing laceration occurs when the skin is broken by an object and that break is then ripped because of pressure pushing the wound in opposite directions, causing a paper-like tear.
The first step in most skin injuries is to clean the affected area, and lacerations are no different. Preventing infection is of utmost importance. For minor lacerations, using a topical ointment like Neosporin is very effective along with the use of an adhesive bandage. Lacerations that extend below the top layer of skin or that are bleeding profusely should be brought to the attention of a medical professional, as they may require stitches or staples.
If you’ve suffered a mild or severe laceration, it’s very important to seek medical attention right away. Call Orthopaedic Associates of St. Augustine at 904-825-0540 or request an appointment online.