How to Protect Hands While Gardening

Spring in Texas this year begins on March 20th, 2017. Warmer weather means more time to spend in your garden growing your favorite vegetables, herbs, and flowers! If gardening is one of your hobbies, or if it’s an activity you’ve considered getting into, it’s important to always protect your hands. The elements, the use of gardening tools, and the repetitive nature of gardening can have a significant impact on your hands. Here are our top tips on how to protect your hands while using your green thumb.

Wear Gloves

Never garden without using protective gloves! Gardening can put a lot of pressure on your hands and wearing gloves is the first step to help prevent potential injuries, like blisters, calluses, and cuts from sharp plants or thorns. Not to mention insect bites, chemicals, fertilizers, bacteria, and sunburn! Beyond wearing gloves, it’s also important to be mindful of the method in which you garden.

Perform a Different Task Every 15 Minutes

Gardening can be a strenuous yet fulfilling activity. Performing a different task every 15 minutes helps to avoid the repetition of the same motion over and over again as well as stress on your hands and wrists. Hobbies that require intensive hand use and performing activities with repetitive motions are two risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Adding some variety to your routine may help alleviate this potential issue. Instead of performing the same task for an extended period of time, switch between tasks such as raking, planting, trimming, digging, and pruning every 15 minutes or so. Also, make sure your wrists are relaxed and straight while you are gardening to reduce any unnecessary pressure.

Apply Hand Salve Daily

In addition to all of the cuts and blisters that are your badge of honor, gardening can really dry out your hands. To keep your hands moisturized, we recommend applying hand salve both before and after you garden. Smear some on before you garden. After you’ve finished, wash your hands, and apply some more. If you don’t have any hand salve handy, there are many alternatives for keeping your hands moisturized. You may even find some unexpected items to use in your cupboard! For example, using olive oil or baby oil are great ways to moisturize your hands.

Even if you wear protective gloves and you are careful while gardening, accidents do happen. If you get a little scratch or nick, it’s always a good idea to keep a small spray bottle of white vinegar and some bandages in your garden tote. Vinegar is a natural remedy to heal a wound. However, if pain persists, this may be an indication of a hand problem or an emergency. For emergencies, our dedicated hand specialists and registered nurses are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your calls regarding an injury from the upper arm to the fingertips. For an injury that does not need immediate attention, schedule an appointment with us today. Stay safe while you garden and happy spring!

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The Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas offers diagnosis and treatment for hand, wrist, and elbow problems in Houston, using the most advanced and minimally invasive medical techniques. Our orthopedic hand specialists and hand and finger surgeons are waiting to provide you with excellent care at one of our hand care centers in River Oaks, Webster, North Houston, Katy/Sugarland, or Baytown

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