Spring has finally sprung, and you may find yourself fighting the war on weeds in your garden and yard. In order to prevent many common injuries and infections from gardening, we recommend that you wear gloves. Gardening gloves help protect you from fungal and bacterial infections, and also from injuries caused by gardening tools.
Start with Gardening Gloves
You want to choose a pair of gloves that fits you. Well fitting gloves help prevent injuries because extra material can cause you to fumble around with your tools. If your gloves fit correctly, they allow you more dexterity. Your gloves should be snug on the hand, but not so tight that you cannot pull your hand out of it- you do not want your gloves to fall or slip off. You also want your fingertips to reach the ends of the fingers of the glove. You also want to make sure that you are wearing the correct gloves for the task. Cloth or cotton gloves may not protect from thorny plants or splinters. You also want to consider whether or not you hands will be near water- if they will be, you should look into waterproof gloves. If you prune your plants, then you should consider cut resistant gloves.
Gloves can help prevent injury, but they are not 100% effective. If you notice diffuse redness, stiffness, and/or pain that is persistent and spreads slowly, then you may have a fungal infection. If you have a cut that is red, not healing, oozing, etc., then this could be infected as well. You should contact your doctor if you notice any of these signs, so that you can nip the infection in the bud.
How to Not Irritate Your Thumb Arthritis
Gardeners with CMC Arthritis often ask how they can continue to garden without putting themselves in a lot of pain. If you have CMC Arthritis, then you must pace yourself when you garden. Setting time limits for how much time you spend a day gardening can help, as well as inserting breaks into your gardening time. For more information on how to protect your joints, check out our blog on Joint Protection. Gardening requires repetitive activities, such as gripping shears and pulling weeds, and these can irritate your arthritis. There are different ways to pinch to pull up weeds, and trying different pinching positions can help you alleviate the pain in your thumb without seeing weeds take over your garden.
The image above shows a poor pinch posture. Pulling weeds like this can possibly irritate CMC arthritis.
This image shows a lateral pinch. Using a lateral or key-pinch is a more effective way of using your thumb. We recommend this pinch for weeding.
The image above demonstrates a poor grip on a spade handle. This grip can put a lot of pressure on your thumb and irritate your thumb or wrist.
The grip in the above image takes the pressure off the thumb allowing you to use a firm grasp and dig at the ground from the side.
Have you sustained an injury between or including your shoulder and fingertips? Do you suspect that your workplace environment is causing you pain? If so, you could be a candidate for hand therapy services at LB Hand Therapy in Maryland. Visit our Where to Begin page to become a patient.