5 Tips for Gardening with Arthritis and Joint Pain

Gardening with arthritis
Having arthritis doesn’t mean you have to give up gardening. (DepositPhotos)

Gardening can be a great form of exercise and activity for people of all ages. It helps to develop physical stamina, balance, and excellent hand-eye coordination.

However, those who have arthritis or joint pain may feel that their gardening days are becoming physically challenging. The repetitive motion of pruning and weeding can be tough on your joints and bones.

Luckily, there are a few steps that you can take to get around the joint pain caused by arthritis, allowing you to reap the benefits of gardening without suffering from joint pain for the rest of the day.

AMES’ Ergo Gel Trowel
AMES’ Ergo Gel Trowel has an ergonomic handle that’s easier to grip and ideal for people with arthritis.

1. Use Tools with Bigger Handles

The first thing to do is invest in tools that have larger handles. These require less grip from your fingers; instead, you squeeze with your wrists to hold the tools, stressing your hands far less.

You can even find ergonomic gardening tools. They have bigger handles and are curved in such a way that doesn’t detract from your joint health.

Bigger handles also make using the tool easier as you’re able to apply more force and pressure onto it. As a result, you can cut through dirt and snip plants almost effortlessly.

If you don’t want to buy brand new tools, there is a DIY option available. All you need to do is wrap pipe insulation around the handles of the tools you already own. This makes them bigger and allows you to grip onto them just the same as you would with an ergonomic handle.

Luckily, these thicker handles will not hurt your precision, which is important, even if you’re new to gardening.

A power hedge trimmer can make quick work in the garden — which can really help people with arthritis.

2. Use Power Tools

Another method you might consider is doing away with mechanical tools entirely.

The repetitive motions required to use the tool can cause a lot of strain on your joints. You’ve likely experienced arthritis flare-ups after a day of hard gardening. Your tools could possibly play a part in the joint pain.

By going electrical, you can dig, cut and perform other gardening actions a lot easier since the machine is helping you out. You’re still part of the gardening process since it requires you to guide it, but you won’t suffer from extreme joint pain after the job is done.

That being said, be mindful of how often you use tools that vibrate, as this can make your arthritis worse.

Using thick gloves when handling the tool can reduce the amount of vibration transferred to your hands.

You may even be able to find powered tools that don’t vibrate as much when you use them or tools dedicated to those who suffer from joint pain.

At the very least, switching to electric tools for a portion of your gardening will help to reduce the effects of arthritis.

When you have arthritis, it’s best to sit while gardening. (DepositPhotos)

3. Don’t Bend or Stoop

Try to work only at your waist level. If you have to bend down or stoop, you’re going to exacerbate the pain in your back.

Instead of stooping, try pulling a chair or bench over to the area in which you’re working. You can sit and work without straining your back. The goal is to avoid squatting and bending low.

If you have to get on your knees, you might want to think about buying knee pads. As you age, the skin becomes thinner and too much pressure in one area can cause the skin to bruise. Knee pads can protect your skin and your joints by offering a cushioned area to rest against.

Essential oils
Some essential oils can help relieve the inflammation that joint pain causes. (DepositPhotos)

4. Use Essential Oils

Those who love to use natural means to help their joint pain might want to consider using essential oils.

There are a few oils like ginger, turmeric, peppermint, rosemary and others that are designed to relieve the inflammation that joint pain causes.

To use essential oils effectively, you should apply them to the areas where you receive joint pain both before and after you work in the garden. This helps stave off inflammation and then helps keep it from building after the activity is finished.

5. Listen to Your Body

You have to be responsible for your body. The moment it starts to feel achy, you should consider resting.

Listen to your body, stay hydrated and well-rested; this will help you become stronger and protect your body from additional joint pain.


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