Thursday, June 12, 2014

Mowing the Lawn Barefoot?

Many people admit to mowing their lawns barefoot.  The feel of fresh cut grass is all too tempting… but don’t do it!

Please keep in mind that a lawn mower is a machine that uses a rotating blade at high speeds to cut grass. You should not mow your lawn barefoot or while wearing flip flops, sandals, or other open-toed shoes. The mower can cause flying debris, and wearing shoes helps you avoid stepping on hidden objects like twigs, rocks, mulch, broken glass, etc.

Wearing appropriate shoes also prevents your feet from turning green (caused by the chlorophyll in the grass).  Plus, if you have diabetes, going barefoot is generally a big no-no. Walking barefoot leaves you open to any number of injuries and if you suffer from neuropathy, you may not be able to feel that you are injured.

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, thousands of people are injured by lawn mowers every year. Types of injuries include cuts, burns, other infection-prone lacerations, broken bones (fractures), severed tendons, and amputations. Minor injuries and superficial wounds require immediate treatment, so flush wounds with water and apply antibiotics to prevent infections. For more serious injuries, surgical intervention is usually required.

Still, many people make the decision to mow the lawn barefoot after weighing the risks: their age, slope of the lawn, type of mower they will use (riding mower vs. push mower), mowing pattern, height of the grass, etc. Nonetheless, it is best to take safety precautions to avoid any serious injury.

  • The American Podiatric Medical Association suggests that you always wear hard-top shoes when operating a lawn mower.
  • Before you start mowing, remove objects like toys and yard tools off of the lawn.
  • Do not remove safety devices such as guards or shields from your lawn mower.
  • Try to use the “grass catcher” or “clip bag” that usually comes as an attachment to help prevent projectiles from causing harm.
  • Make sure you have firm footing at all times. Pay attention to the change in slope and terrain.
  • Do not mow the lawn if it is wet. This helps prevent slipping on the grass.
  • Do not use your feet to remove debris in lawnmowers. Use a stick or broom handle instead.
  • Never touch the lawn mower blade with your hands or feet, even if the engine is off. The second you free a jammed blade, it could start to spin and cause an injury.
  • Do not let children ride on a lawn mower — not even on the lap of a parent. A majority of injuries happen to children, and many doctors see foot injuries related to children who were riding as “passengers.” Typically, children fall off of the mower and get run over, resulting in serious injury/ amputation.
  • Do not mow while heavily medicated, intoxicated, sick, or overly tired.
  • Be sure you know how to stop the mower at a moment’s notice.
  • If you have to walk backwards, be careful to avoid running over your toes (yes, it does happen).
  • Continue to maintain your lawn mower to ensure that it is working correctly.

**Remember** If you like the feel of fresh cut grass you can always walk around your lawn without shoes and socks after you finish mowing it. To cut a long story short, don’t mow the lawn barefoot. Take care of your feet because they don’t grow back!

Community Foot Specialists - Podiatrists/Foot & Ankle Surgeons Serving Dayton and Springfield, Ohio Call today to schedule your appointment! (937) 426-9500

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