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Hands

Yard Work and Gardening Shouldn’t Be Painful. Here’s What’s Happening if You’re Doing Them Wrong.

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There are two types of people in this world: those that look forward to spring and summer yard upkeep and those who dread it like the plague. It probably goes without saying why it’s dreaded by some; the activity itself can be draining and sometimes even leave you in pain. Yard work and gardening shouldn’t be painful, though. Aside from investing into helpful tools such as garden kneeling pads and wireless weedwhackers, here are some other ways to avoid pain during yard work and gardening.

 

The gardening and yard work actions that are causing pain.

When you’re working in the yard and garden, the aches and pains are exacerbated by the bending, crouching, grasping, and repetitive one-handed tasks. The problem with these actions is that you begin doing them incorrectly because the incorrect way feels “easier” – at least, it does in the beginning. Some examples of incorrect ways of movement are:

 

  • Exclusively twisting to the left if you’re right-handed (and vice versa)
  • Raking or digging with only the dominant hand
  • The ever-popular action of lifting heavy weight with the back instead of the legs

 

Ways to prevent gardening and yard work pain.

The trick to completing a weekend’s worth of outdoor upkeep and only feeling the satisfying dull ache of a hard day’s work without the pain is to learn the proper way to use your body and to know your limits. Our very own Dr. Avery Arora, a hand surgeon in the Detroit, Michigan area, says, “Your body will feel so much better when you fix the way you’re working. We encourage you to train the mind to do it correctly, and then you’ll find the body will follow suit.”

Yard Work and Gardening Shouldn’t Be Painful. Here’s What’s Happening if You’re Doing Them Wrong.

 

It’s all about examining the cause of the problem and then stopping it. Some tips that may help reduce future pain include:

 

  • Replace crouching and kneeling with the “armchair” position, pictured above.
  • Take breaks regularly. During your break, walk around and stretch your whole body, including your hands.
  • Engage all muscles by rotating arm and leg work. If you favor working one side of your body, slowly try completing the work with the other side. The non-dominant side may work a little slower, but that’s okay.

 

Gardening and yard work is, without a doubt, a workout. If you consider a three-to-four-hour workout pretty extensive, remember to apply that same thought to your outdoor tasks as well. Work your body’s limit just the way you would in a gym, and then start again another day.

 

Here at Arora Hand Surgery, we care about your health. If you feel as if you’ve suffered a hand, wrist, or elbow injury due to gardening or yard work, visit Dr. Avery Arora at one of his southeast Michigan offices located in West Bloomfield, Warren, Macomb Township, or Howell.

 

 

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General Hands

Protecting Your Hands While Gardening: Tips that May Help Keep You Safer

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May is perhaps the most invigorating month of the entire year. With beautiful gardens, the fragrant scent of freshly tilled dirt, greenery bursting into life all around, and Mother’s Day flowers to color the scene, this month makes you want to get outside to be one with nature. Gardening can be a thrilling and fulfilling hobby, one that we hope you continue to enjoy for many years. For some people, gardening may even bring in the salary.

That’s why we want to remind you about all the ways you should protect your hands while gardening. Oversights or missteps can put a damper on that flowery spirit of yours, but we want to make sure you keep that green thumb up.

Common Gardening-Related Hand Injuries

Some of the most common hand and wrist conditions related to gardening include trigger thumb, wrist tendonitis, hand infections, gamekeeper’s thumb, and minor or traumatic injuries.

  • Trigger Thumb: Trigger thumb occurs when the pulley at the base of the finger becomes too thick, making it hard for the tendon to move freely.
  • Tendonitis: There are several types of tendonitis, which is essentially a torn, pulled, or swollen tendon.
  • Infections: Infections related to gardening include rose thorn disease and Legionnaires’ disease. Other gardening-related concerns are poison oak, poison ivy, and irritation from chemicals.
  • Gamekeeper’s Thumb: Gamekeeper’s thumb occurs when the inner ligament at the base of the thumb is injured due to overuse.
  • Gardening Injuries: Common injuries include cuts, scrapes, and lawnmower or gardening tool accidents. Another is body strain, aches, and pains due to improper posture while gardening.

How to Protect Your Hands While Gardening

Skilled gardeners are familiar with methods of protecting the hands while gardening, as well as how to protect their knees and backs. If you are new to the hobby, however, you should keep the following tips in mind as you head out this May.

  • Wear your gardening gloves, and make sure you choose a high-quality brand. The gloves should be thick and have latex or rubber on the palm side to help prevent splinters and also protect you from the chemicals in soil, Legionnaires’ disease, insect bites, and skin irritants like poison ivy or poison oak. You may even come across rodents underground that might want to take a bite at you. The latex or rubber will also provide support as you grip tools or when you need to use those arm and back muscle to really dig in.
  • Apply sunscreen on your hands, face, ears, neck and other areas of exposed skin before you head out. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 protection or higher. You may also wish to wear thin, light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants to prevent sunburn.
  • Take frequent breaks. If you get too tired or too hot, step away from the task at hand. Repetitive motion can lead to issues such as cubital tunnel syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, and back pain.
  • Take all the necessary precautions when using manual hand tools and electric tools. Read the manuals and use the tools according to manufacturers’ directions. Protect your hands, body, and face when using them, and unplug the tools when you are done. Keep your tools clean, sharp, rust-free, and in proper working condition, which will help prevent strain or accidental injury due to malfunction.
  • Whenever possible, rely on your tools, not your fingers. You may be tempted to shovel or pull weeds with your fingers, but buried objects such as tree roots, glass, and metal can cause injury. Overusing your hands could also damage your fingernails, irritate your skin, and strain your back and arms.
  • Watch your posture. In order to ensure a tighter grip, keep your hands and wrists as straight as possible when you use the gardening tools. Without this sturdy grip, you will find yourself overusing your hand, wrist, and arm muscles unnecessarily.
  • In addition to protecting your hands while gardening, it’s important to follow general safety tips.
    • Sip water throughout the day to prevent hydration.
    • Keep children and pets away from dangerous tools.
    • Do not leave dangerous gardening tools in harm’s way.
    • Watch your surroundings before making abrupt movements.
    • Use knee pads if you will be kneeling.

If you do find that you overworked your hands or if you experienced a gardening injury, make an appointment to see our hand specialist in Warren, West Bloomfield, Macomb Township, or Howell. In the event of life-threatening injuries or other emergencies, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

We want you to enjoy your hobby for years to come, so stay safe out there!

Categories
General Hands

Things to Consider When Treating Hand Injuries

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We use our hands for so many things. A lot of the actions that we do with our hands are automatic. We don’t even think about it. We will gesture or grab something before we even realized that we’ve done it. Just about every person on the planet will sustain some type of injury to their hand at some point in their life. As such, they start to consider their treatment options and want to know what to expect when treating hand injuries.

Some of the injuries that we can have in our hands are directly related to the frequency with which we use them or the motions that we perform with our hands. A lot of people have overuse injuries or wear and tear injuries. Most people will hurt their hands or hurt their fingers while they’re playing sports, engaging in recreation, while on the job, while doing repairs at home or if they fall.

When you play contact sports, your hands are usually the first part of your body to suffer an injury. This is because when you fall, you automatically put your hands out trying to protect yourself from the fall. Children hurt themselves either because of not being aware of their surroundings or because they stick their hands in places where they should not.

Since there are so many ways that you can hurt your hand, it is impossible to give an exhaustive list of treatments that are available, as well as what exactly to expect while treating hand injuries. In most cases, a hand or wrist injury is going to be treated by using first aid techniques. This includes using brace, a splint or, in some cases, a cast. Depending on the severity of your hand injury, our doctor may recommend that you visit a physical therapist. The goal of a physical therapist is to help you restore the mobility of your hand, the flexibility of your hand and its strength.

Depending on the location and the severity of the damage, treating hand injuries may include some form of surgery. Since we are prone to hurt our hands on a daily basis, some people ignore hand injuries, putting off going to the doctor for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, the longer you ignore a hand injury, the more severe the treatment needs to be. This underscores the importance of an individual visiting our office immediately after sustaining a serious hand injury.

During a consultation with Dr. Arora at Arora Hand Surgery, you can learn more information regarding what to expect when treating hand injuries. We have locations in West Bloomfield, Howell, Warren, and Macomb. Contact us today to book an appointment to learn about your treatment options!

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Dr. Aroras office from my first call to schedule my appointment was friendly. Walking in the first day, I felt like I was in a nice atmosphere. Dr. Arora was EXCELLENT in taking great care of my hand injury. He was gentle and very understanding to the concerns I had about my hand. His expertise was admirable and I would recommend anyone with an injury to their hand to his office to be under his care. Because of him, I have healed faster than expected and will make an 100% recovery! Thank you Dr.

Jackie S.

I first thought I was going to have to have painful injections or surgery, but Dr. Arora suggested physical therapy may do the trick. I was doubtful, but I agreed to do it. Now, my pain is gone, and with the help of an ergonomic keyboard at work to keep my hands in the correct position, I am virtually pain free. The therapy strengthened my wrists and shoulders, and built more flexibility into my wrists.

Jerry T.

My experience with this doctor was positive from the outset. Dr. Arora was kind and spent a great deal of time with me. Staff was friendly. The office was nice and bright.

Ariel G.

Very friendly and helpful Great staff!!! Doctor Arora was very professional and did great work. I was very happy with everything!

L B.