A relaxing and enjoyable activity for many, gardening can turn dangerous without proper precaution as repetitive stress injuries, tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome can stem from this popular outdoor activity. Additionally, simple scrapes, blisters and bites can turn into serious problems if not treated appropriately.
The repetitive movements associated with gardening such as raking, weeding, digging and pruning put stress on the hand and wrist. Many gardeners spend hours performing these activities with improper form, which can lead to a variety of problems in the hands and arms. Warming up before gardening is just as important as warming up before a vigorous workout. After warming up, stretching exercises for the major muscle groups that will be involved in performing the task can reduce the risk of injury.
The following arm warm-up exercises are recommended prior to gardening:
Note: These exercises should never be painful when completing them. You should only feel a gentle stretch. Should you experience pain, please consult a hand therapist or physician.
Warming up by walking around the lawn or garden a few times, then taking the time to stretch, is advisable before beginning a demanding task. Poor form and bad habits during gardening can bring an early end to the gardening season. Following these guidelines is the best way to stay healthy and enjoy the many benefits of gardening.
Additional safety precautions:
Professional hand therapists are highly specialized physical or occupational therapists with expertise in the delicate and essential functions of the hands, wrists, arms and shoulders.
Call 444-5178 for more information about hand therapy at Rhode Island Hospital.
Source: American Society of Hand Therapists