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Gardening after joint replacement: How to protect your joint health

Gardening after joint replacement: How to protect your joint health

One of the many benefits of joint replacement is that you can enjoy your favorite activities again, including springtime gardening. With less joint pain and more movement, you may be ready to get back to digging, weeding, trimming, planting, and more.

If you are still in your initial recovery period, it’s vital that you follow your doctor’s orders about activity and exercise. But after you’ve been cleared by your surgeon, you can often start getting back to what you love and still protect your joints. Follow these tips to enjoy gardening while keeping your new joint healthy.

Talk to your doctor

You may be ready to start basic gardening tasks around three to six months after your surgery. However, recovery is different for everyone. If you’re unsure about a gardening activity, speak with your doctor first.

Take it slow

Gardening requires a lot of physical work — bending, squatting, shoveling, and lifting. Like any physical activity after joint replacement, ease back into gardening activities slowly. Start with a small project, not redoing your entire landscape. You’ll want to work up to longer periods of time in your garden or yard.

Get the right equipment

While it’s generally safe to kneel after a knee replacement, some people find it uncomfortable. You may invest in a knee mat or knee pads to help. Also, after both knee and hip replacement, consider a gardening stool or tools with longer handles that help reduce the amount of bending and kneeling needed. For heavier loads, use a wheelbarrow or wagon to avoid putting too much pressure on your joints.

Keep up with stretches and exercises

You most likely learned exercises before and after surgery to help you build and regain strength. Continue with strengthening and stretching to maintain flexibility, improve joint stability, and reduce the risk of injury when doing activities like gardening.

Pay attention to body mechanics

Body mechanics is a term that refers to the way you move when you do an activity. Think about how you sit, kneel, lift, shovel, or squat and if that might put a strain on your new joint. Often, your physical therapist is a good resource to show you how to move while gardening, such as when you bend over or get up and down from the ground.

Know your limitations

Most people can do gardening activities after joint replacement just fine. But it’s still important to listen to your body. If you notice joint discomfort or pain during or after gardening, stop and let your joints rest. And as always, report any severe pain or warning signs to your doctor.

Overall, gardening is usually a safe activity once you’ve recovered from joint replacement surgery. With a few preventive steps, most can enjoy the many physical and mental health benefits of this favorite springtime hobby — while also protecting their new joints.

Orthopedic Services near McKinney, Allen and Richardson

Whether you are looking to prevent and injury or want to treat a current one, Total Orthopedics Sports and Spine is here to help you. Make an appointment, or contact us today at 972-727-9995!