Spring has finally arrived! If you are looking to brighten up your outdoor space or to maybe engage in some outdoor activity perhaps you will consider gardening this season. Gardening is generally considered to be a low impact activity, however there are still some risks that you should keep in mind. Here are five simple tips from an orthopedic surgeon that can help you prevent injury.
1. Wear Gloves
The best way to prevent injury is to be properly prepared when gardening. If you don’t have a good pair of gloves, you’ll want to be sure to add this to the top of your list. In the event that you were to scratch yourself or have a small irritation on your skin the fungus and bacteria that lives in the soil can lead to unwanted hand infections. We recommend thick, working gloves that will be able to withstand heavy use.
2. Use Tools to Dig
When digging up new ground you may find it easier or more convenient to dig up dirt with your hands rather than carrying tools around to do so – don’t! Often times the ground you dig through can have unknown objects such as sharp glass or sticks. Take precautions by using appropriate tools to prevent any trauma or lacerations that will land you an appointment with the doctor.
3. Tools with Wide Handles
Tools with wide handles should be what you’re reaching for when out in the garden. Wide handles that provide ample room and padding in the handle area are going to allow your hands to remain in a neutral position. The neutral position is going to help prevent injuries that could easily occur in the wrist or small joints in the hand.
4. Protect your Knees
It’s not unusual for those who are out gardening to naturally want to sit back on their knees to rest or take a break, however this is another action that could lead to future problems. The knee joints are not only put into a compromising position, but other joints in your hands and wrists will need to withstand pressure when pushing yourself back up. If you think that you’ll be inclined to sit back on your knees while out in the garden investing in a short bench or garden stool could be helpful in preventing strain or injury on the knees.
5. Take Frequent Breaks
Remember to take breaks to prevent your tendons and joints from sustaining injury. Stretching and switching up the activity at hand is a great way to make sure you aren’t putting yourself at risk for injuries or carpal tunnel syndrome.
By sticking to these five useful tips this spring you should be able to start a great garden and prevent injury! Remember that if you do in fact sustain an injury or laceration it is important to have it looked at and treated immediately. An injury begins to heal itself the day it occurs. The first week of trauma is critical to person’s successful recovery.