Yardwork This Weekend? Here’s How to Avoid Injury

Weekend gardeners know that a big sense of accomplishment often accompanies a well-kept yard and garden. But sometimes, that’s not the only thing. Gardening and yard work can sometimes lead to soreness or injury.

According to Ryan Szepiela, MD; a ProMedica Physician who specializes in physical medicine, rehabilitation and sports medicine; yard tools can especially cause problems because they can put repetitive stress on a tendon or bursa, a sac that helps reduce friction between tissues of the body.

“Mostly it happens around the hand, the wrist or the elbow,” says Dr. Szepiela. “The chronic movement actually puts inflammation over top of the tendon.” This can cause intense pain and tenderness.

Before heading out to your yard or garden, consider these prevention tips from the American College of Rheumatology:

  • Warm up and stretch before doing yard or garden work
  • Engage in exercise daily or near daily rather than just the weekends
  • Learn and maintain proper posture and body mechanics
  • Avoid staying in one position for two long. Take rest breaks or change positions every 20 – 40 minutes
  • Stop any activity that causes pain
  • Avoid compulsive behavior, like “I’m going to finish this job even if it kills me!”

If it’s too late for prevention, Dr. Szepiela says treatments can include rest, ice and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicine such as Motrin® or Advil®. In some cases, a brace, anti-inflammatory prescription medicines and physical therapy may be recommended by your doctor.

Hear Dr. Szepiela talk about tendinitis and bursitis in a recent interview with 13ABC:

Have aches and pains? Learn how a sports medicine physician can help.