Raleigh Hand to Shoulder Center in Raleigh, NC

Gardening Tips by Hand Therapist


As the weather gets better, many of us are spending more time outside. Gardening is a great hobby and a good way to stay active. Unfortunately, for those with hand arthritis, this hobby can be painful.  When activities you love cause pain, it’s time to think about what you can do to minimize pain and further damage to your joints.  The following tips can help you enjoy gardening for many years to come!

1. Plan ahead. Think about what activities may require help. If you are handling heavy plants or maneuvering pots, ask for assistance. You’ve heard the saying, “Two hands are better than one”. Well, for those with pain, four hands are better than two! If you use less effort on the heavier tasks, you can do more enjoyable activities like planting flowers and tending to your vegetables.

Planning ahead may also mean organizing your time. Trying to finish the whole garden in one shot may not be good for your joints! Make sure you take breaks and spread the project over several days to avoid unnecessary pain.

2. Finds tools to help your body work more efficiently. For those with arthritis in the hands, there are a variety of gardening tools to decrease strain on your joints. Typically, tools with wider grips and curved handles are better. These can help place joints in better positions for less pain, but also allow you to use larger muscle groups to do the work.

3.  Know your limits. If you are performing a task and it is painful, you probably shouldn’t be doing it! Is there a different way to complete the task which doesn’t cause pain (i.e. reposition hands/body, use different tool, etc). There is almost always more than one way to finish a project. And your joints with thank you when you find that way!

Arthritis can be painful and debilitating. But with the right tools and knowledge, gardening is one activity that you can enjoy for a long time! The following websites may be helpful in completing your goals.





You can also speak with one of our hand therapists to help you determine the best way to enjoy these activities for years to come!

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