If you’re a gardener, you probably can’t wait for this time of year— pulling weeds, digging in the dirt and planting flowers and vegetables. Before you get your tools out and start pulling those weeds and planting seeds, you might want to take a moment to think about how to protect and keep your hands safe while gardening.
Did you know nearly 70,000 people visit an ER annually and that number doesn’t include lawn mower accidents or hands cut by sharp objects. If you’re not careful, gardening can cause strained ligaments and tendons, stiff joints and injuries to your hands. Fortunately, with a little thought and preparation you can enjoy gardening while keeping your hands safe and comfortable.
Here are some tips for protecting your hands:
- Wear Protective Gloves to protect your hands from cuts and abrasions, blisters and even the sun. Gloves that provide support and mild compression can also help soothe arthritic hands. Choose gloves with long wrists for pruning plants with prickles and thorns. Fingerless gloves are great for doing detailed work such as transplanting seedlings. Protexgloves are a great way to protect your hands from cuts, bruises and the sun’s rays (50+ UPF) and keep them warm, but not sweaty, on cool days. They are available in different lengths and with or without fingers.
- Take Frequent Breaks from planting bulbs, trimming hedges, raking and digging. Gardening involves many repetitive tasks with your hands, which puts you at risk of aggravating arthritis and developing or exacerbating carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive stress injuries. Doing the same motion over and over for a long period of time without taking a break, can strain your muscles and tendons. Changing your activity every 15 minutes or so can help avoid stress on your hands.
- Use the Right Tools – When using tools with sharp blades, like pruners or shears- make sure they have safety locks built into them. Sharp or rusty objects can also hide underneath the soil and cause cuts or punctures to your hands. Always use a hand shovel or rake when digging.
- Keep your hands in a relaxed position– Holding your trowel, shovel or other tools too tightly with a stiff, bent wrist can cause unnecessary strain. Keep your wrist in a neutral, rather than flexed, position and apply comfortable pressure rather than a death grip. Keeping your hands in a relaxed position helps improve your grip strength and puts less pressure on them.
Gardening can be a wonderful, relaxing activity. With a little thought, planning and the right tools, you’ll have a beautiful yard and happy, healthy hands.Like what you’ve read? Click here to subscribe to the blog!
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