Protect Against Knee Pain in the Garden
My name is Sol, the gardening physiotherapist at Rebound Health. When I am not in the clinic, or playing with my kids, or cleaning up after my kids, or stopping my kids from killing each other – I love working in the garden! Even if I don’t get to do it a much as I’d like, my experience in the garden has given me insight into the aches and pains this inspiring, rewarding and strenuous activity can cause!
Knee pain is common in the garden! If you consider how many jobs involve being at ground height – it makes sense… weeding, planting, picking strawberries … jobs like these require you to be down low – often in a deep squat or actually kneeling on the ground.
When you talk about knees, many of you may have heard the “A word”… dare I mention it? Arthritis. Conservative estimates put around 1 in 5 Australians over the age of 50 as being effected by osteoarthritis – so it’s a fairly common issue. If your knees have even a small amount of arthritis – they probably won’t enjoy being in a deep squat or kneeling on hard ground for significant lengths of time.
Osteoarthritis is diagnosed through a combination of symptoms and X-ray imaging. If you have arthritis the key to keeping your pain down and your gardening up is mastering self-management strategies. These strategies either reduce the chances of a pain flare up or quench the pain if it has raised its ugly head. One of the most effective, and often untried of these strategies is the use of ice on your painful knee after gardening. For the knee, I recommend 5 minutes on, 5 minutes off and then another 5 minutes on.
“But…” you may be thinking “…I don’t have arthritis but my knees are sore after gardening”
Spending long periods kneeling on hard surfaces can be painful for the healthiest of knees potentially causing bruising if you are lucky or if you are less lucky a longer lasting inflammation of the knee called a bursitis. Cushioning is the key here! While some people use a chair cushion or something similar – this is fairly inconvenient because every time you move you need to move the cushion also – the best answer is knee pads!
You don’t have to spend much to get knee pads that have sufficient cushioning – but do check the straps which attach the pad to the leg because if these are flimsy you might end up re-attaching your knee pads frequently.
If your knees hurt during or after gardening these tips could help you keep your garden tidy, vibrant and productive!
If you would like help with your knee pain come and see Sol the Gardening Physio at Rebound Health!