Thursday, August 2, 2012

Coconut Oil for Road Rash from Hazardous Exercise

My bike accident a few days ago left me with bad road rash. To help keep it from getting infected, I've been applying coconut oil to my scrapes and rinsing my mouth with it. In my last post, I linked to a couple of papers about coconut oil's ability to kill certain bacteria, and in some cases, its superiority over traditional antibiotics. So far, I don't have any infection.

What has surprised me is how fast my scrapes are healing. I don't have a photo of myself from four days ago, but the pink spot on my chin was a bad scrape, so red the nurse called it a cherry. She put two bandages on it. Here's how it looks today:

This isn't Photoshopped--there's just a rosy pink spot of intact skin and no scar. Same story with my knee. Look very closely above my kneecap and you can see the thin brown outline of where a large bandage was.

I didn't bother applying coconut oil to a scrape on my foot. It was small, so I figured it would be fine on its own. After a few days, though, I started putting coconut oil on it, too. (In fairness, the nurse didn't clean this one since it was hidden by my sock.)

I've been using unrefined coconut oil, applied twice a day.

This misadventure has got me thinking about the cult of exercise. How many injuries come from "healthy" exercise like biking, running, and other sports? When I worked at the Air Force Academy, where cadets are required to play a sport, around 10% of them at any time were in a cast. The receptionist at the orthopedic doctor's office said they saw bike injuries all the time; my best friend mentioned she flipped over on her bike last week; my dentist's wife broke her thumb the same way. Listen in on a few random conversations at the salon or the break room and you'll hear someone saying they got injured in an exercise class. Look at any running magazine and you'll see an article on injuries.

If you're really good on a bike or need it for transportation, I wouldn't discourage you from riding one. Same if you enjoy a sport so much you're willing to suffer the inevitable injuries. But I'd like to see an end to the idea of somewhat hazardous recreation passing for being part of a healthy lifestyle. Various studies have shown that huffing and puffing doesn't do much for weight loss (see Dr. Briffa's blog). For weight loss, diet is where it's at. Next time someone goes on about healthy exercise like biking, feel free to send them this photo.

Injury from falling off a bike. Not shown: a broken tooth, two displaced teeth, braces, and a fractured arm.


Angel said...

I've always used lavender essential oil on my scrapes, which does help them heal faster, but this sounds interesting too. I would imagine it would be even better for the skin (well, at least dry skin) since the oil would help retain moisture (under the skin's surface, where it needs to be).

I completely agree with you about the cult of exercise. Unless you are doing it because you REALLY enjoy it and are therefore willing to tolerate the occasional and inevitable injury, why bother? My primary physical hobby is napping, which I do as often as possible. :)

Lori Miller said...

That makes sense--lavender is also a natural antibiotic, put to good use in World War I, as I recall.

I talked to a guy today whose sister-in-law spent two weeks in a coma from a bike accident.