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Use Caution When Tackling Home Improvement Projects

With the recent pandemic, many are still taking advantage of the stay-at-home-time to complete home and yard projects. Foot and ankle surgeons urge homeowners to take appropriate precautions to keep your feet and ankles safe on any project by wearing proper foot gear.

Amber Shane, DPM, FACFAS, an Orlando-area foot and ankle surgeon and Fellow Member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, sees many patients coming in with foot and ankle injuries from home improvement projects gone wrong. “Feet may be the last thing people think about while working on home-improvement projects, but we see so many different types of foot and ankle injuries in our office – many of which can be avoided with proper shoe wear and extra caution,” Dr. Shane says.Woman working on a home improvement project.

Dr. Shane advises to avoid working in bare feet or in sandals when engaging in any projects around the house, even the projects that seem harmless such as power washing decks or using a ladder.

According to Dr. Shane, if not paying close attention while power washing and not keeping a firm grip on the machine, the washer can hit your own feet instead of your intended objects. “The pressure from a heavy-duty power washer is strong enough to take off the superficial layer of skin, especially on the toes. So, it’s best to wear fully closed-toed shoes to help avoid injury or damage to the skin,” she adds.

Dr. Shane recommends if you’re doing roofing work or projects that require climbing up and down a ladder, make sure you’re wearing a sturdy, supportive shoe with good treads on the bottom. “Sturdy shoes will provide proper traction to keep a good grip and prevent any slipping. Repeated climbing on ladders without good support can lead to injuries including stress fractures and neuromas or nerve compressions,” she says.

Working on wood surfaces, such as decks or flooring, it’s best to wear closed-toe shoes to save your feet from slivers or puncture wounds from nails or wood splinters. Dr. Shane suggests, “Avoid wearing flip flops or soft-soled shoes, such as popular foam-type clogs, while in a construction zone with exposed wood to help protect your feet from injury.”

Tackling a home project can be a fun experience, but if an injury happens Dr. Shane recommends contacting a foot and ankle surgeon near you to have the injury proper examined and treated or visiting the closest emergency room for serious injuries. To find a foot and ankle surgeon in your area, use the FInd an ACFAS Physician search tool.