For the last few years every morning I wake up to the pounding of hammers and the buzz of electric saws and drive out of my subdivision past a line of builder's trucks and neighbors busy working on their houses and yards. Construction and home improvement seem to be at an all time high not only in my town but all over the country.
Feet may be the last thing people think about while working on building and home improvement projects, but there are many different types of foot and ankle injuries that can occur when home improvement projects go wrong. Professional builders and construction workers are generally more cautious about foot injuries but when a home owner tackles a DIY project the opportunities for problems tend to be ever present. Even projects that seem harmless such as power washing decks can create a stream of water strong enough to take off the superficial layer of skin, especially on the toes if you're wearing the wrong foot gear. Falls from ladders and make-shift scaffolding can result in a severe sprain, dislocation or fracture. Repeated climbing on ladders without good support to the foot and ankle can lead to injuries, including stress fractures and neuromas or nerve compressions.
Nails, screws, tacks, and bolts cause 30 percent of all home improvement injuries. People drop them and forget to pick them up and step on them. When working on wood surfaces such as decks or flooring, wear closed-toe shoes to save your feet from slivers or puncture wounds from nails or wood splinters. Good foot gear and proper safety measures can prevent crush injuries from heavy objects falling on your foot and be sure to anchor loose tarps and protective floor coverings with construction grade tape to prevent a slip and fall.
Never take an accident for granted. Most injuries are avoidable if you take appropriate precautions. If you're thinking about a DIY home improvement project make sure you have the time and knowledge to complete it and realize that TV DIYers often have more experience than you realize. Taking on more than you can handle can cause you to become frustrated, lose focus on safety and lead to an injury that can take weeks to heal or result in chronic pain and disability.
DIYers save hundreds of dollars with pride and loads of self-esteem but it’s important to recognize exactly how far your DIY spirit can take you. If you think you're venturing too far outside your skill set when it comes time to building that new deck or finishing that basement think again about the scope of the project and if you go ahead with it make safety your first concern.