Osteoarthritis leads to degeneration in the joint tissue that causes pain and stiffness. This also can lead to unusual bone growth around the joints. It is most common in the joints of the fingers, hips, feet and knees. Rheumatoid arthritis is more severe and can affect the entire body.
For a gardener, having joint pain can make it difficult to do what we enjoy. Many of the typical gardening activities can become a painful exercise: pinching off dead flowers, pruning bushes, lifting bags of soil, digging holes for plants and so on.
However, gardening can still be enjoyable for you, and it can actually help to improve your joint flexibility and range of motion. Some tips to make gardening easier and more enjoyable include:
- Work when you feel best: Some people with arthritis find that the early morning is the most painful time of day; the joints have not had the time to loosen up. You may be able to stretch before you start gardening to make it easier. Or, just try to garden later in the day when your joints move easier.
- Select the right tools: There are more good gardening tools for arthritis sufferers than ever before. Select tools with handles that are padded with foam or gel, such as the Peta Easi-Grip Garden Cultivator. There also are shovels available with longer handles that reduce the need to bend over.
Another good choice is our Peta Easi-Grip Garden Tools Set of 3:
- Use arms to carry heavy objects: If you have pain in your hands and fingers, lift heavy bags of soil with the arms, not just the fingers. Also, try to lift with your legs to reduce back strain.
- Vary activities: Change to another gardening activity every thirty minutes so you are using different joints and muscles.
- Try raised beds: To avoid having to bend over too much, try to use raised beds for your gardening.
Gardening can still be very enjoyable with arthritis. You just need to think about your activities a bit differently and follow some of the advice above. Happy Gardening!