Lawn care season is back, and unfortunately your feet are at risk. As a foot and ankle surgeon, I’ve been
consulted in the emergency department on lawn mower accidents time and time again. The blades of a
lawn mower whirl at 3,000 revolutions per minute and produce three times the kinetic energy of a .357
handgun, making a lawnmower running over your foot much worse than shooting yourself in the foot.
However, patients still insist on doing lawn care barefoot or only wearing open toed sandals. Please
read the following tips to preventing a lawn mower accident:
- Don’t mow a wet lawn. Losing control from slipping on rain-soaked grass is the leading cause of
foot injuries caused by power mowers.
- Wear heavy shoes or work boots when mowing – no sneakers or sandals.
- Don’t allow small children to ride on the lap of an adult on a lawn tractor. Children can be
severely injured by the blades when getting on or off the machine.
- Mow across slopes, never go up or down.
- Never pull a running mower backwards.
- Keep children away from the lawn when mowing.
- Keep the clip bag attached when operating a power mower to prevent projectile injuries.
- Use a mower with a release mechanism on the handle that automatically shuts it off when the
hands let go.
If a mower accident occurs, immediate treatment is necessary to flush the wound thoroughly and apply antibiotics to prevent infection. Superficial wounds can be treated on an outpatient basis, but more serious injuries usually require surgical intervention to repair tendon damage, deep clean the wound and suture it. Tendons severed in lawnmower accidents generally can be surgically reattached unless toes have been amputated.