Keeping your Hands and Arms Healthy

Keeping your Hands and Arms Healthy

Every day another glorious gardening catalog arrives, sparking dreams of the gorgeous gardens we will have in the spring and summer. The planning is great fun, but don’t let hand pain stop you from getting your gardens in shape for a knockout blooming season. A bit of preventive planning and you’ll be gardening to your heart’s content.

Avoid Overdoing It

Too much of one repetitive motion can cause a flare up in hand pain, and it will typically happen after about 45 minutes of continuous activity. Break gardening tasks (weeding, digging, transplanting) into smaller blocks of time and take frequent rests to keep flare-ups to a minimum.

Update Your Tools

Look for gardening tools with bigger handles that are easier to grip. Or, wrap the handles with pipe insulation or foam to make them easier to grip. Electric tools can also ease hand, wrist and arm strain, although the vibration from prolonged use can irritate arthritis, so make sure to take frequent breaks. Use gloves with heavy padding for heavy grasping tasks.

Drink Water

Stay well hydrated to minimize stress not only on your fingers and wrists, but on all of the joints in your body.

Avoid Stooping and Reaching

Whenever possible work at waist height and avoid excessive overhead work. Use a planting table and a garden bench in place of squatting or stooping. Get good long-handled pruning shears or trimmers to keep large bushes looking nice.

Repetitive Motion Disorders
Many people experience hand, wrist or finger pain during the course of their lifetime. If this is not obviously a result of traumatic injury, like a jammed finger or wrist sprain, it may be a repetitive motion disorder, or RMD. There are a range of RMDs and the discomfort associated with them can range from a mere annoyance to debilitating pain.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is not always treated with surgery. In fact, there are many workplace and lifestyle changes that can be made to help cope with the condition, which can range from annoying to painful. But, you don’t have to put up with carpal tunnel syndrome; you have options.