Rohde Photo(As seen on Fox 2 Detroit "The Ladies Room")

Clear the Way Before You Clear the Snow

Updated: Friday, 18 Dec 2009, 3:20 PM EST
Published : Friday, 18 Dec 2009, 3:20 PM EST

By Dr. Rachel Rohde
Beaumont Hospital - Royal Oak

Snowblowers and lawnmowers have made our lives considerably easier, however, these machines can cause severe damage to hands that find their way into the wrong place at the wrong time. The blades are very sharp and can cut through every structure in the hand with relative ease.

Because these injuries are difficult to treat and even more difficult to rehabilitate, the best option is to try to avoid them in the first place. Here are some tips to keep you and your loved ones from getting hurt:

-- Never put your hand or fingers near the moving parts of the machine.

-- Turn off the machine and disconnect spark plug or unplug cord before attempting to remove any objects.

-- Remove objects with a tool, not your fingers. The blades of a snowblower still are under tension and will “spin” again once the obstructing object is removed!

-- Turn off the machine and disconnect spark plug or unplug cord before attempting to move or pick up the machine; the blades still are sharp enough to cut you even if they are not moving.

-- Wear non-slip, closed-toe shoes to prevent yourself from slipping and getting caught beneath a machine.

-- Do not allow children to be outside while the machine is running. Children should not use the machines.

Dr. Rachel Rohde is an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in treatment of musculoskeletal conditions of the upper extremities including the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand. A native of Michigan, she completed her training at Harvard Medical School, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. She has published and presented her research at national and international conferences and recently authored a text, "Acute Management of Hand Injuries." She is on staff at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak and is a partner in the Michigan Orthopaedic Institute.