Be Careful When Raking

Even though raking leaves doesn't utilize power tools or sharp blades, it can still cause injuries.

According to 2006 U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commision Statistics, more than 76,000 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms, docotrs' offices, clinics and other medical settings for injuries.

The American Academy of Orthpaedic Surgeons gives these tips for safety.

Stretch and warm up your muscles for at least 10 minutes before raking, especially if it's cold outside.

Use a rake that feels comfortable for your height and strength.

Wear gloves or use a rake with a padded handle.

Avoid using old rakes that have gotten rusty or that have loose parts.

Do not let a hat or scarf block your vision and watch out for large rocks and low branches.

Try to vary your movements, alternating your leg and arm positions often. When picking up leaves, bend at the knees and not at the waist.

Exercise care walking on wet leaves. Wear shoes with slip-resistent soles.

Avoid overfilling leaf bags which makes them too heavy.

Do not throw the leaves over your shoulder or to the side. This requires a twisting motion that places undue stress on your back.