Your Game Plan for Safe Ladder Use
As summer draws to a close, and the weather cools, many homeowners start reaching for ladders and tools to begin much needed repairs and painting jobs both inside and outside the house. As a physical therapist, I see many patients who sustain injuries from doing work around their homes. While some of these injuries are traumatic in nature, most of them are more subtle strains and sprains. My patient’s recent visit brought to light some of the problems anyone can encounter using a ladder.
I must state the obvious and note that any work with a ladder must be conducted with the utmost safety in mind. The National Safety Council has excellent tips and techniques to ensure that you are safe when working with or on any ladder (see www.nsc.org).
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There are a number of potentially stressful situations for the body when working on a ladder. Let’s start at the “top”.
Fear not. Some simple measures can be done to avoid having these stresses turn into injuries.
1. Be aware of the tendency to arch the neck, head and spine backward when you are working on a ladder.
2. Preserve your knees and calves with these exercises. These exercises will reduce the accumulated strain on the rear of the knee from standing in the hyperextended position on the ladder.
3. Then, to preserve the arch of your foot, here are some best practices and tips.
So go ahead and dust off that ladder and attack those fall projects. Practicing these simple tips and exercises will go a long way to making sure you stay healthy as you work on turning your house into a beautiful home.