Many Hand and Upper Extremity Injuries Tied to Power Saw, Axe Use


Bobby Chhabra pic
Bobby Chhabra

Holding leadership responsibilities within the University of Virginia (UVA) Health System, Dr. Bobby Chhabra serves as team physician with UVA Athletics. Experienced in repetitive motion injuries, Dr. Bobby Chhabra treats patients with conditions of the upper extremities and hand.

Recent research points to increased risk for hand and finger injury among those who use woodcutting equipment around the home. As reported in Reuters, the period between 2006 and 2016 witnessed more than 16,000 nonfatal visits to emergency departments due to power saw injuries and nearly 2,000 related to axes.

A majority of those involving power saws were associated with the phenomenon of kickback, where the rotating chain hits a hard object while in fast motion and creates a strong, sudden opposing force. This can impact the device operator’s ability to control the power saw, and result in lacerations. With axes, the issue ties to swinging mechanics, with the momentum generated through the body easily leading to shoulder back, wrist, hand, and elbow injuries.

Medical professionals urge those using such equipment to wear proper protective gear, and to avoid high-risk jobs.

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