DIY Projects Rise in Pandemic, Hand Specialist Dr. William Feinstein Offers Safety Guidance

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Do-it-yourself projects have become increasingly common in the wake of COVID-19, but these activities do come with a number of risks, including hand, arm, elbow and shoulder injuries. From decorative crafts to lawn care and home improvement, fellowship-trained hand surgeon Dr. William Feinstein at Orthopedic Associates offers expert safety tips for adults and families to consider while taking on any project. Patients in need of specialized bone, joint and muscle care are encouraged to call (314) 569-0616 to schedule a safe appointment at one of the practice’s convenient locations throughout the region in St. Louis, Bonne Terre and Fredericktown as well as in Columbia and Red Bud, Illinois. Telemedicine appointments are available in addition to the Injury Access Clinic, located at 1050 Old Des Peres Road, Suite 100, in St. Louis.

"Home improvement and craft projects are associated with a number of minor and serious hand and upper extremity injuries," says Dr. Feinstein. "From repairing the roof to home decorations, DIY projects are often fun and rewarding, but they also come with some risk of injury, so my colleagues and I at Orthopedic Associates wanted to share some tips to help area residents complete projects safely."

Follow these safety tips from Orthopedic Associates to help you prevent injuries when completing your DIY project: 

  • Wear the right attire and gear: Wear safety equipment as needed, including safety boots, masks, eye protection and gloves. Do not wear loose or baggy clothing, jewelry that dangles or open-toed shoes or have your long hair worn down.
  • Keep a tidy workspace: Make sure that your workspace is well-lit, clean and dry and that all your worksurfaces are flat and stable. Put any tool that you aren't currently using in a safe location to help you avoid tripping injuries.
  • Use tools properly: Before starting a project, make sure that you have all the right tools and materials and know the proper techniques for using each tool. Cuts, nerve injuries, finger fractures, and more are all common with incorrect tool techniques.
  • Pay close attention to any power tools: Before using power saws, weed whackers, power drills, or even sewing machines, be sure that you know how to operate it safely. Make sure that your machine is stable and that you aren't distracted while it's in operation. Be sure not to put your hand, fingers or arm near drill bits, blades or needles before your machine is turned off completely.
  • Use extra care while working on ladders: To avoid fall-related injuries, place your ladder on a flat, stable surface. Keep the weight centered and do not overextend to reach anything. For added safety, have someone hold the ladder.
  • Take breaks and vary your tasks: You can prevent a number of acute and chronic injuries by taking breaks or changing up what you're working on. Listen to your body, especially if any of your tasks involve heavy lifting.

"If you feel any pain or lose mobility in your hand, arm, or even legs after getting injured during or project or while heavy lifting, get seen by a health care provider immediately," says Dr. Feinstein. "If you have a serious bone, joint, or muscle injury, seek follow-up care with an orthopedic specialist."

Certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery with fellowship training in hand surgery, Dr. Feinstein specializes in providing care for the upper extremity and work-related injuries. He is available to see patients at Orthopedic Associates’ main office in St. Louis as well as one of their satellite offices in Bonne Terre. 

To learn more about orthopedic safety or to schedule a safe appointment with Dr. Feinstein, call (314) 569-0616.