An abrasion is the damage inflicted on the superficial layers of the skin (epidermis) by friction or pressure. An abrasion may be sustained by sliding on a rough carpet, producing what is commonly called a rug burn. A much more extreme version of an abrasion is the injury produced when a pedestrian is knocked to the pavement by an automobile, sustaining extensive friction injuries to the skin on various parts of the body. These injuries are commonly called road burn or road rash. While abrasions may be lacking in specific detail to allow an instrument of causation to be identified, some abrasion patterns may be very specific. These may include the abrasions resulting from a rope used as a ligature around the neck or extremities and rubbed against the skin, called ligature marks. Abrasions can also be caused by the irregular surface of the shoe sole or by an electrical cord used as a whip ( Fig. 257-1 ).
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