Gardening and its impact on your bones

Gardening not only invites the opportunity to enjoy physical activity outdoors, but it is also largely about losing yourself in the joy of nurturing plants and tending beautiful beds. However, not everything in the garden is rosy when it comes to partaking in this pastime. Whilst there are benefits to this activity, it can trigger or exacerbate joint problems. 

Top tips on joint and bone health

To ensure that the gardening you undertake helps not hinders your bones and joints, both now and in later life, we’ve compiled some of the top tips:

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    Change the task to reduce repeated strain on the same joints

    It’s advisable that you switch gardening tasks every 20 minutes, so that you can rest some joints and exercise different ones. For example, you should break up more difficult jobs such as mowing the lawn and hoeing weeds with gentler tasks.

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    Spread the loads by using your hands and arms

    When carrying any gardening items, such as a tray of seedlings for example, try to spread the load by lifting with your hands and arms, rather than just your fingers. Keep elbows tucked in to reduce the strain on your shoulders and elbows.

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    Get a good grip

    Whilst gardening keeps hand muscles vigorous and agile, it’s important they’re well-looked after, as repetitive stress injuries or tendonitis could occur. To best avoid these conditions developing, it’s important you invest in a good pair of gloves to help you grip more easily.

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    Use a garden stool

    Repeatedly standing and kneeling can impact your joints. Using a stool will not only make you less tired, but, because you will inevitably be closer to the ground, you can use smaller, lighter tools.

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    Avoid heavy lifting

    Where possible, if you have a heavy load to carry, ask a partner, friend or neighbour if they’re able to help. It’s especially important to bend your knees when lifting objects. If you’re lifting something alone, take your time and split up the loads.

Would you like to lower your risk of arthritis? 


Orthopaedics at The Lister Hospital

Gardening can have an impact on a range of joints, and exacerbate already existing musculoskeletal problems due to its repetitive nature. If you find yourself in frequent discomfort or pain, it might be time to see a doctor. 

The Lister Hospital provides the full spectrum of orthopaedic care for the hip and pelvis, knee, foot and ankle, shoulder and elbow, hand and wrist, spine and peripheral nerve.

With leading orthopaedic consultants offering clinics in each discipline, The Lister Hospital can help support you getting back to your best in the garden. 

Gardening can be great exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle, however, it can place quite a strain on muscles and joints. If there is a particular activity which causes ongoing discomfort, such as standing from kneeling or shoulder pain when tending to taller plants, it might be useful to have a check-up and nip any problems in the bud.

Mr Sam Oussedik, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Contact The Lister Hospital

We hope you enjoyed our garden, if you would like a printed copy of the Health in Full Bloom brochure or would like to make appointment to see a specialist please contact us.

020 3993 5961
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