Even without unexpected injuries such as cuttings, you need to know that any repetitive motion such as pruning, raking, weeding, digging can place stress on your hands and wrists. This may result in tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. For these reasons, American Society of Hand Therapists has offered some important tips on how to keep yourself safe during garden work.
It’s important to wear gloves for the duration of your work. Bacteria and fungi live in the soil so any small cut or irritation can turn into an infection. It’s best to use thick, leather or suede gloves. They will also protect you from any thorns, scrapes and cuts.
Cover Your Arms
Don’t forget to keep your arms covered. It’s important to be careful, especially if you work in a spot where you might disturb animals, such as rodents, spiders or snakes. By wearing long sleeves and aforementioned gloves, you will give yourself some protection against these animals. Covering your hands and arms will also protect you from poison ivy and insect bites.
Take a Break Every Hour
It’s important to take a break every hour or to switch to another activity. Repetitive motions such as digging, especially when overused, can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Therefore, you should break up large tasks into shorter sessions and rest during break between sessions. Don’t forget to stretch during rest.
Use a Tool When Working at Unfamiliar Areas
It’s easy to get a puncture or tendon lacerations caused by buried sharp objects. Therefore, whenever you dig at unfamiliar areas, make sure to use a correct tool. This will help you avoid accidental injuries.
Store Tools Correctly
Make sure to store all of your tools. Put them away after use to prevent any potential injuries. Tools left in the garden are a recipe for trouble. You should be extra careful if there are children around. Make sure to keep any sharp tools out of their reach at all times.
Use Wide-Handled Tools
Choose tools with padded or thicker handles. This will protect smaller joints in your hands. Make sure to hold your wrist in a neutral or straight position. This will prevent injuries in your wrist or forearm.
Avoid Awkward Motions
Try to avoid awkward motions and constant gripping. Use both hands for heavy activities such as lifting a bag of potting soil. Make sure to alternate hands on all the repetitive tasks such as scooping dirt out of the bag into a pot.
Don’t Sit Back on Your Knees
If you sit back on your knees you will put unnecessary pressure on your knee joints, which will require you to push most of your body weight up with your hands and wrists. This will place increased pressure on these joints. To prevent this, use a short gardening stool or bench while working.
Always Plan Ahead
Prepare everything you need ahead of the work. Use a large-handled container or a basket to carry your supplies to the garden. Carry the basket with both hands. This will distribute the workload equally and decrease stress in the joints of your upper body.
Use a basket or large-handled container to carry supplies to the garden. Carry the basket with both hands, distributing the workload equally and decreasing stress in the joints of your upper body.