turf burn

How to deal with a turf burn

Fact Checked

Turf burn is a prevalent injury among people playing sports especially soccer and football players. A turf burn is due to friction and removes layers of skin resulting to a painful abrasion. The area becomes raw and red, sometimes with minor bleeding. The affected area is severely painful and the soreness last for many days until completely healed.

Abrasions caused by friction from a turf grass should be cleaned properly to remove debris and grass that are embedded in the wound. A turf burn that is not properly treated can result to a secondary infection and there is a risk for scarring.


  • The hands should be properly cleaned before treating the burn to prevent the area from becoming infected by bacteria that enters the wound.
  • If the burn is painful and hot, run cold water over the burn for at least 5-10 minutes every hour or two. Avoid applying ice on the affected area to prevent further damage.
    Turf burn
    If there is bleeding in the area, apply pressure using a clean cloth or sterile gauze.
  • Do not wear clothing over the burn to prevent irritation on the area. If there is a need to wear clothes over them, cover it first with a bandage or gauze.
  • If there is bleeding in the area, apply pressure using a clean cloth or sterile gauze. Bleeding usually stops within a few minutes of pressure, but oozing of clear fluids continues even after the bleeding has stopped. Wash it gently using warm water and antibacterial soap. Remove all dirt and debris to prevent infection.
  • Clean the turf burn using saline solution. Add ¼ teaspoon of non-iodized salt such as sea salt or kosher salt to clean water. Mix until salt is totally dissolved. Clean the turf burn using this solution.
  • Apply hydrogel on the affected area to make it moist before covering. Moist wound dressings include adhesive films and waterproof bandages which seals the affected area, keeps it moist, promotes fast healing of the area and prevents scabbing and scarring. Change the dressing every day to guarantee that the burn is still moist and there are no signs of infection such as redness and foul odor. Apply hydrogel again and cover using a fresh occlusive dressing.
  • Apply the prescribed antibacterial cream on the turf burn.


  • Avoid playing sports until the turf burn is totally healed.
  • Turf burn usually happen in the elbows, knee, wrist, palm, forearm, chin and chest. Wear protective covering for the affected area such as wearing long sleeved clothing to lessen the severity of turf burn injury.

More Information

The details posted on this page on a turf burn is for learning purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage wounds, enroll in a first aid course with one of our training providers.





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