Top 5 gardening injuries and simple solutions to prevent them

Top 5 gardening injuries and simple solutions to prevent them

Spring has arrived, the weather is warming up, and that means many of us will be returning to the garden on the weekends. We are getting back into those jobs that we have put off throughout the winter, such as mowing the lawn, pruning trees and planting veggies. These activities do carry with them an unfortunate risk of injury to our bodies, particularly our muscles, ligaments and joints. In this blog, we will discuss the Top 5 gardening injuries we see at Osteopathy on Canterbury and our 5 simple solutions to help prevent them.

5 common gardening injuries

1. Forearm and elbow overuse injuries

Repetitive activities such as pruning can cause overuse strain injuries to our elbows and forearms.

2. Acute lower back injuries

Bending and loading activities such as starting a lawnmower or digging with a shovel can be an easy way to injure our lower backs.

3. Neck and shoulder injuries

Overhead activities such as cutting down high branches may irritate and aggravate the neck or shoulder joints.

4. Knee injuries

Prolonged kneeling, when weeding or planting veggies can place a large amount of pressure on our knees which can cause some discomfort to the joints.

5. Sprained ankle

Walking on uneven surfaces in the garden beds is a recipe for a nasty rolled ankle.

5 simple solutions to prevent gardening injuries

1. Warm up appropriately

Doing some light walking and gentle mobility stretching before you begin gardening is a great way to get your body ready for more vigorous activity and prevent gardening injuries.

2. Maintain good posture

Ensuring you perform gardening tasks with appropriate posture is very important. Lifting heavy items should be done by bending the legs and keeping your back straight to prevent any lower back strain. Also aiming to perform gardening tasks at eye level can ease the pressure off your neck and shoulders and prevent gardening injuries.

3. Take breaks

Taking regular breaks is an effective way to ensure you’re not overdoing it and avoid any overuse injuries.

4. Stay hydrated

Ensuring you drink enough water while you’re outside in the warmer weather is very important to prevent any dehydration.

5. Comfortable footwear and clothing

Making sure you are dressed appropriately, particularly with the right footwear, is important before you begin.

Stretch to prevent gardening injuries

Try this effective stretch for your pectoral muscles to loosen off your shoulder and chest before you jump into the backyard. Not only does it feel good, but it may help prevent gardening injuries.

Pectoral stretch

Step 1 – Put your hand against a door frame above head height with your elbow bent at 90 degrees.
Step 2 – Turn and rotate your chest to the other direction of the hand that is against the door frame. This should allow you to feel the stretch through your pectoral muscles across your chest.
Step 3 – Hold for 30-60 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

The team at Osteopathy on Canterbury can assist you with your gardening injuries with hands on treatment and a tailored management plan. We can also provide advice and education on prevention strategies for your gardening activities.

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This article is for information purposes only. Please consult your Osteopath or primary healthcare professional for further information.

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