Lawnmower Accidents Cause Thousands of Foot Injuries
Your lawn could become a "toe-away" zone if you’re not careful when operating rotary-blade lawn mowers.
The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission estimates more than 37,000 Americans suffer a power mower-related injury each year.
"We still see too many foot injuries from power lawnmowers," says foot and ankle surgeon James Thomas, DPM, FACFAS. "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—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 damage, deep clean the wound and suture it. Tendons severed in lawnmower accidents generally can be reattached surgically unless toes have been amputated.
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.
- Treat your injury right away.
- If you have suffered any sort of foot or ankle lawnmower injury, consult a foot and ankle surgeon right away.