Gardening with arthritis

When it hurts to garden, consider these tools that could make your gardening life easier.

As we grow older, activities like gardening may become more difficult because of arthritis or other movement-limiting problems. Avid gardeners who are experiencing discomfort because of physical problems often don’t want to just give up and move indoors and let the garden go. If you don’t want to pack up the trowel, take a look at some of the new gardening tools that could make your gardening life easier. Always check with your doctor to make sure that your activities are not going to make things worse.

Garden kneeler

For those with bad backs or knees, several gardening companies are selling a bench called a garden kneeler. It has folding legs and when placed one way, it can be a comfortable seat. When flipped over, it can be a soft, padded surface to kneel on. In this position, the legs become side rails that you can grip with your hands to help push yourself up. The kneelers weigh about 8 pounds, but can support up to 250 pounds. Because they fold up, they take little storage room.

Hand tools with cushion grips

Many companies are selling good quality hand tools with padded handles. The rubber-like material makes it more comfortable to use the tools or to use them a little longer. The thickness on the handle makes the tools easier to grip. The padding is durable and can last for years.

Bypass pruning tools

Several companies make hand pruning tools with one fixed handle and one rotating handle that fits in your hand. The rotating portion rolls as the tool is opened and closed. The other handle is fixed for stability. The rolling handle causes reduced pressure on your hand. Since hand pruning tools come in several sizes, it’s wise to try one in your hand and see how comfortable it is to close. If it is uncomfortable when you are just closing it, actual pruning will make it worse.

Utility garden cart with drop sides

These carts are similar to those made with heavy wire mesh bottoms and sides that are found in nurseries for moving purchased stock; they are just smaller. The carts have a padded handle for pulling them around and four pneumatic tires. The sides let down for ease of moving items or plants in and out. With one side down, the cart also makes a comfortable seat for gardening activities that are located close to the ground.

Sources for these products may be local nurseries and garden centers, hardware stores or big box stores. You will also be able to find these products in many gardening supply catalogs and online at their websites.

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