What’s Wrong with This Picture?


Here at Long Island Foot & Ankle Group, PC we’d like to present a scenario that is commonly seen at this time of year in yards in Nassau County:

It’s Saturday morning. The grass is still a little wet from yesterday’s rain, but the lawn has to get mowed because you have other things to do this afternoon. You lace up your sneakers, survey the lawn, noting where the bigger sticks are to steer around and then hop on the mower and get to work. What’s wrong with this picture?

Each year more than 37,000 people sustain injuries from a power mower. In the scene above, the mower made several mistakes that could cost a toe or a foot:

  • Mowing a wet lawn—this is the number one cause of mower accidents. Mowers slip and slide on wet grass, making it difficult to control where they go.
  • Wearing sneakers—mower blades rotate at a rate of 3,000 revolutions per minute. That’s more kinetic energy than a .357 handgun! It can cut canvas to shreds in seconds. Always wear work boots or other heavy shoes when mowing.
  • Not clearing your lawn or using a clip bag – seemingly harmless sticks and other debris in your lawn can become dangerous weapons when launched at high speed from the blades of the mower.

Precautions for Children

In addition to the common errors above, many young patients are victims of mower accidents—in fact, the two most frequently injured age groups are children under the age of 14 and adults over the age of 44. Although a ride on the mower may look like fun, many children have received grave foot, toe and ankle injuries in the process of getting on and off a mower. Another danger is children playing on the lawn or trying to get your attention while you are mowing. Demonstrate to your child how loud the lawn mower is and explain to them that you cannot hear them when it is on. Establish clear rules about staying off the lawn while it is being mowed.

Our foot and ankle surgeons Dr. Russell Caprioli, Dr. Mary Ann Bilotti, Dr. John Haight and Dr. Marzana Mleczko would like to see zero mower injuries among our patients this year. We encourage proactive foot health care. Ask your podiatrists for other tips on your next visit to our Valley Stream (516-825-4070) or Lake Success (516-327-0074) office.