The balmy temperatures enveloping Australia for much of the year provide ample opportunities to grow various fruits, vegetables, and flowers. And with temperatures warming up recently, the gardening season is well underway.
But while gardening is a rewarding experience, it can open the door to various injuries. In this article, we explore tips and tricks for staying safe and avoiding common gardening injuries.
Common Gardening Injuries
While gardening involves relatively few large movements, the mix of crouching, bending, and digging can pose a problem, especially after long durations. Here are a few of the most common gardening injuries:
- Neck pain
- Lower back pain
- Shoulder tendonitis (inflammation of the rotator cuff or biceps tendon)
- Carpal tunnel syndrome (numbness, tingling, or pain in the hand and forearm)
- Lateral epicondylitis or Tennis Elbow (swelling of the tendons in the forearm and wrist)
- de Quervain’s Tenosynovitis of the Thumb (swelling of the tendons along the thumb side of the wrist)
- Pre-patellar bursitis (inflammation of the bursa sac in front of your kneecap)
- Cuts and scrapes
Safety Tips to Avoid Gardening Injuries
Before you roll up your sleeves and start digging into your garden projects, consider the following safety tips:
- Warm-up: While gardening might not seem like exercise, it’s essential to warm up your muscles before you start. Walk around to get your blood flowing, stretch your muscles, and prep for your gardening projects. Cold muscles are prone to injury, so warming up is worth the time.
- Take breaks: Remember to take breaks. It’s easy to get focused on your task but try to remember to take breaks every thirty minutes to stand up, stretch, and grab a drink.
- Skip midday: Gardening midday is toasty and can open the door to sunburn, dehydration, and heat exhaustion. If possible, save your gardening projects for the morning hours or dusk when the temperatures aren’t as high.
- Protect your skin: Wear a sunhat, long sleeves or sunscreen, long pants, gloves, and other protective gear to protect your skin. Wear long pants, long sleeves, and eye protection if you use your lawnmower. When you’re digging in the dirt, raking, or pruning, remember to wear gloves to protect your hands!
- Lift smart: Remember to lift with your legs, not your back. If you bend at the hips, you’ll likely feel the strain on your lower back. So, save your back by bending at the knees into a squat. If you will be in one spot for a while, consider sitting down or bringing your work to a tall workbench.
- Listen to your body: If you feel pains, strains, or aches, take a step back and let your body rest. Don’t push yourself during these times, as this is your body telling you it needs a break.
Accidentally Injured Yourself? Get Help From Our Experienced Practitioners
Sometimes, despite our best efforts to avoid them, injuries happen. However, seeking help from an experienced medical practitioner can help you get back on track toward enjoying your favourite hobby once again.
Our skilled team at Turramurra Sports & Spinal Physiotherapy is well-versed in treating gardening injuries and the aches and pains that often accompany them. Book your appointment through our online portal today or call 9144 1510 to speak to one of our team.