"Every year, there are multitudes of minor and serious injuries from home improvement projects and even crafts," says dual-fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon John Peden, M.D., at Vero Orthopaedics. "From roof repair and landscaping to do-it-yourself home décor, fall projects can be fun and rewarding to accomplish, but they also come with some safety risks, so I wanted to share a list of guidelines for completing projects safely."

Be sure to follow the safety tips listed below to help avoid injuries when taking on a project.

  • Use the right tools—the right way: Ensure you have the proper tools for your project and know how to use them safely. Even hammering improperly can mean broken fingers. Additionally, deep cuts and even nerve injuries are common with scissors, craft knives and other small tools. Keep sharp objects away from children. 
  • Know thy tools: From drills and saws to sewing machines, lawn mowers, and weed whackers, be sure you know exactly how to operate a machine before you use it. To avoid a variety of traumatic orthopaedic injuries, make sure your machine is stable and holding your complete focus, and do not put your hand or arm near drill bits, moving blades, or needles before a machine is turned completely off. 
  • Dress for the job: Safely using equipment means wearing the right equipment, so be sure to have on eye protection, a dust mask, gloves and proper attire as needed (no dangling jewelry, loose sleeves, or baggy clothes that may trip you or get caught). If you have long hair, wear it up and out of the way. Shorts, bare feet, and sandals are also ill-advised for most tasks, so be careful with leg- and footwear.
  • Keep your space clean: Make sure you do your work in a well-lit, clean and dry area with stable surfaces. You should also place any tool not being used in a safe location to help you avoid tripping injuries, like bruises, strains, and wrist and ankle sprains. 
  • Take ladders seriously: To avoid fall-related injuries, such as fractures, shoulder or elbow dislocations, rotator cuff tears or more severe injuries, be sure to place ladders on a flat surface. Keep the weight centered and do not overextend to reach any item. Have someone on standby to hold the ladder stable.
  • Take a break when you need one: Taking breaks and varying your tasks can help prevent acute injuries, such as strains in your back, forearm, and upper arm muscles, as well as chronic injuries, such as shoulder tendinitis or elbow conditions, like cubital tunnel syndrome or tennis elbow. Listen to your body, especially if heavy lifting is involved. 

"If you sustain an injury while working with tools or doing heavy lifting and you feel any numbness, pain, or have loss of movement in your arm or other extremities, seek medical attention," says Dr. Peden. "Serious injuries should be seen by a specialist as soon as possible."

You can be safely seen for your arm and shoulder injuries by one of our elbow or shoulder experts when you need it. Call (772) 569-2330 or schedule an appointment online.

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