Gardening with Arthritis: Tips for Preventing Joint Pain
With a few adaptations, people with arthritis can reap the benefits of gardening without the joint pain.
Gardening can be a pain-free hobby for people living with arthritis – all you need is a little planning and creativity.
A few shortcuts and adaptations can make gardening possible for anyone, says Heidi Sibert, a landscape architect at James Martin Associates in Chicago. Sibert, who has psoriatic arthritis, is a passionate proponent of a horticultural approach called enabling gardens.
Enabling gardens, which are used by many doctors as a form of physical, mental and social therapy, are specifically designed to be accessible to people with specific needs and limitations. They key for people with arthritis is to keep your garden within easy reach.
With just a few adjustments, you can do it on any scale and indulge your preference for flowers, vegetables or landscaping plants. Start by identifying any potential limitations and finding a way around each one. Here are a few ideas:
Take Your Garden to a Higher Level
Raised beds can be made permanent, held up by wood, brick, or stone walls that will stay in place long-term. Consider hiring someone to help with the initial installation; once in place, the garden is yours to plant and enjoy!
For a more temporary or portable solution, you can grow your garden in pots or other containers. This is especially great for apartments and small yards. For plants that you plan to move, you can save your joints by using lightweight Styrofoam or plastic pots. If they’re big, fill them 1/3 full with Styrofoam peanuts, which will help with drainage and reduce their weight.
Use Joint-Friendly Tools
Buy a kneeling pad or even a scooter wagon you can sit on while weeding. This will prevent you from having to stoop or bend but be sure to stand up and stretch out from time to time.
You can see more of our tips and ideas for helpful gardening tools.
Practice Correct Posture
Take Frequent Breaks
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