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Can gardening or yardwork lead to injury?

Posted in Summer Sports Injuries, Conditions & Treatment

Can gardening or yardwork lead to injury?

We hear it all the time – complaints of a sore shoulder or knee or back after gardening or doing summer yardwork. And we have some tips to share.

What problems can arise from gardening or yardwork?

Gardening, while enjoyable a summer activity, puts strain on our body parts. When we garden or work in the yard, we often bend and stretch into positions that our body has not been in all winter. And, we typically go at it without preparation or 'warming up' our body.

Some of the injuries that can occur include:

  • Knee issues, such as bursitis, often caused from prolonged kneeling and excessive weight on your knee joints.
  • Shoulder pain, such as a rotator cuff injury, cause by repetitive overhead motion as used in hedge trimming, etc.
  • Back pain due to improper form when working in the garden, or strain as a result of improper lifting.

How do you prevent gardening injuries?

Firstly, take a few minutes before you start to warm up before you get started. Reach up to stretch your arms and torso,  and go for a 10 minute walk.

Then, take your time. Start with 20-30 minutes of gardening or yardwork, and then take a break to stretch and rest.

Here are a few other things you can do:

  • Use padding for your knees when weeding. Most hardware or stores with gardening sections carry knee pads that you can move around with you from place to place.
  • Practice good form when working – bend at the hips, avoid locking your knees, do not round your back, and refrain from twisting your body.
  • Lift heavy objects with proper form.
  • Use the right tools and assistive devices to help eliminate extra unnecessary strain – wheel barrows, light weight long handle rakes, hoes, clippers, stools, etc.
  • Change tasks frequently.
  • Stretch every 10 minutes to avoid cramping.

Think you may have injured yourself gardening?

If you've developed a sore shoulder or knee or any other pain, give us a call. We'll ask a few questions to determine if you should come in for a treatment with our physiotherapists or massage therapists.

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