When you tackle home and yard projects this summer, be sure to protect your feet and ankles.
"Feet may be the last thing people think about while working on home-improvement projects, but we see so many different types of foot and ankle injuries in our office -- many of which can be avoided with proper shoe wear and extra caution," said Dr. Amber Shane, a foot and ankle surgeon in the Orlando, Fla.-area.
She offered several safety tips.
Her No. 1 tip is a must: Don't work in bare feet or sandals when doing projects around the house or yard, even something as seemingly harmless as power washing your deck.
For example, if you don't pay close attention while power washing and don't have a firm grip on the device, the washer spray could hit your feet instead of the intended target.
"The pressure from a heavy-duty power washer is strong enough to take off the superficial layer of skin, especially on the toes," Shane said in an American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons news release. "So, it's best to wear fully closed-toed shoes to help avoid injury or damage to the skin."
When doing roofing work or projects that require use of a ladder, wear sturdy, supportive shoes with good treads on the bottom to prevent slipping.
"Repeated climbing on ladders without good support can lead to injuries including stress fractures and neuromas or nerve compressions," Shane added.
To prevent puncture wounds or slivers, she recommended wearing closed-toe shoes when working on wood surfaces such as decks or flooring.
"Avoid wearing flip-flops or soft-soled shoes, such as popular foam-type clogs, while in a construction zone with exposed wood to help protect your feet from injury," Shane said.
If you do suffer a serious foot or ankle injury, go to the closest emergency department, she advised.
The American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society has more on foot and ankle health.
SOURCE: American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, news release, July 2, 2021