If you’re a gardener or are starting a garden this year you are probably getting ready to pull weeds, dig in the dirt and plant your flowers and vegetables. Before you get your tools out and start pulling those weeds and planting seeds, you might want to take a moment to think about how to keep your hands safe. Read on for tips for protecting your hands when gardening.
Hand Injuries When Gardening
Did you know nearly 70,000 people visit an ER annually and that number doesn’t include lawn mower accidents or hands cut by sharp objects. If you’re not careful, gardening can cause strained ligaments and tendons, stiff joints and injuries to your hands. Fortunately, with a little thought and preparation you can enjoy gardening while keeping your hands safe and comfortable.
Tips for Protecting Your Hands When Gardening
Here are some tips for protecting your hands and keeping them safe when gardening:
Tip #1 Wear Protective Gloves
Wear gloves to protect your hands from cuts and abrasions, blisters and even the sun. Gloves that provide support and mild compression can also help soothe arthritic hands. Choose gloves with long wrists for pruning plants with prickles and thorns. Fingerless gloves are great for doing detailed work such as transplanting seedlings.
Protexgloves are a great way to protect your hands from cuts, bruises and the sun’s rays (50+ UPF) and keep them warm, but not sweaty, on cool days. They are available in different lengths and with or without fingers.
Tip # 2 Take Frequent Breaks
Take frequent breaks from planting bulbs, trimming hedges, raking and digging. Gardening involves many repetitive tasks with your hands, which puts you at risk of aggravating arthritis and developing or exacerbating carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive stress injuries. Doing the same motion over and over for a long period of time without taking a break, can strain your muscles and tendons. Changing your activity every 15 minutes or so can help avoid stress on your hands.
If you have arthritis or other health condition, wearing a brace can also can also provide the support you need and to help reduce the stress on your thumb, hands or wrists, without limiting your motion.
Tip # 3 Use the Right Tools
When using tools with sharp blades, like pruners or shears- make sure they have safety locks built into them. Sharp or rusty objects can also hide underneath the soil and cause cuts or punctures to your hands. Always use a hand shovel or rake when digging.
Tip #4 Keep Your Hands in a Relaxed Position
Holding your trowel, shovel or other tools too tightly with a stiff, bent wrist can cause unnecessary strain. Keep your wrist in a neutral, rather than flexed, position and apply comfortable pressure rather than a death grip. Keeping your hands in a relaxed position helps improve your grip strength and puts less pressure on them.
Gardening can be a wonderful, relaxing activity. With a little thought, planning and the right tools, you’ll have a beautiful yard and happy, healthy hands.
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Our blogs are educational in nature and are not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Because your condition is unique to you, it is recommended that you consult with your health care provider before attempting any medical or therapeutic treatments. We are always happy to answer questions about products mentioned in our blogs, however, we cannot provide a diagnosis or medical advice.
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