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Gardening

“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.” - Luther Burbank

It’s May, the weather is beautiful, and with recent events, you might find yourself with a little extra time on your hands.  Gardeners all around will take full advantage of these elements and plant vegetables and sprinkle life back into their yards with bits of color here and there.  And, while most wouldn’t consider gardening a formidable activity, the realty is gardening can result in injuries just as a number of sports.

One of the top contributing factors to gardening injuries is it is widely considered a casual activity that doesn’t require a proper warm-up to prepare for the bending, stooping, twisting, turning and heavy lifting.  Just as you would before a workout, give your body and muscles a chance to warm-up with light stretches to help prevent neck and lower back pain.

In addition, repetitive tasks and repetitive positioning can result in injury, such as, Shoulder Tendonitis, Lateral Epicondylitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Pre-Patellar Bursitis and de Quervain’s Tenosynovitis of the Thumb.  Activating preventative measures like using a garden stool or pad for extended periods of weeding or planting and taking frequent breaks in order to mix up your positioning can help keep you healthy and your body happy.

“Gardening is great for the soul, but it can be tough on our joints!” Dr. Michael Shane Smith continues, “Avoiding violent repetitive overhead activities and deep squatting and twisting maneuvers can help protect our shoulders and knees from developing some of the more common joint problems often associated with yard work and gardening”

When lifting heavy items, always remember the general rules of thumb:

- Keep the load/item close to your body

- Use your legs (slightly bent) and not your back

- Don’t overload – make frequent trips if necessary

- Avoid twisting your body when lifting and setting item down; move your feet and hips to position placement

At Athens Orthopedic Clinic, we believe taking care of your body doesn’t have to be a chore.  Gardening is a great activity for children, beginners, families and experts.  Choose tasks that best fit your ability and rotate through them to avoid repetitive use type injuries.