Orthopedic Safety for DIY Projects From North Texas Orthopedics & Spine Center

While COVID-19 continues many have been spending more time at home and have looked to do-it-yourself projects to refocus their energy, and many projects can come with their own set of risks. From crafting decorations to landscaping and home improvement, fellowship-trained orthopedic specialists Dr. Michael Briseño and Dr. Casey Stuhlman at North Texas Orthopedics & Spine Center offer expert safety guidelines for adults and families to follow while undertaking any project this fall. Patients in need of specialized bone, joint and muscle care are encouraged to call (817) 481-2121 to schedule a safe appointment in Grapevine at 2535 Ira E. Woods Ave. or in Fort Worth at the practice’s Keller/Alliance office at 4501 Heritage Trace Parkway. Telemedicine appointments are also available.

"From tackling COVID-19 fatigue to personally taking on home projects to minimize visitors during the pandemic, do-it-yourself projects are on the rise," says Dr. Briseño. "To provide some safety tips and reminders for DIY novices and veterans alike, my colleagues and I wanted to provide some guidance and reminders to help our community members complete projects safely."

Follow these safety tips from North Texas Orthopedics & Spine Center to help avoid injuries when taking on a project:

  • Know your tool safety: When starting a project, be sure that you have all the proper tools and materials and know how to use the tools safely. Even hammering improperly can lead to a number of injuries. Additionally, deep cuts and even nerve injuries are common with scissors, hobby knives and other small tools. Keep sharp objects away from children.
  • Pay total attention to power tools: From drills and saws to sewing machines, lawn mowers and weed whackers, be sure you know exactly how to operate a machine before you use it. To avoid a variety of traumatic orthopedic injuries, make sure your machine is stable and holding your complete focus, and do not put your hand or arm near drill bits, moving blades or needles before a machine is turned completely off.
  • Wear the proper gear and attire: Wear eye protection, a dust mask, knee pads and/or gloves as needed. Do not wear dangling jewelry or clothing that is baggy in the arms or legs to avoid tripping or getting caught on items or machinery. If you have long hair, wear it up and off of your face. Shorts, bare feet and sandals are also ill-advised for most tasks. Reinforced, nonslip boots or shoes are usually appropriate. Some tasks may require boots or shoes with electric hazard safety rating.
  • Keep a clean working space: Make sure that your workspace has proper lighting. Make sure working surfaces are clean, dry and stable. You should also place any tool not being used in a safe location to help you avoid tripping injuries, like bruises, strains and wrist and ankle sprains.
  • Know your ladder safety: Using ladders is associated with a number of injuries related to falls, including fractures, dislocations, rotator cuff tears and more severe injuries. When using a ladder, be sure to place it on a flat surface and make sure it is anchored or someone is holding the ladder. Keep the weight centered and do not overextend to reach anything.
  • Give yourself a break: Vary your tasks and take breaks when you need them to help prevent acute injuries, such as strains in your back, forearm and upper arm muscles. This will also help you avoid chronic injuries, such as shoulder tendinitis, tennis elbow and various joint and nerve issues. This is especially true when a lot of heavy lifting is required for your project.  

"If you have been working with tools or doing heavy lifting and sustain an injury that leads to numbness, pain or loss of movement in your arm or any other extremity, seek medical attention immediately," says Dr. Stuhlman. "Serious injuries should be seen by a specialist as soon as possible."

To learn more about orthopedic safety or to schedule a safe appointment with one of the specialty-trained doctors at North Texas Orthopedics & Spine Center, call (817) 481-2121.