Avoid Hand Injuries During Lawn and Garden Care
By Alex Ferrara, MS, OTR/L, CHT, Occupational Therapist and Hand Therapy Supervisor—Virtua Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation - Sewell
Spring is a great time to get outdoors and start working on your yard and garden. This also means you’ll be performing more hand-intensive activities that involve repetitive motions, using power equipment and hand tools—all of which increase your risk for hand injuries. Following some simple precautions can help you avoid injuries and enjoy these activities safely.
Lawn mower safety
Lawn mower injuries are a common cause of hand injuries. According to a 2018 Public Health Reports study, there were more than 51,000 lawn mower injuries between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2013, and about 65% of them involved the hand or wrist.
Common lawn mower hand injuries include:
These tips can help you stay safe while you’re mowing the lawn:
- Wear gloves when operating a lawn mower.
- Never put your hand or fingers near moving parts of the lawnmower.
- Don’t use your hand to unclog lawn mower jams. Turn off the lawn mower, remove the spark plug, and then use a stick or tool to clear the clog.
- Avoid touching hot parts of the lawn mower.
- Never lift a lawn mower from the bottom.
Gardening is a great activity, providing low-impact exercise, as well as personal satisfaction from creating beautiful landscaping to harvesting healthy fruits and vegetables. However, even gardening has potential for injuries, including:
- Puncture wounds from thorns
- Trigger finger from repetitive gripping and squeezing of shears or tools
- Tendonitis from repetitive wrist motions
These tips can help you stay safe while you’re gardening:
- Wear protective gloves to avoid cuts and puncture injuries.
- Use tools with large handles to avoid stress on finger joints.
- Wear protective gloves with padded palms to avoid friction on your palms when using tools.
- Avoid flexing your wrist too far up or down.
- Take a break every 20 or 30 minutes during long periods of gardening.
Following this advice can help you SAFELY enjoy a beautiful lawn and garden. If you need care for a wrist or hand injury, Virtua Hand Surgery and Rehabilitation offers a full range of services from physical therapy to minimally invasive procedures. Call 888-847-8823 for an appointment or information.
Updated April 22, 2020