386-788-HAND

(386-788-4263)

Snowblower & Lawnmower Injuries

Introduction

Although snowblowers and lawnmowers have made life—or at least home maintenance—considerably easier, these machines have the potential to cause severe damage to the hands. Usually, these injuries occur when the operator tries to remove an object that is “stuck” in the machine. As one might imagine, the blades of blowers and mowers are quite sharp and therefore can cut through all of the structures in the hand—even bone!

How to avoid injury

There are several key safety tips that can keep you out of the office of a hand surgeon:

    1. Never put your hand or fingers near the moving parts or intake or output areas of snowblowers or lawnmowers. If there is an object in the way of any part of the machine, the machine should be turned off and the spark plug disconnected (or power cord unplugged for electric models) before attempting to remove the object. Objects should then be removed with a tool and not the hand or fingers.
    2. Snowblowers and lawnmowers should also be turned off, spark plug disconnected, and unplugged when they are being moved or picked up.
    3. Do not try to lift a machine from the bottom; even if a lawnmower is not running, the blades are sharp enough to cause serious injury.
    4. Wear non-slip, closed-toe shoes to prevent slipping under the machine. Also, gloves can be somewhat protective, but the force of the machine still can cause extensive damage despite glove use.
    5. Never allow children to operate or be near the machine while in use.
      What to expect if you sustain a snowblower or lawnmower injury
      Unfortunately, these injuries can be extremely severe and often lead to multiple finger amputations. Infections are common and antibiotic medicines usually are necessary. Frequently, multiple surgeries are needed to clean wounds and repair damaged tissue. Unfortunately, most patients with these severe injuries never recover full, normal use of the hand. Oftentimes, fingers have been partially or completely amputated, and remaining parts might not have full motion or feeling. Multiple surgeries and many months of hand therapy are usually necessary to maximize movement and function.

Future treatments

There is much research underway to improve repairs and reconstructions of mangling hand injuries. Medicines that are placed during an operation might improve nerve healing. Newer suture methods and materials might help improve movement of fingers after surgery. Advances in microsurgical techniques have improved the results of replanted fingers and hands, but if the fingers are too severely crushed and damaged, they might be beyond repair. Prevention of injury by careful operation of these machines is the best approach!

Picture warning to remove hand

Figure 1: After the machine is turned off and unplugged, any obstruction should be removed with a tool and not the hand or fingers


Orange City Office

2777 Enterprise Road, Suite 1
Orange City, FL 32763
(situated in the Florida Health Care building)
Tel : (386) 218-4920
Friday 8.00am to 3.00pm

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Port Orange Office

3635 S. Clyde Morris Blvd., Ste 900
Port Orange, FL 32129
(situated in the Surgery Center of Volusia Building)
Tel : (386) 788-4263
Fax: (386) 788-0679
Monday to Friday 8.00 am to 5.00 pm
Society Memberships
  • American Society for Surgery of the Hand
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • Florida Medical Association

Palm Coast Office

315 Palm Coast Parkway NE, Suite 4,
Palm Coast, FL 32137
(situated in the Florida Health Care Plans building)
Tel : (386) 246-3063

Mondays 8.00 am - 3.15 pm
Society Memberships
  • Florida Orthopaedic Society
  • Volusia County Medical
    Society
  • University of Florida Hand Fellows' Alumni Association

Edgewater Office

239 N. Ridgewood Ave, Suite 1
Edgewater, FL 32132
(situated in the Bert Fish Medical Center - Edgewater building)
Tel : (386) 410-4972

Wednesdays 8.00 am - 3.00 pm
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