Gardening with Arthritis: Tips to Prevent Joint Pain

Relaxing, peaceful, and rewarding - those are 3 words we would use to describe the art of gardening. Whether you’re just starting out or have an experienced green thumb, gardening is a wonderful hobby that brings joy and satisfaction to many who try it…and who could blame them? It’s a great way to spend time outdoors, connect with nature, and get some exercise. 

However, if you struggle with hand and leg pain, even pleasant tasks like gardening become more of a chore than a hobby. But fear not! Even if you’re struggling with arthritis, there are ways to adapt your gardening routine to make it easier on your body. Read on for all the information (and wearables) you may need for gardening with arthritis, aching muscles, or even chronic pain. 

Grab your shovel and let’s get started!

Can You Garden With Arthritis?

We won’t make you wait for it - YES! Not only can you garden with arthritis, it’s actually recommended by many doctors and physical therapists as an easy, rewarding way to keep your joints (and mind) active. 

“Gardening is not only enjoyable; it is also a good form of exercise that conditions your muscles and helps with arthritis” - David Felson, MD, MPH

You heard it from the best, folks! But it’s not just for those with arthritis - almost anyone can enjoy gardening, even if you suffer from back problems, joint issues, or chronic pain. We’re focusing on arthritis here, as it’s one of the most common ailments among gardeners - but these tips apply to all of the above, as well.

Without further ado, let’s get into the best ways to garden - without the grief! 

The Best Tips for Gardening with Arthritis

From choosing the right plants to picking the right products, we’re covering all of the ways you can save yourself from soreness, ache, and pain while you plant, shovel, and water your flora. 

Start Small

It's easy to get carried away when starting a new hobby like gardening. With so many beautiful plants, fruits, and veggies, it’s easy to get excited! However, it's important to start small, especially if you're new to gardening or struggle with chronic pain. Start with a small area of your yard or a container garden on your balcony or patio. This will allow you to focus on a smaller space and make it more manageable.

We suggest starting out with a potted plant and moving from there. That way, you can learn how to care for plants, without having to struggle in the yard.

Choose the Right Plants

A HUGE mistake many beginning gardeners make is getting too carried away with beautiful but high-maintenance plants. When choosing plants for your garden, it's important to choose ones that are easy to care for and suitable for your climate. Consider planting native plants, which are better adapted to your local climate and require less maintenance. Additionally, choose plants that are easy to access and don't require bending or reaching too much. 

Succulents are a great starter plant - they don’t require a lot of work, and look great!

Use Ergonomic Tools

Gardening can be physically demanding, especially if you struggle with chronic pain. It’s easy to get sore hands while shoveling, even if you don’t struggle with hand and joint issues. 

Using ergonomic tools can help reduce the strain on your body and make gardening more comfortable. Look for tools with padded handles and long handles that allow you to work in a more upright position.

Use Compression Therapy

Nothing wrong with adding a little extra support while you’re in the garden. A great way to combat joint and muscle pain is by giving them a little extra padding through compression sleeves and braces! 

For arthritis and hand pain, we recommend our half-finger arthritis gloves - these sleek, copper-infused gloves provide snug-yet-comfortable compression to keep your joints supported without inhibiting your gardening. 

For those struggling with their knees, try our recovery knee sleeve. The compression allows for more stabilization, and keeps your knee joint protected from constant bending. 

Finally, for back pain, try out the lower back brace! It’s adjustable and perfect for those who struggle with chronic back issues or have a hard time bending down while gardening. Perfect for under or over your shirt! 

Use Assistive Devices

Aside from compression therapy, there are many assistive devices available that can make gardening easier for people with hand, back, and leg pain. Knee pads, for example, can provide cushioning and support while kneeling. Hand tools with larger handles can be easier to grip, while tools with long handles can help you reach plants without bending down.

Take Breaks

Gardening should be relaxing, not rushed! It's important to take breaks while gardening, especially if you struggle with chronic pain. Take frequent breaks to stretch and rest your body. 

Also, be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and avoid overexerting yourself. 

Consider Raised Beds

Raised beds are a great option for those who struggle with chronic pain and/or arthritis. They are easier to access and require less bending and reaching! Raised beds can be made out of wood, stone, or other materials and can be customized to fit your specific needs. It may require a little effort to set up, but it’s worth it!

Get Help

Don't be afraid to ask for help when gardening. Enlist the help of a friend or family member to assist you with heavier tasks, such as moving bags of soil or lifting heavy pots. Additionally, consider hiring a professional gardener to help you maintain your garden. Up to you!

What Other Hobbies Can Compression Therapy Help With? 

Compression doesn’t stop with soil! If you’re looking to get back to other hobbies but are worried about aches and pains, there’s hope for you! Compression therapy is the perfect supporter for countless hobbies and activities, such as: 

Running: Compression therapy is increasingly popular among runners - leg and knee sleeves in particular! They can help increase circulation, reduce muscle fatigue and soreness, and minimize swelling. Compression socks also help reduce the risk of developing blood clots, which can be a concern for long-distance runners.

Cycling: Cyclists can also benefit from compression therapy by helping to prevent muscle soreness, reduce fatigue, and improve performance. They also provide support for the muscles, which can be particularly beneficial during long rides.

Yoga: Yogis everywhere could always use a little extra help! Compression sleeves can help improve flexibility and range of motion. They also provide support for the muscles and help reduce muscle soreness and fatigue.

Golf: Professional golfers everywhere are getting into compression sleeves! They help reduce the risk of injury, particularly in the elbow and wrist. Compression sleeves also help increase circulation and reduce swelling, which can be particularly beneficial for golfers who spend long hours on the course.

Weightlifting: Compression clothing can help weightlifters improve their performance and reduce muscle soreness by providing support for the muscles, improving blood flow, and helping to reduce fatigue.

Travel: Compression socks are often recommended for long flights to reduce the risk of developing blood clots. They help improve circulation and reduce swelling in the feet and ankles. Compression socks can also be worn during car or train travel to help reduce swelling and discomfort.

Standing/Sitting: Compression sleeves and socks are often recommended for individuals who stand or sit for long periods. They help improve circulation and reduce swelling in the legs and feet. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals who work in professions that require them to stand or sit for long hours.

Final Thoughts

By starting small, choosing the right plants, using ergonomic tools, taking breaks, considering raised beds, and getting help when needed, you can create a beautiful garden that brings you joy and enhances your well-being! For other tips and tricks, check out our blog - and don’t forget to look at the website for the latest sales so you can save BIG!