At this time of the year here in Northern New Jersey there’s a sound most of us hear pretty regularly on the weekends: the whir of the lawn mower as homeowners engage in that weekly ritual of cutting the grass. A regrettable side effect of this spring/summer chore that we see at Paul Klein, DPM FACFAS is an increase in toe and foot injuries. According to the U.S. Products Safety Commission, there are over 37,000 injuries from power mowers each year. Sometimes activities that we do often become so routine that we forget to pay attention to potential dangers. Here’s are some do’s and don’ts to protect feet and toes from mower injuries:

Do: wear heavy shoes or work boots when mowing. Sneakers will not protect your feet if there’s an accident. Mower blades rotate at approximately 3,000 revolutions per minute—and yet, every year there are emergency room visits for toe amputations and severed tendons in patients that have been mowing barefoot!

Don’t: mow a wet lawn. This is the #1 cause of foot injuries. It’s very difficult to control a mower on slippery grass.

Do: make sure your children know not to come out on the lawn while you are mowing it.

Don’t: ever allow children to ride on your lap while mowing. The two age groups that have the highest incidence of lawn mower injuries are children under the age of 14 and adults over 44.

Do: mow a sloped lawn side to side, slowly—not up and down.

Do: keep the clip bag attached during the entire mowing season—this will prevent objects from shooting up from under the mower and hitting someone.

If you do sustain an injury from a lawn mower, even a minor one, seek treatment immediately. Many people don’t realize that dirty lawn mower blades carry an increased risk of infection. If your injury requires a trip to the emergency room be sure to contact our Wayne office by calling: 973-595-1555 for a follow up appointment with our podiatrist, Dr. Paul G. Klein.