With the temperatures finally warming up, many of us are looking forward to getting outside and planting vegetable and flower gardens. Gardening is a great activity that can provide exercise and enjoyment as well as ease stress. Like any activity, when not done properly, injuries can occur. New England Baptist Hospital orthopedic surgeon, Carl Talmo, MD offers the following tips to help prevent injury.
- Make sure to lift heavy objects properly. To do this: Separate your feet so they are shoulder width apart. Bend at the knees, tighten your stomach muscles and lift with your leg muscles, not your back, as you stand up.
- To help avoid knee and back injuries from repetitive bending and kneeling in the garden, consider using a garden stool, which can help relieve pressure on your spine and knees.
- If you prefer to kneel in the garden, knee pads can be very helpful for preventing injury and can make kneeling much more comfortable and safe, if you have a history of knee surgery.
- Try to get up and stretch periodically to avoid cramping.
- Make sure you have the proper equipment. Gloves, appropriate footwear and long pants help protect against insect bites and injuries such as stepping on sharp objects or cuts from handling sharp tools. Don’t forget the sunscreen.
- Make sure to stay hydrated.
If you have any type of persistent pain, you should consult an orthopedic expert.