love gardening, but when I was diagnosed with arthritis a few years ago, it became much more difficult to continue my hobby. My joints ached after spending any time outside, and I could barely hold a shovel without my hands getting sore and stiff. As I learned more about what types of gardens are best for people with arthritis and how to minimize the pain of working in them, though, I realized that I could still enjoy my hobby while also keeping my pain levels manageable. Here are some tips—and helpful garden tools—that will help you do the same.

Dealing with the pain of arthritis doesn't mean you can't enjoy working in your garden, too.

Gardening can be a great way to get outside, exercise, and enjoy the fresh air. Whether you're planting bulbs or digging up weeds, gardening is an excellent way to get some much-needed vitamin D that will help your body fight off osteoarthritis caused by lack of sunlight. You can also meet new people in your community who share similar interests!

And if all else fails? Gardening is one of those activities where it's okay to take frequent breaks from work. Just go inside for five minutes and then head back out there again (maybe after a cup of tea).

Baby your hands.

  • Take frequent breaks. If you spend a lot of time in the garden, ease up on yourself and take frequent breaks to give your hands a rest.
  • Use a brace or splint. You can buy these at any pharmacy or medical supply store and they're easy to put on and take off. They'll help keep your joints stable while you work in the garden, which will make it easier for you to continue gardening well into old age when arthritis might be an issue for you!
  • Wear gloves or use ergonomically designed tools like cultivators (which are basically mini-tractors) that have cushioned grips so that using them doesn't hurt as much as using other kinds of cultivators would do! Some people even wear rubber gloves when working in the garden just because it makes gardening feel more comfortable than without being protected by something like this - but don't forget about washing those hands before eating any food later on down there either :)

Work in short bursts.

  • Work in short bursts. It’s important to take breaks after every 10 minutes of work, and not just because of the aches and pains that come from gardening. Working in small areas at a time will help you focus on what you are doing and make it easier to lift tools without straining your back or shoulders.
  • Stretch throughout the day. Stretching can be done anywhere, anytime—even while working! Try using plants as props for stretching out your muscles as needed. For example, bend over with one hand on a tall plant while reaching towards something lower with the other hand (or vice versa). You could also use plants as leverage points when doing sit-ups or push-ups against the soil surface.
  • Walk around often during tasks such as trimming hedges or weeding beds; this will get blood flowing through all parts of your body while giving joints some relief from repetitive movements like kneeling or squatting down repeatedly

Take a day off if you need to.

Take a day off if you need to.

If you have arthritis, it's important to listen to your body and take breaks when needed. Your joints will thank you for it later! If gardening is painful or tiresome, don't push yourself too hard; remember that the point of gardening is enjoyment and relaxation, not pain or exhaustion. It's okay to pace yourself throughout the day with tasks such as watering plants in different areas of your garden at different times rather than doing everything at once. It may also be helpful to seek out tools that are better suited for people with arthritis (like ergonomic handle grips) so they won't cause more strain on your hands while working outside in your yard or garden.

Buy or make a raised garden bed.

If you have arthritis, the best way to start gardening is by making sure your garden bed is lower to the ground. Raised beds are easier to work in because they're more level and allow you to sit when planting or weeding. They also make it easy for someone else (like a friend or family member) who doesn't have arthritis to help out with some of the work.

If you already have an existing garden bed that's on cement, try moving it under a deck where there will be more space between your knees and the ground. Or, build an elevated garden bed using blocks or cinderblocks surrounded by metal landscaping edging that won't dig into your skin when kneeling down next to them.

Use the right tools for the job.

The right tool for the job:

  • Use a lightweight, ergonomic shovel that is easy to hold and use. It should have a handle that you can grip easily with your hands in any position—for example, if you have arthritis in your hands, choose one with a larger handle or one that allows you to hold it at different angles.
  • Choose gardening tools that reduce stress on your joints by reducing the effort needed to use them. For instance, choose long-handled pruners over shorter ones so there’s less bending over required when trimming plants and bushes. Or get another person to do some of the heavy lifting for you!

Prune wisely.

Prune your garden wisely, using loppers or pruners. These tools are great for cutting branches and twigs. Remember, though:

  • Don't over extend your arms when using these tools
  • Don't over reach by bending far forward or backward to reach branches
  • Take frequent breaks and rest from gardening activities that cause discomfort


Arthritis is an unfortunate fact of life for many people. It doesn’t have to mean giving up on gardening, though. By following the tips laid out in this article, you can continue to enjoy working in your garden without aggravating your arthritis or causing yourself even more pain. The key is to make sure that you are using the right tools for the job and taking care not to overwork yourself. Of course, if you’re feeling any symptoms of arthritis or other conditions associated with aging hands, consult a doctor before starting any new activity like gardening.



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