Preventing Hand Injuries When Gardening [Video]
Ask the Expert: Hand Video Series
About the video: How can I keep my hands safe and prevent injury when gardening?
Gardening can be a rewarding endeavor, but it certainly can take its toll on your hands. Listen to Summit Orthopedics’ experts share some tips to prevent injury to your hands when out in the garden. Featuring hand surgeons, Edward Su, M.D. and Paul Donahue, M.D.
Meet the Expert: Edward Su, M.D.
Dr. Su’s approach: “Driving, cooking, bathing, using tools, computers, and playing sports. We interact with the world largely through our hands, and I appreciate the importance of staying active and pain free.”
Dr. Su’s background: After completing his undergraduate studies at Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts, Dr. Su moved to New York, New York, where he earned his Medical Degree at the New York School of Medicine, and later completed his Orthopedic Surgery residency at the Hospital for Joint Diseases. He also completed fellowship training for Hand and Upper Extremities at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida.
Meet Dr. Donahue
Dr. Donahue’s approach: “It’s important to keep moving as much as your body will allow comfortably on a daily basis, be it walking, jogging, biking, swimming, or skiing, to maintain your weight and health.”
Dr. Donahue’s education: Dr. Donahue completed his undergraduate degree at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN. After he obtained his medical degree from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN, he completed his residency at Marshall University School of Medicine in Huntington, West Virginia. He later trained in the Hand Surgery fellowship program at the University of Louisville Hospitals in Louisville, KY
Helpful articles on hand & wrist care
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- Watch the Video—Hand Arthritis: When to Seek Help
Additional resources for you
Visit our Hand & Wrist Care section where you’ll find more articles on hand health, information about common hand conditions and treatments, our hand & wrist video library, and more.
Edward Su, M.D.: A lot of my patients love to garden when the weather turns nice out, and a lot of times they’re concerned about getting out and all of a sudden being much more active than they were previously, and they’re concerned about injuring themselves. It’s very important for patients to remember not to overdo it when they go out gardening for the first time. In Minnesota, there’s a very long winter, so patients are very eager to get out when the weather turns nice, and they oftentimes undertake large tasks they’re itching to do because they haven’t been able to do it for a long time. But it’s very important not to bite off more than you can chew and to do manageable tasks. Another thing that patients can do to protect their hands is to wear a good pair of gloves, because oftentimes, working with plants and in the dirt, they can get nicks and scrapes, which oftentimes will lead to nothing, but sometimes they can become infected, and that can very easily ruin a nice gardening project.
Paul Donahue, M.D.: I see many patients that are gardening quite a bit and develop hand pain. Probably the best thing to do is try to limit your activity. Not garden for hours at a time by taking frequent rests. I like to use ibuprofen or Motrin before gardening or heavy garden work or heavy work activities. It’s more effective if it’s taken before that activity. If you get a lot of swelling and pain after working, especially at night, icing after you work is helpful.
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