Care for your lawn and garden without hurting your joints

Make yardwork and gardening easier with some simple changes.

When you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), it's important to find ways to carry on with daily tasks, such as gardening and lawn care. Although joint pain and stiffness may limit your mobility, arthritis doesn't have to keep you from enjoying these activities. Here are some tips to help prevent arthritis symptoms from flaring while you keep your garden growing.

Go easy on your joints

Work smarter to reduce strain on your joints as you care for your lawn and garden.

  • Frequently switch from one task to another. Change tasks every 15 to 20 minutes to avoid straining the same joint for long periods. Take frequent rest breaks. Alternate difficult and easy tasks.
  • Use your forearms or palms, not your fingers. Rest heavy pots, plants and baskets on your forearms or palms to carry them. This avoids overworking and inflaming small joints in your fingers and hands.
  • Plan ahead to avoid walking long distances. Plan your tasks to reduce walking back and forth. Before beginning, load a garden cart with everything you'll need to get the job done.
  • Avoid lifting bulky or large items. When possible, purchase or place compost and fertilizer in multiple, small containers instead of a single large one. Decide ahead of time if you might need a helper and recruit an assistant for all or part of the job.
July 01, 2015