Gardening tips for healthy hands

by Louise McQuaid
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9
August
Avoid gardening injuries and prevent becoming a statistic
Plain facts
Plain facts
According to NHS A&E statistics, they treat more than 300,000 outdoor garden accidents each year and almost 100,000 of those happen while using gardening tools.

Gardening is a great way to get physically active and meet your neighbours. As we approach the end of summer, our beds need a tidy up in preparation for winter and this usually involves gripping, pulling and pinching actions of the hand.

You should protect yourself and take proper precautions when you are outside with sharp tools, chemicals, electric tools and insects.

Operating machinery such as mowers, strimmers, chainsaws and hedge-trimmers cause the most serious injuries but the common garden shear tops the list for causing hand injuries to yourself.
Injuries such as snipping off the top of your finger or cutting through finger tendons, and infected cuts are some of the injuries that can occur as a result of rushing, poor equipment, disregard for safety and forgetting common sense.

With proper safety techniques, you can stay away from the hospital and avoid becoming a statistic.
Follow these precautions
Follow these precautions
You should follow these precautions to avoid injuries, pain and discomfort to your hands:

WEAR GLOVES WHEN WORKING OUTSIDE

Wear bright gloves so you can see where your hands are before you snip. You would be surprised how many people mistake their own fingers for a green stem if wearing the wrong colour gloves.
Wearing the proper gloves will not only reduce blistering but will also protect your skin from fertilisers, pesticides, bacteria and fungus that live in the soil. When exposed to soil, even the smallest cut runs the risk of developing into a major hand infection.
Leather gloves offer protection from thorny objects, rodent and insect bites, and other skin irritants in the garden. Gloves also prevent sun damage and fingernail damage.
Wearing a glove liner can help to keep your hands extra warm, particularly if you have arthritis or suffer from cold hands.

AVOID PROLONGED REPETITIVE MOTIONS

Unless you are used to to the activity, repetitive motions such as digging, raking, trimming hedges, pruning bushes or planting bulbs may cause skin, tendon or nerve irritation. Make sure your gardening activities are varied and tasks are rotated every 30 minutes with a brief rest in-between so that the same muscles are not used over and over again.
USE TOOLS, NOT YOUR HANDS

Use a hand shovel or rake rather than your hands for weeding straight out of the ground. Loosen the soil first to make it easier to pull up weeds.  

USE THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE RIGHT JOB

Avoid accidents by using tools for their intended purposes. Other important tool tips:

  1. When purchasing pruners, loppers or shears, look for brands featuring a safety lock.
  2. Avoid products with form-fitting handles. These tools only fit one size of hand perfectly. If your hand is too large or too small, it will put more stress on your hand.
  3. Always follow the manufacturers’ instructions for the tool.
  4. Keep sharp tools away from children at all times.
  5. Always unplug electrical tools and disconnect spark plug wires on petrol powered tools when not in use. 


CHECK YOUR POSTURE

"Posture" refers not only to your whole body position but also to the angle of your wrist while using hand tools. Grip strength is at its maximum when the wrist is in a relaxed or neutral position. Studies have shown that people lose up to 25% of their grip strength when their wrist is bent.
WHAT TO DO IN CASE OF INJURY
WHAT TO DO IN CASE OF INJURY
If you cut your finger or hand, bleeding from minor cuts will often stop by applying direct pressure to the cut with a clean cloth. Visit A&E if:

  1. Continuous pressure does not stop the bleeding after 15 minutes.
  2. You notice persistent numbness or tingling in the fingertip or have trouble moving the finger.
  3. You are unsure of you have had a tetanus injection
  4. You are unable to thoroughly clean the wound by rinsing with a mild soap and plenty of clean water
  5. If you have a chemical burn


Remember to safely enjoy the health benefits of gardening by using your hands and tools wisely.

Hand Kinetics Telephone: 0044 28 417 72301
www.handkinetics.com
contactus@handkinetics.com
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