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Tips for Gardening with Arthritis
Advice from an Expert Physical Therapist

Gardens bring a lot of joy and life into our homes and hearts. The pain and limitations of arthritis may prevent us from enjoying gardening or the fruits of gardening. Below are a few tips to help you participate in gardening this season.

General tips:

  • Break the project into steps
  • Don't do it all at once
  • Take frequent breaks
  • Don't stay in one position too long
  • Use larger muscle groups when possible and respect pain.

Consider asking a neighbor to turn your soil…then planting will cause less stress to your joints. If you do work the soil yourself be sure to use your larger muscle groups, use tools that allow you to do the task standing, and work a small section at a time.

Use hand tools that have large handles to take the stress off your finer joints. Use a rag to build up handles if they are small.

Consider planting in pots and containers. You can work at table height and eliminate a lot of stress to the hips and knees. Get a neighbor or family member to help get you set up.

Use a cart with wheels or wagon to carry tools, plants etc.

Many of us want a lot of flowers early in the season and we plant them closer than recommended. If you spread them out in the ground you will have less work - fewer holes to make, fewer plants to plant and it will cost you less. The beauty will come and you will have more time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Woman working in garden

If you have questions about treatment options for arthritis, please email Deb Singer, MS, PT, ATC, Vice President at

Fast Facts About Arthritis

  • In 2006, 46 million Americans were diagnosed with arthritis or chronic joint symptoms (nearly 1 in 5 adults).
  • Arthritis is the nation's leading cause of disability among Americans over age 15.
  • Arthritis limits everyday activities such as walking, dressing and bathing for more than 7 million Americans.
  • Affects people in all age groups including nearly 300,000 children.
  • Baby boomers are now at prime risk. More than half those affected are under age 65.
  • Half of those with arthritis don't think anything can be done to help them.

Information provided by the Arthritis Foundation

To learn more about NovaCare Rehabilitation, with 24 NE Ohio outpatient clinics,please visit us online at

Or call 216-292-6363 ext. 236

NovaCare - the home of health information for seniors and boomers age 50 and over

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