How to Avoid Injury while Gardening

planting green plant in garden Mar27th 2020

With the arrival of Spring – sunshine, warmer weather and perhaps a little more time at home – you might be eager to get outside and tackle the yards and gardens that have been neglected all winter. However, with all the work to be done, heavy lifting and awkward positions can take a toll on your body. Here are some tips to get your spring started off pain free.

1. Alternate between light and heavy activities. Switching between various weights and different activities, every 10-20 min, can reduce strain on your low back.

2. Avoid prolonged, repetitive tasks. Performing the same task for extended periods of time can lead to overuse injuries including tendonitis and tendonosis.

3. Avoid heavy lifting following prolonged bending/kneeling. Bending and kneeling for extended periods can fatigue the low back muscles, thus when you go to lift something heavy, your muscles are fatigued and compensations can result in injury.

4. Use a mat or knee pads for kneeling. To reduce pain on knees, use a mat or knee pads to cushion these areas. If you have pain with kneeling, sit on a bucket to avoid bending down.

5. Move your feet. When shoveling, such as moving dirt, move your feet instead of twisting your spine. This will keep your spine in alignment and reduce risk of injury.

6. Lift small amounts of weight. When lifting weight, keep item(s) close to your body to reduce strain on low back. If you can’t move closer to what you’re lifting, lift small amounts at a time.

7. Push, don’t pull. Pushing is always better than pulling, as you can keep the item closer to your body and you have more force with proper mechanics.

Ashley Bland, PTA