Thursday, 30 January 2014 13:10

Snow Blower Injuries on the Rise

Cortlandt Manor, NY - (January 30, 2014) –Hudson Valley residents have had to clear away a lot of snow this winter, resulting in many opportunities for winter accidents.

While snow blowers are an essential tool at this time of year, their use also results in many hand injuries.

Dr. Ari Mayerfield of Hudson Valley Hospital Center’s Hand Center said that every year he sees patients who suffer from a variety of injuries sustained from snow blowers.

“Due to the improper handling of these machines, patients suffer from fingertip injuries, fractures, lacerations and amputated digits,’’ said Mayerfield, a surgeon who specializes in injuries to the hand and upper extremity. Dr. Mayerfield works with hand therapists at the hospital’s Center for Rehabilitation to help those injured return to normal function.

Dr. Mayerfield said he would prefer to see people avoid injuries to start with. He said that a majority of injuries with snow blowers are caused when people try to clear clogs in the exit chute without turning off the machine.

“When snow becomes clogged in the exit chute of the machine, it causes a jam. The operator will then inspect the blower, and this is when the majority of injuries occur. The operator's hand will come in contact with the rotating blades while using his/her hand to clear the snow,” he said.

He suggested that snow blower users follow these tips:
• Turn off the machine
• Wait for a minute to give the blades time to stop rotating
• Keep your hands clear of the exit chute and blades
• NEVER use your hands to clear the snow - use a stick to clear the clogged chute
• Keep snowblower safety shields in place
• Never allow children to use the snowblower

Nefretiri Butcher, an occupational therapist with HVHC’s Hand Center, said even those who use low-tech snow removing equipment are subject to injuries of the hand and back if they don’t take proper precautions. She suggests that those shoveling snow should follow these tips:

• Shovel fresh snow: Fresh powdery snow is easier to shovel than the wet, packed-down variety.
• Push the snow as you shovel: It's easier on your back than lifting the snow out of the way.
• Don't pick up too much at once: Use a light shovel (e.g. aluminum). Use a small shovel, or fill only one-fourth or one-half of a large one.
• Lift with your legs bent, not your back. Keep your back straight. By bending and "sitting" into the movement, you'll keep your spine upright and less stressed. Your shoulders, torso and thighs can do the work for you.

If you have a hand or wrist issue either routine or emergency, you can contact Dr. Mayerfield at (914) 293-8700. If you need hand therapy call the Hand Center at 914-734-3251.


Hudson Valley Hospital Center is dedicated to serving the health care needs of the community and to providing quality, comprehensive medical care in a compassionate, professional, respectful manner, without regard to race, religion, national origin or disease category. Offering state-of-the-art diagnostic treatment, education and preventive services, the Hospital is committed to improving the quality of life in the community. In fulfilling this mission, the Hospital will strive to continuously improve the care provided and develop and offer programs, facilities, systems and alliances that most effectively respond to community health care needs. Hudson Valley Hospital Center is located on Route 202 (1980 Crompond Road) in Cortlandt Manor, New York. Call 914-737-9000 or visit

Published in Press Releases
Friday, 13 December 2013 15:47

Hand Center at Hudson Valley Hospital Center

At the Hand Center at Hudson Valley Hospital Center we specialize in treating hand injuries and conditions of the hand and upper extermity. From workplace injuries to carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive stress injuries, we are the experts in surgical and non-surgical treatments for disorders of the hand, wrist or elbow. From surgery to rehabilitation, our team provides a comprehensive program to help you recover faster.

In addition to our skilled physicians, orthopedic specialists and surgeons, HVHC has a Center for Rehabilitation with three licensed occupational therapists and one certified hand therapist who have intricate knowledge of upper extremity function and structure. They work with patients to prevent injury or impairment, restore gross and fine motor skills, and enhance participation in activities of daily living. Our Center for Rehabilitation is a member of the Hospital for Special Surgery Network so you know you are getting the most advanced treatment.


For additional information about the Hand Therapy Program or to schedule an appointment, please call: 914-734-3251.

Our Team

Dr. Ari Mayerfield specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders and injuries of the hand, wrist, forearm, and elbow in patients from infants to adults. A graduate of Cornell and Harvard Universities and the Sackler School of Medicine, Dr. Mayerfield completed his fellowship at the world-renowned Christine M. Kleinert Institute for Hand and Microsurgery where many firsts in hand surgery were performed including the first hand transplant performed in the United States, the first successful technique for primary flexor tendon repair, as well as many others.

He has specialized training in the minimally invasive treatment of diseases involving the hand, wrist, forearm and elbow. These include arthroscopy, endoscopic techniques, enzymatic treatments and microsurgery, all of which expedite recovery and minimize downtime.

Conditions and injuries he treats include, but are not limited to:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome and nerve compression (i.e., ulnar nerve/cubital tunnel)
- Sports injuries, fractures and dislocations
- Ligament injuries (sprains), tendon injuries, tendonitis (trigger finger, tennis elbow, golfers elbow, and De Quervain's tendonitis)
- Ganglion cysts, nerve injuries, arthritis and stiff joints
- Dupuytren's contracture, infection, vascular disorders, and brachial plexus injuries.
- Special interests include upper extremity trauma and sports injuries, post-traumatic reconstruction, tendon disorders, peripheral neuropathy, arthroscopy, and microsurgery.

Dr. Mayerfield has performed over 2,000 surgeries, including over 700 cases exclusively involving the upper extremity and specializes in the treatment of diseases of the hand, wrist, elbow, peripheral nervous system, as well as microsurgery. His practice is focused on restoring hand and upper extremity function through both non-surgical and surgical means, and helping patients get back to enjoying the activities of daily life. The majority of patients he treats ultimately do not require surgery. To make an appointment with Dr. Mayerfield, call 914-293-8700.

Dr. Mayerfield attended Cornell University (B.S. 1999) and Harvard University before attending the Sackler School of Medicine (M.D. 2007). He is an Assistant Professor of Hand Surgery at New York Medical College and a candidate member of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. He completed his General Surgery training at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the highest volume trauma residency program in Chicago, where he was awarded ‘Teacher of the Year’. Following graduation, he went on to complete a fellowship at the Christine M. Kleinert Institute for Hand and Microsurgery at the University of Louisville. During his training, Dr. Mayerfield authored a book chapter on alternative imaging modalities of the Hand, and researched a new surgical technique for treatment of wrist instability.

Hudson Valley Hospital Center has Certified Hand Therapists on staff


This certification is voluntary and difficult to attain. To obtain certification in hand therapy, a therapist must have 5 years of clinical experience as an Occupational or Physical Therapist, including 4,000 or more hours in direct practice of hand therapy. The therapist must pass a comprehensive test of advanced clinical skills and theory in upper quarter rehabilitation. In addition, a therapist is required to demonstrate continued professional development and competency by re-certifying every 5 years.

The Certified Hand Therapy credential offers assurance to the public that a therapist has achieved the highest level of competency in hand therapy and stays up to date with practice within the field.

For additional information on the Certified Hand Therapist click here.




Cortlandt Manor, NY - (October 22, 2013)– Carving pumpkins is a fall tradition in many families, but as Halloween approaches, Dr. Ari Mayerfield, Hand Surgeon at the New York Group for Plastic Surgery, warns parents and children to use caution and the appropriate tools when carving pumpkins to avoid potentially serious hand injuries.

Every year, surgeons and hand therapists treat patients with injuries related to pumpkin carving.  According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), pumpkin-carving can result in lacerations to the hand and also injuries to bones and tendons.

“Hand injuries at this time of year occur frequently when children and adults try to use kitchen knives to carve pumpkins,” says Dr. Mayerfield who practices at Hudson Valley Hospital Center.  “Pumpkins have a very tough outer skin and usually require a sharp blade to cut through.  Most knives used, including kitchen knives, lack a safety guard to protect the hand from slipping down the blade, increasing the risk of serious injury.”

Hand injuries from pumpkin carving can be so severe that nerve or tendon damage may result, affecting the function of the hand.  Parents can prevent painful or serious hand injuries by providing alternative decorating activities allowing children to be a part of creating a Halloween pumpkin.  “Accidents that happen in just a second, can result in devastating injuries that may require surgery and several months of rehabilitation,” says Erin Leary, Lead Occupational Therapist and Certified Hand Therapist at Hudson Valley Hospital Center.

Dr. Mayerfield recommends decorating a pumpkin with paints, stickers, or markers, or dressing the pumpkin in costumes as a way for small children to safely participate in Halloween activities. For older children and adults, a pumpkin carving knife should be used. Pumpkin carving kits are commercially available and feature tools that are specially designed for use in the creation of Jack-O-Lanterns.  A sawing motion, rather than a sharp cutting action, should be used to help prevent serious hand injuries.

When carving pumpkins, keep the following safety tips in mind:

  • Never leave children unattended with carving tools.
  • Let adults do the carving. Children can draw designs on the pumpkin or help remove the pulp
  • Carve in a clean, well-lit, dry area.  Any moisture on your tools, hands or table can cause slipping that can lead to injuries.
  • Carve in a clean, well-lit, dry area.  Any moisture on your tools, hands or table can cause slipping that can lead to injuries.
  • Sharper knives are not necessarily better for carving. Pumpkin carving saws are the safest tools for carving.
  • When carving, cut away from your body in small and controlled strokes.
  • Cuts and injuries can occur even when you put safety first.  Apply pressure to minor cuts using a clean cloth to stop bleeding.  If bleeding, stiffness or numbness persists for more than 15 minutes, or if the injury is visibly serious, seek medical attention immediately from a hospital emergency department.


If an injury does occur, Dr. Mayerfield recommends the following steps be taken:

  •  Elevate the hand above the heart and apply pressure to the wound with a clean cloth.
  • If after applying continuous pressure for 15 minutes does not stop the bleeding, seek emergency care
  • If any numbness or inability to move the fingers occurs, seek emergency care.

“Immediate medical attention is important,” said Dr. Mayerfield.  “The longer a patient waits to seek medical attention, the more difficult the repair will be.”


Dr Mayerfield is a Hand and Upper Extremity Surgeon at The New York Group for Plastic Surgery at Hudson Valley Hospital Center.

Erin Leary, OTR/L, CHT, is a Certified Hand Therapist at Hudson Valley Hospital Center.



Published in Press Releases