Category : Gardening

Gardening Hand Hand Safety Hand Therapy

Advice from a Certified Hand Therapist: The Joys of Gardening Without the Risk of Injury

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to not just feed the body but the soul” – Alfred Austin

Gardening is a meaningful activity for people across the lifespan. It can add beauty and nutrition as well as be an outlet for stress relief and a means of exercise. While it has many benefits, it can also be hard work for the muscles and joints of your hands and arms. Here are some tips and tricks that may help you reduce your risk for pain and increase your joy and productivity in the garden.

Tools

Good gardening tools can be especially helpful to reduce risk and pain associated with repetitive use injuries.

  • Tools with built up handles can reduce the grip strength required to perform activities and protect your joints. Wide handled or ergonomic tools may also be available on the internet or in local shops.
  • To build up the handles of your own tools, pipe insulation can be purchased at your local hardware store.
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Gardening Hand Hand Safety

5 gardening safety tips

Gardening Safety v1

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Gardening Hand Wrist

How to prevent gardening injuries

Gardening tools and flowers in the garden

Spring is in full bloom, and now is the time to tend to your garden! Follow these safety tips to prevent gardening injuries:

  1. Wear gloves: Gloves will reduce blistering and protect your skin from fertilizers, pesticides, bacteria and fungus that live in the soil. When exposed to soil, even small cuts can turn into a hand infection.
  2. Rotate tasks: Repetitive motions such as digging, raking, trimming, pruning or planting can cause skin, tendon or nerve irritation. Rotate tasks every 15 minutes and take brief rests between so the same muscles are not used over and over again.
  3. Use tools: Do not use your hands to to dig. Sharp objects and debris in the soil can cut or puncture the hand. Use a hand shovel or a rake.
  4. Check your posture: Keep your wrist in a relaxed or neutral position when using tools as opposed to bent. This keeps grip strength at its maximum and requires less pressure to control the tool.
  5. Use caution when climbing a ladder: Always have someone holding the ladder as you climb, and make sure the ladder is on even ground. If pruning needs to be performed higher up on a tree, consider hiring a service.

Learn more about gardening safety, including when to visit the emergency room, at www.handcare.org.

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