Injuries from gardening is a common presentation to the clinic. We often fine with the changes in season, people come out to garden and do too much the first time after a long break.
Gardening is a lot of repetitive movements, of which if not done correctly, could lead to injury. A few tips on ensuring a comfortable gardening session:
Warm up! Walk and a few stretches before you start will ensure your body is ready to start an active session
Reduce the amount of twisting – Twisting places an uneven strain on the muscles and joints. Make sure you squarely face whatever you are working on, this minimises the amount of twisting that can occur.
Take regular breaks! Especially if you are just starting gardening after a long time off. Frequent breaks are a great way to minimise injury and let the body rest and recover. Every 15-20 minutes with a 5-minute break in between is a good start.
Keep your elbows bent when digging – this reduce the amount of strain on the forearm muscles. If they are over worked too quickly tennis elbow can occur – a form of tendinopathy.
Frequently switch sides when raking those autumn leaves, keep the knees and elbows both bent and make sure your grip is relaxed. Also, using a scissor stance is the most efficient technique.
Kneeling on one knee is the best position for weeding
Use your hips and legs when picking up pots – stand square on bend at the hips and knees while keeping your back straight (think hinging at the hips). Keep the pot as close to your body as possible and avoid twisting while holding it.
Plant pots on a table, not the ground
The most important thing to remember is to pace yourself!