Anyone who plays sports or workouts in a gym, probably knows of or has experienced mat burn. This occurs when the skin is rubbed hard against certain surfaces, and the friction heat leaves a burn on the skin. It causes the same type of tissue damage as first degree burns, and can lead to more serious infection if not treated properly and immediately.
Common Surfaces Of Mat Burn
Mat burn can be caused by skin rubbing on surfaces such as wrestling mats, studio floors of martial arts schools, basketball courts, football equipment and pads, and weight machines. It is very common, but can often lead to other much worse maladies than just a burn or scrape.
Dangers of Mat Burn
The places where mat burn is usually associated with are known breeding grounds for MSRA (antibacterial resistant Staph germs). If not treated immediately MSRA can set in and spread through skin to skin contact. It can also lead to ringworm fungus diseases. These include athlete’s foot, jock itch, and hepatitis and impetigo. That is a rash of tiny sores, which ooze pus and germs, and are extremely infectious. To prevent these infections from spreading certain steps can be taken before and after getting mat burn.
To prevent mat burn from ever happening, all athletes should wipe down the surfaces where they will be playing, working out, etc. A combination of bleach and mat cleaner should be used on the walls and surfaces of the equipment they will be using. Players should always shower before and after using an antifungal and antibacterial soap, especially when skin to skin contact may occur.
What to Use on Mat Burn on Skin
As soon as it happens, the area must be cleaned with Hibiclens, an antimicrobial cleanser effective against MRSA. Sterile gauze should be put on it, and sterile tape used to hold it. Every 6-8 hours it should be cleaned with Hibiclens, until the scab is gone and the redness healed. Full contact sports should be avoided to stop the potential spread. If small white bumps appear, this may be MSRA, and a visit to the hospital should be immediate.