Gardening, no doubt, is considered a delightful and rewarding pursuit allowing you to connect with the beauty of nature and makes you happy with a variety of fruits. While gardening provides you with a sense of fulfilment and calmness, at the same time, it comes with several challenges. Whether you are a seasonal gardener – taking care of your home lawn, or a professional gardener – need to perform daily routine duty, you must embark on this horticultural journey with caution and safety.
In this article, we are going to delve into the art of cultivating gardens while protecting ourselves from the pitfall associated with it. We have explored the common injuries associated with gardening activities. Whether you are seasonal or professional, you must have an eye on the causes and symptoms of these injuries. It will help you avoid the chances of injuries. At the same time, we have also explained the possible preventive measures, suggested by experts, to keep you injury-free during gardening. So, let’s start our safe horticultural journey from here;
Common injuries found in gardening
Indeed, gardening is among the wonderful and rewarding hobbies. But, when not done with proper caution and care, it may cause various musculoskeletal injuries. Here we have enclosed a list of common injuries found in gardeners:
1. Back strain
Back strain is among the common musculoskeletal injuries in gardeners and several factors may contribute to the development of this problem. For example, continuously bending and twisting movements, improper lifting, prolonged squatting or kneeling, holding or lifting heavy gardening equipment, and overextension may put excessive pressure on your back, causing back strain. The condition manifests a range of sensations. The common symptoms associated with back strain may include localised pain, stiffness, muscle spasms, and difficulty standing or walking. The pain may also worsen with activities.
How to prevent back strain in gardening?
It is suggested to use proper lifting techniques and maintain a good posture while gardening. When you feel yourself stressed and tired, you must take regular breaks and avoid overusing your body. However, wearing back support braces may also help you avoid putting excessive strain or pressure on your back.
2. Shoulder pain
Shoulder pain in gardeners may be attributed to various factors and the primary causes of shoulder injury in gardening may include overhead activities, lifting heavy objects, improper posture (hunching over or slouching), repetitive movements during hoeing, digging, or raking, and sudden jerking movements. Primarily, you feel pain and discomfort. However, based on the intensity of the injury, gardeners may also feel limited range of motion, muscle weakness, and clicking or popping sensation.
How to prevent shoulder injury in gardening?
Warming up your body before performing specific or long-time gardening activities is the basic preventive measure to reduce the chances of shoulder injuries during gardening. Then you must maintain proper posture and use ergonomic tools or equipment. Healthcare professionals also suggest wearing posture correctors or shoulder braces to avoid the chances of shoulder pain.
3. Neck Strain
A number of factors are involved in developing neck strain while gardening. The common causes that take participate in neck strain during gardening may include bending and constantly looking down. As well as this, repetitive movements of the neck without proper form, carrying heavy objects, and overhead activities may also cause neck strain. Pain in the neck is the primary symptom resulting from neck strain. Then based on the intensity of the injury, you may also feel headaches, muscle tenderness, reduced range of motion, and stiffness.
How to prevent neck strain in gardening?
The basic preventive measure to avoid the chances of neck strain during gardening is to maintain proper posture. For example, keeping the head aligned with the spine is recommended for long-time gardening activities. Stay hydrated and take breaks during long-time gardening activities and avoid overusing your body. It is also suggested to wear neck braces to keep your neck in proper posture, helping avoid putting excessive strain on the neck.
4. Tennis elbow
If you are a professional gardener and involved in repetitive movements of arm or elbow you may develop tennis elbow over time. Most commonly tennis elbow occurs in gardeners when they repeat the same movements, such as pruning, digging, weeding, and using hand tools constantly. Other causes may include using improper gardening tools and overusing your elbows. The primary symptom associated with the tennis elbow is intensive pain on the outside of the elbow. Based on the intensity of the injury, gardeners may also have tenderness, stiffness, and weakness around the elbow joint.
How to prevent tennis elbow in gardening?
Gardeners are advised to use proper gardening techniques to avoid putting extra strain on their elbow joints. Warming up your body and stretching exercises before long-time gardening activities are also helpful. If you are susceptible to injury, you must wear elbow braces as they provide your elbow with needed support and reduce stress.
5. Carpal tunnel syndrome, CTS
Gardeners may also be involved in the repetitive tasks of hands and wrists, causing wrist pain. Repetitive movements of wrists and hands or putting excessive pressure on the median nerve can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. The common symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome may include pain, swelling, tingling or burning sensation, numbness, and weakness around the wrist joint.
How to prevent CTS in gardening?
Gardeners are advised to use the right or appropriate hand tools and maintain proper posture to avoid putting excessive stress on the median nerve. If you need to lift the objects, lift them properly. wearing wrist support braces helps keep your wrist joint in a neutral position or avoid putting excessive pressure on the median nerve. Consequently, you get a safe gardening experience without damaging your wrist joint.
6. Knee-related injuries
As gardening involved repeatedly bending or squatting positions during weeding or planting, it causes knee injuries in gardeners. As well as this, working on uneven grounds, lifting heavy gardening tools, and overusing your legs or knees are other common causes contributing to knee pain. People with pre-existing conditions are more susceptible to developing knee pain or injury during gardening.
Pain is the basic symptom associated with all knee-related injuries. However, in severe conditions, gardeners may also feel stiffness, swelling, popping or cracking sensation, limited range of motion, and joint instability.
How to prevent knee injuries in gardening?
Experts or healthcare professionals suggest using knee pads or mats during gardening as they provide support and cushioning to the knee joints. You must also perform stretching exercises regularly if you are involved in a regular gardening job. If you feel tired or susceptible to knee pain, you must take regular breaks during your jobs or avoid overusing your knees. Experts also suggest wearing knee support braces to avoid overextension or putting excessive pressure on the knee joints.
7. Ankle sprains
As gardeners need to sit on their feet for a prolonged time during gardening, they may be vulnerable to developing ankle sprains. Besides putting your whole body weight on the ankles, some other factors may also contribute to the development of ankle sprains. For example, wearing inadequate footwear, any sudden or awkward movement of ankles or feet, and working on uneven terrains are other common reasons bringing gardeners the risk of ankle sprains.
The symptoms of ankle sprains in gardeners depend upon the severity of the damage. Pain is the primary symptom; however, based on the intensity of the damage, you may also feel bruising, swelling, limited range of motion, and joint instability.
How to prevent ankle sprains in gardening?
The basic preventive measure for gardeners to avoid the chances of ankle sprains is to wear appropriate footwear. This will help avoid awkward movement and putting excessive pressure on the joints. If necessary, you should also wear ankle support braces to keep the ankle joints aligned and support them against excessive pressure or awkward movements.
The closing statement
Indeed gardening is a joyful activity that keeps you closer to nature. Whether you are a seasonal gardener or need to perform a daily job, you must be aware of the dangers that you may face during this activity. The above-mentioned injuries are common among gardeners. However, you must keep in mind the discussed causes to avoid the chances of injuries. When it is necessary, you must wear supportive garments and use proper equipment. It is also advised to consult your healthcare professionals and perform your task under their guidance. It will help you get a joyful and injury-free gardening experience.