Fall cleanup can often result in symptoms, most commonly lower back symptoms.  As a result, the following guidelines should be followed in order to try to prevent fall cleanup injuries:

  • Perform gentle warm-up exercises before beginning.  For example, while standing upright, slide your right arm down the outside of your right leg to the right knee.  Hold for five seconds. If you cannot go this far, then just go as far as you can. Do the same movements on your left side.  Perform these movements multiple times. Another possible exercise would be to go for a short walk.
  • Purchase/Use a lightweight ergonomically designed and properly-sized rake.
  • When lifting, keep your back straight and lift with your legs.  Try to avoid twisting.
  • Pace yourself.  It is better to rake smaller amounts of leaves multiple times in one day than to rake large quantities of leaves at one time.
  • When holding the rake, try switching sides/arms every few minutes.
  • Don’t overfill bags with leaves.  It is better to use more bags so the bags are not as heavy.
  • Try dragging bags instead of lifting them if possible.
  • Make sure your ladder is in good shape.  Place it on a firm and level surface. Make sure it is fully open and in the locked position.
  • Wear shoes/boots with skid-resistant soles in order to minimize the risk of falling.
  • If you become sore, discontinue raking and apply ice over the affected region for 10 minutes 3-4 times per day.  If the ice pack is too cold, wrap it in a paper towel or a t-shirt. If symptoms increase, discontinue use of the ice pack.

If you are a senior and/or have health/medical problems, it is imperative that you speak to your doctor first concerning fall cleanup and your health status.  In these cases, it might be wise to hire either a landscaping service or volunteer service.