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Hill: Power mowers pose dangers to feet

Hill: Power mowers pose dangers to feet
Hill: Power mowers pose dangers to feet
Dr. Josh Hill

Lawn care season is back, and Harrison County foot and ankle surgeon Dr. Josh Hill cautions homeowners to protect their feet and the feet of those around them when using rotary-blade lawnmowers.

Each year, some 25,000 Americans sustain injuries from power mowers, according to reports issued by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission.

“The blades whirl at 3,000 revolutions per minute and produce three times the kinetic energy of a .357 handgun,” said Hill, a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. “Yet, each year we continue to see patients who have been hurt while operating a lawnmower barefoot.”

Hill said children younger than 14 and adults older than 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.

Don’t allow small children to ride on the lap of an adult on a lawn tractor. Children can be severely injured by the blades when getting on or off the machine.

Mow across slopes, never go up or down.

Never pull a running mower backward.

Keep children away from the lawn when mowing.

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.

“If a mower accident occurs, immediate treatment is necessary to flush the wound thoroughly and apply antibiotics to prevent infection,” said Hill. “Superficial wounds can be treated on an out-patient basis, but more serious injuries usually require surgical intervention to repair tendon damage, deep clean the wound and suture it. Tendons severed in lawnmower accidents generally can be surgically reattached unless toes have been amputated.”

For more information about this and other foot and ankle injury topics, visit FootHealthFacts.org, the consumer website of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.

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