How to prevent leaf raking injuries

Autumn is here and that also brings work around the house, one of the most important being leaf raking. While it may seem to be a fast chore, you should be mindful of the strain that leaf raking can take on your body and steps to take to prevent injuries.

Before you head outdoors, be sure to keep the following tips in mind from!

Pick the right rake

While it may seem easier to buy the biggest rake possible to cover the largest surface area to speed up the job, this may have the opposite effect. You may try to move far too much material around at once and hurt yourself, so it's always best to pick a rake that is light and easy to use for your size and strength level.

Check the weather forecast

When you choose to rake leaves is a major factor in reducing your chance of injuries. Aim to rake leaves when they are dry, as damp leaves are much heavier to move. Additionally, try to tackle the job earlier in the season. Cold temperatures will also make muscles and tendons tighten up leaving you more susceptible to injuries, so aim for warmer temperatures and adequate stretching before raking.

Alter hand/body positioning

One of the most common strain injuries that results from raking leaves is caused by individuals keeping their hands on one specific part of the rake throughout the entire process. This will place undue stress on one part of the back, neck and shoulders, which can lead to strain injuries. To avoid this "repetitive stress," make an effort to switch positions every 15-20 minutes.

Stretch beforehand!

One of the easiest ways to avoid injuries is to limber up beforehand. Get loose by taking a short walk around your yard, or rotating the areas around troublesome joints. Aim for 5-10 minutes of stretching and light activity to improve how you'll feel after raking.

Prep troublesome joints and muscles

If you have chronic pain issues with specific joints or find yourself re-injuring, give yourself reinforcement with FSA-eligible products! Elastic bandages can provide support for weak joints. Hot and cold packs are ideal for easing sore muscles after you've finished the job.

Stay healthy this fall with!

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