Get Moving Safely in your Garden this Spring!
April 28, 2016
By Amy Myers, PT, DPT
Spring is in the air! As the days grow longer and the weather warms we are drawn outdoors to enjoy this wonderful time of year. Gardening is a great activity that many of us enjoy, myself included. I want you to move safely and be injury-free in your garden this Spring, so I have put together a few tips and reminders for injury prevention and movement/form during gardening.
For the entire article on “The Ergonomics of Gardening” and some examples of stretching visit this website (I highly recommend it)
Here are a few Injury prevention tips before you “spring” into gardening:
- Spread the work out over several days or weeks.
- Alternate tasks.
- Start slowly and take frequent breaks.
- Change position frequently.
- Don’t work until you wilt.
- Stay hydrated. Drink more water than you think you need.
- Stand up and stretch frequently
- Proper stretching before and afterward (website listed above has great examples of proper stretching)
A few things to remember about movement and form while gardening:
- Schedule jobs when it’s easier to do them.
- Moist earth is easier to dig in than dry, compact earth or soggy, saturated earth.
- Do something else if conditions aren’t right!
- Work in the shade; don’t force yourself to work in the sun on a hot day.
- Keep tools close at hand.
- Alternate tasks that require heavy or repetitive movement with tasks that are easier to do.
If you think you injured yourself, stop working immediately! Use ice and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories to facilitate healing. Apply a cold pack to the sore muscle group once an hour for 10-15 minutes during the first 48 hours. After 48 hours, use a heat pack rather than ice. Do not garden using that body part again until all soreness is gone. I highly recommend that you make time to do some stretches throughout your gardening time and afterward.
If you feel you need a consultation after a gardening injury, pain that is lasting longer than 48 hours after an injury or help understanding your injury contact us at Foothills Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Center. We offer a FREE Physical Therapy consultation to all of our past, current and potential patients. Feel free to contact 865-573-6458 to schedules yours, I will be more than happy to help you so you can enjoy the things you love doing this Spring!