Gardening, just like any other repetitive activity, can cause serious injury if some simple steps aren’t taken to prepare the body for the task. Up to 40% of farmworkers report repetitive strain injuries to the hands, wrist, arms, shoulders or neck. Injuries to the low back are also common.  This number is thought to be even higher amongst non-professional gardeners as most of them have sedentary lifestyles and then expect their bodies to perform strenuous activities such as gardening.

Avoid lifting heavy objects by yourself.

Know your strength and limits before getting started. Either get someone to help you with heavy objects or use a wheelbarrow or garden cart to move the items.

Keep objects close to your body when lifting.

While lifting heavy objects, keep the object close to you, carry it in front, and keep your back straight.  If you’re unable to do these things, the object is too heavy to lift on your own!

Proper footwear is important.

Wear correct footwear to avoid ankle sprains or falls. Sturdy footwear with sufficient tread and support through the foot ankle are the best option.

Never work through the pain.

Never work through the pain! If pain develops while you’re completing a task, take a rest break and if the pain persists, see your Physical Therapist before returning to the same activity.  You may be able to stop a more serious injury from occurring.

Move well before moving often to care for your garden.

It is very important to begin and maintain a general conditioning program, including stretching and strengthening, to prevent injury. You must train your body to move properly before you begin moving often with the same movements. If you are unsure about how to prepare your body or if you are moving properly, contact us for a Functional Movement Screening.

Implement these Before, During and After Gardening.

Before Gardening, warm up by walking 5-10 minutes. Next, stretch! Make sure to stretch all major muscle groups including the upper body, back and legs. A great place to start are these 7 Dynamic Stretches to Add To Your Warm Up

During Gardening, stand up every 5-10 minutes and do backbends, 10-20 reps. Use a kneeler or short stool to avoid prolonged squatting. Stand up slowly between tasks, projects or to take your stretch breaks to avoid getting dizzy. Most importantly, stay hydrated!

After Gardening, cool down for 5-10 minutes by walking again. Stretch again, spending a little more time as now your muscles are warm and can be more easily stretched.

How can a Physical Therapist help you prevent or treat injuries from gardening?

A Physical Therapist will work with you to treat any repetitive or traumatic injury you may receive while gardening and will help you to prevent any further injury in the future.  Our Physical Therapists can also help to prepare you for the gardening season by treating any small, nagging pain you may have before it becomes a bigger problem! 

We are experts in injury prevention and rehabilitation. We can help.

Make Appointment

Keep Reading…

By |2022-06-01T16:02:33+00:00June 1st, 2022|Helpful Tips, Injury|Comments Off on 8 Tips to Garden Safely this Spring

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

About the Author:

Colleen Schutt has held various positions at Onondaga PT over the years and you may have seen her in any of our 5 locations. Colleen is currently our Director of Marketing. She is passionate about spreading the word to the community that Onondaga Physical Therapy is the best choice when you need to return to living, working and playing even better when an injury has set you back.
Go to Top