Summer Ready Gardening: 6 Tips to Prevent Hand & Shoulder Injuries During Yard Maintenance


As summer approaches, many of us are eager to spend more time outdoors, enjoying the sunshine and tending to our yards. However, with increased gardening and yard maintenance comes the risk of hand and shoulder injuries, especially if proper precautions aren’t taken. At Alaska Hand Rehabilitation, we understand the importance of protecting your hands and shoulders while keeping your outdoor space beautiful. That’s why we’ve put together some essential tips to help you avoid common injuries during yard maintenance this summer:

Warm Up Before You Work

Just like any physical activity, it’s essential to warm up your muscles before diving into yard work. Take a few minutes to stretch your arms, shoulders, and hands to increase flexibility and reduce the risk of strains and sprains. Focus on gentle stretches that target the muscles you’ll be using while gardening or landscaping.

Use Ergonomic Gardening Tools

Invest in quality, ergonomic gardening tools that are designed to reduce strain on your hands and shoulders. Look for tools with padded handles, adjustable lengths, and lightweight materials to minimize fatigue and discomfort during prolonged use. Ergonomic tools can help you maintain proper wrist alignment and reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries.

Gardening Sheers

Practice Proper Lifting Techniques

When lifting heavy objects such as bags of soil or potted plants, use proper lifting techniques to protect your back and shoulders. Bend at the knees, keep your back straight, and use your legs to lift the load, rather than relying solely on your back, arms and shoulders. Avoid twisting your body while lifting, as this can strain your spine and lead to injury.

Gardening Tools

Take Regular Breaks

Yard work can be physically demanding, so be sure to take regular breaks to rest and rehydrate. Listen to your body and avoid overexerting yourself, especially in hot weather. Use break times to stretch your muscles, change positions, and give your body a chance to rest and recover.

Protect Your Hands

Wear protective gloves to shield your hands from cuts, blisters, and thorns while working in the yard. Choose gloves that fit well and provide adequate grip and dexterity for handling tools and plants. Consider wearing wrist braces or supports if you have pre-existing hand or wrist conditions to provide added stability and prevent aggravating existing injuries.


Listen to Your Body

Pay attention to any signs of discomfort or pain while performing yard work and stop immediately if you experience sharp or persistent pain. Ignoring warning signs can lead to further injury and prolong recovery time. If you experience ongoing hand or shoulder pain, contact Alaska Hand Rehabilitation for guidance and treatment.

Gardening Potted Plants

By following these tips, you can enjoy a safe and injury-free summer of yard maintenance, while keeping your hands and shoulders healthy and strong. Remember to prioritize your safety and well-being, and happy gardening!

This post was written by Molly Monro – Creighton Occupational Therapy Student

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