Use extra caution when operating a power lawn mower and avoid turning your lawn into a “toe-away” zone, surgeons of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) have warned.
The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission estimates more than 35,000 Americans are treated in hospital emergency rooms as a result of power mower-related injury each year.
“We still see too many foot injuries from power lawnmowers,” says foot and ankle surgeon and ACFAS Fellow Member James Thomas, DPM, FACFAS in Chicago. “The blades whirl at 3,000 revolutions per minute and produce three times the kinetic energy of a .357 handgun. Yet we see patients who have been hurt while operating a mower barefoot! Foot injuries range from dirty, infection-prone lacerations to severed tendons to amputated toes.”
If a mower accident occurs—even just a minor injury— Dr. Thomas says immediate treatment is necessary to flush the wound thoroughly and apply antibiotics to prevent infection. Superficial wounds can be treated on an outpatient basis, but more serious injuries usually require surgical intervention to repair tendon and toe damage. If you have suffered any sort of foot or ankle lawnmower injury, seek emergency care immediately and follow-up with a foot and ankle surgeon.
Thomas says children under the age of 14 and adults over age 44 are more likely to be injured from mowers than others. He advises anyone who operates a power mower to take a few simple precautions:
- Don’t mow a wet lawn. Losing control from slipping on rain-soaked grass is the leading cause of foot injuries caused by power mowers.
- Wear heavy shoes or work boots when mowing—no sneakers or sandals.
- Mow slowly across slopes, never go up and down.
- Never pull a running mower backward.
- Keep the clip bag attached when operating a power mower to prevent projectile injuries.
- Use a mower with a release mechanism on the handle that automatically shuts it off when the hands let go.
- Always keep children away from the lawn when mowing it.
To find a foot and ankle surgeon in your area, visit the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons’ patient education website at FootHealthFacts.org.
The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons is a professional society of over 7,200 foot and ankle surgeons. Founded in 1942, the College’s mission is to promote research and provide continuing education for the foot and ankle surgical specialty, and to educate the general public on foot health and conditions of the foot and ankle through its consumer website, FootHealthFacts.org. – PRNewswire