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Prevent Unnecessary Injuries with these Winter Safety Tips

fb-snowblowerEvery year the board certified orthopedic surgeons at the Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center see patients with injuries due to careless use of snowblowers, frostbite and falls on ice.  If you’re spending time outdoors in the cold winter weather, please remember these tips to help prevent an unnecessary trip to the doctor’s office or emergency room due to injury.

Use your snowblower safely

Snowblowers are a great way to quickly clear snow from your driveway and sidewalks, but they can also cause serious injury if used improperly.  Avoid dangerous situations and unnecessary accidents while using your snowblower.

Please remember…

• Snow can clog a snowblower, causing it to temporarily malfunction.
• Propeller blades can still be in motion, even when the machine is turned off.
• Making contact with moving blades or parts can result in severe injury.
• Never remove and safety devices on the snowblower.
• Fill snowblowers with gas outdoors – not in an enclosed area.  If using electric snowblower, be careful not to trip on or run over the cord.

Beware of Icy Sidewalks and Parking Lots

When you’re taking a crisp winter stroll in your neighborhood or walking through the parking lot at work, use caution after snow has fallen.  Sidewalks and pavement can be slippery resulting in falls that cause serious injuries to the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hands.  Follow these tips.

• Wear sensible boots with thick, non-tread soles and low heels. Keep these in your car in case you become stranded or encounter car trouble.
• Thoroughly salt or sand your driveway, walkways and sidewalks.
•Wait until snow/ice has melted before walking on salted surfaces.
• Look before you walk.  Surfaces can re-freeze during nighttime hours, making sidewalks and parking lots slippery in the morning.
• Walk slowly and carefully, taking small steps.

Hoverboard Injuries Segment on FOX59 News with Jeffrey A. Greenberg, MD

FOX59 News reporter Kyle Inskeep visited the Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center to do a segment on hoverboards and the dangers of using them.  Jeffrey A. Greenberg, MD provides information on how to prevent injuries and what type of injuries we are seeing at the Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center.

 

Hoverboards Causing Large Number of Broken Wrists and Other Injuries

One of the best selling gifts of the holidays were hoverboards (also called FloBoards or Handsfree Segway) and they are landing children and parents in the emergency room.  Hoverboards are a hands free device that riders balance on and are propelled by two wheels.  As of December 28 there were 70 reports of emergency room visits due to hover boards, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in a CNN article. Common injures from hoverboard accidents include fractures, strains, contusions and lacerations.

Hoverboards have been in the news after being banned from airlines and causing a variety of explosions and fires.  Amazon stopped selling some models due to quality concerns.  However, despite the bad press they remained one of the top selling must have gifts for Christmas this year.  The post Christmas novice hoverboard riders are flying off the somewhat mercurial boards, landing on their wrists, and then landing the patient a visit to the emergency room.  One emergency room in Indianapolis had 7 broken wrists from hoverboards the day after Christmas.  Comedian Stan Boardman , Boxer Mike Tyson and Congressman Carlos Curbelo are the better known adults who have fallen victim to hoverboard accidents. A search of the hashtag #hoverboardfail on social media is a trending topic on Twitter and Instagram.

“The Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center is seeing a significant number of these injuries locally.  We are an internationally recognized center for upper extremity care and would like to make sure parents and their children aware of the increased number of injuries from this new toy.” says Greg A. Merrell, M.D.

Dr. Merrell suggest the following precautions:

  • Wear a helmet
  • Wear wrist braces, elbow and knee pads
  • Have a spotter with you as you learn to ride
  • Practice on a carpeted surface to learn the feel of the board

Pumpkin Carving Safety Tips

pumpkin carving hand safety

pumpkin carving hand safety

Halloween is a fun holiday for the whole family to enjoy. Carving pumpkins has become as big a part of Halloween as Trick-or-Treating. Each year during the fall season, the Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center’s surgeons treat many adults and children who suffer from severe hand and finger injuries due to careless pumpkin carving activities. These injuries range from simple lacerations to more severe tendon and nerve injuries that can require extensive surgery to repair and may also result in a permanent loss of hand function. Most injuries result from knives slipping in an individual’s hand resulting in laceration to digital nerves and flexor or extensor tendons. A knife with to much applied pressure can also suddenly slice or puncture through a pumpkin resulting in a stab wound to the other hand which has been supporting or holding the pumpkin. Have a safe Halloween by following these tips.

  • Adults, not children, should always perform the pumpkin carving.
  • Never let children play with knives or pumpkin carving tools.
  • Allow the children to draw the pattern on the pumpkin and clean the seeds out of the inside of the pumpkin.
  • Utilize pumpkin carving kits. A serrated pumpkin saw is safer to use than a sharp knife. A large and very sharp knife is not the best tool to use to carve.
  • Prepare a clean, dry surface for carving. Any moisture on your hands, tools or table can cause slipping that can lead to injuries.
  • Thoroughly wash and dry hands and all carving tools before starting.
  • When you start your cutting, always cut away from yourself and cut in small controlled strokes.
  • If an injury occurs apply pressure to the wound with a clean cloth. If the pressure does not stop the bleeding after 15 minutes an emergency room visit may be required.

Safe Pumpkin Carving

pumpkin carving hand safety

pumpkin carving hand safety

Halloween is a fun holiday for the whole family to enjoy. Carving pumpkins has become as big a part of Halloween as Trick-or-Treating. Each year during the fall season, the Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center’s surgeons treat many adults and children who suffer from severe hand and finger injuries due to careless pumpkin carving activities. These injuries range from simple lacerations to more severe tendon and nerve injuries that can require extensive surgery to repair and may also result in a permanent loss of hand function. Most injuries result from knives slipping in an individual’s hand resulting in laceration to digital nerves and flexor or extensor tendons. A knife with to much applied pressure can also suddenly slice or puncture through a pumpkin resulting in a stab wound to the other hand which has been supporting or holding the pumpkin. Have a safe Halloween by following these tips.

  • Adults, not children, should always perform the pumpkin carving. Never let children play with knives or pumpkin carving tools. Allow the children to draw the pattern on the pumpkin and clean the seeds out of the inside of the pumpkin.
  • Utilize pumpkin carving kits. A serrated pumpkin saw is safer to use than a sharp knife. A large and very sharp knife is not the best tool to use to carve.
  • Prepare a clean, dry surface for carving. Any moisture on your hands, tools or table can cause slipping that can lead to injuries.
  • Thoroughly wash and dry hands and all carving tools before starting.
  • When you start your cutting, always cut away from yourself and cut in small controlled strokes.
  • If an injury occurs apply pressure to the wound with a clean cloth. If the pressure does not stop the bleeding after 15 minutes an emergency room visit may be required.

The Fall months ahead, here are a few safety tips to help prevent any upper extremity injuries

Ladder Safety

With the Fall months upon us the leaves are changing colors and falling to the ground. Many home owners will be raking and cleaning the leaves out of their yards and gutters. One of the tools used for this is the ladder. Ladders are very useful tools, but if not properly used you can hurt yourself. The most common injuries are dislocations and sprains, followed by fractures and open wounds. These injuries are typically severe and complicated secondary to the high degree of energy the body absorbs from a fall from a like this. Here are some helpful tips to use this fall.

  • Always inspect the ladder before use. Check for loose screws or damage.
  • Place ladder on a even surface.
  • Do not use the top step on the ladder.
  • Always maintain a 3-point contact (two hands and a foot or two feet and a hand) on the ladder when climbing and always face the ladder.
  • Do not extend the center of your body’s torso past either side rail of the ladder. Over-reaching or leaning to far to one side when you are on a ladder could make you lose your balance and fall.
  • Ladders should be set up at a 4:1 angle (1 ft out from the base for every 4 ft of rise)
  • Use the right ladder for the job. Extension ladders are ideal for use outdoors to reach high places like gutters on the roof.
  • Be sure all locks are properly engaged on the extension ladder before use.
  • If you would like further information Werner Ladders has provided a great “Ladder Safety Tips” brochure on their website. It is full of helpful illustrations and diagrams. Please visit their website and download the PDF file at http://www.wernerladder.com/catalog/files/rc310.pdf

    Ergonomic Rakes

    The task of raking the leaves out of the yard can be taxing and cause pain in your upper extremity. You can stretch before raking to warm up your muscles and make sure to take breaks often. The use of an ergonomic rake can greatly decrease the stress on your back and arms. Here are a list of a few ergonomic rakes.

    The Snake Rake

    http://www.snakerake.com/home.html

    Leaf Gard Brand Pivot Leaf Rake

    The ergonomic Leaf Rake

    http://www.ergonomics-info.com/ergonomic-rake.html