How To Protect Your Knees While Gardening
Gardening is an interesting practice of growing and cultivating plants to tend a garden as part of horticulture. Gardening can be considered an art and can also provide health benefit for you to reduce the risk of getting diseases such as stoke. Gardening is particularly beneficial for elder people as it increases physical activity levels to improve mobility and flexibility and improve their immune system.
However, the intensity and repetitive motions involved in gardening can also lead to various knee problems such as gardener’s knee. Doctors have claimed that gardening can turn into a dangerous sport, many gardeners overdo it in a way that ends up becomes a host of gardener’s knee. Please bear in mind that gardening is like other sports, you should always do a warm-up before gardening as well as wearing protections for your knees to avoid potential injuries. As gardening involves repetitive kneeling tasks, hence wearing gardening knee pads are especially helpful for preventing knee injuries. Let’s dive into the details of how to protect your knees while gardening.
What is gardener’s knee?
According to our sports medicine specialist, gardener’s knee is causing by repetitive stress that leads to a knee injury while gardening. Gardener’s knee is a common type of knee bursitis that can cause swelling and inflammation of the prepatellar bursa. It’s a structural, mechanical ailment brought on by repetitive motions while gardening. You might feel the warmth around your knee or you will have a tender and swollen feeling from the affected portion. You might also experience knee pain when you are moving or resting.
The main cause for gardener’s knee is the prolonged or repetitive exposures of friction and pressure around your knees especially on your bursa and kneecap. The knee pain is caused by the inflammation and swelling from the bursa, it becomes painful when the pressure is on your knees.
Risk of repetitive strain injury while gardening
Similar to other overuse knee injuries or knee ‘wear and tear’, the repetitive motions like kneeling to stand-up present high risk for gardeners. These overuse knee injuries typically have no signs to suffer from the beginning, but the symptoms tend to present over time. Many gardeners have left those early symptoms untreated until these minor issues have developed into knee problems such as gardener’s knee.
Movement analysis of everyday gardening tasks
There are five common events that involved in gardening tasks which are:
During digging event, when gardeners put the foot on the shovel, it adds a lot of pressure on their knees. During weeding and hoeing events, it involves repetitive squatting and kneeling. Some gardeners have experienced stiff and sore knees since they are weeding a lot. Some early symptoms of gardener’s knee can include irritated knee joint when they are kneeling or bending in the garden. In worst case scenario, they might have torn meniscus or other severer knee injuries.
Surprisingly, many doctors believe that knee injuries are normally caused by high impact sports like basketball and football. The overuse knee injuries from gardening are usually being ignored because not many people believe that doing gardening can scarify their bodies sometimes. People often do not associate gardening with danger, which can present a high risk for injuries. Hence, gardeners should not neglect the intensity from gardening and they should wear gardening knee pads or knee support to reduce the stress on their knees and avoid potential knee injuries.
Sharp pain in the knee when kneeling while gardening
Factors that contribute to sharp knee pain
Gardeners might experience a sharp pain in the knee when squatting, kneeling or bending during various gardener’s tasks. Knee pain is generally related to overuse injuries and knee wear and tear. Patellofemoral pain syndrome and chondromalacia patella are some of the most common conditions that can cause sharp pain in knee when gardeners are squatting, kneeling or bending especially during gardening tasks such as weeding and hoeing.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome is caused by repetitive motions that’s often put stress on the knees such as squatting and kneeling during gardening tasks. Overuse injuries are the main contributor to gardeners who have experienced patellofemoral pain syndrome due to the intensity of the gardening tasks. A sudden physical motion in gardening activity can trigger sharp pain in the knee when gardeners who have the conditions discussed above.
Chondromalacia patellae, also known as “runner's knee which is presented in some cases of patellofemoral pain. It is the articular cartilage on the underside of the kneecap which will not directly lead to the knee pain but it can cause inflammation of the synovium to lead sharp knee pain in the underlying bone.
Other factors such as knee bursitis can also cause sharp pain to follow by a sudden physical motion while gardening. Knee bursitis commonly occurs around the kneecap below the joint to cause knee pain, inflammation, and limiting your range of motions.
The early symptoms of patellofemoral pain syndrome can include a dull, aching pain in the front of the knee and you may experience a similar type of pain during squatting and kneeling during gardening more often than before. You can also explore a linear relationship between the level of gardening activities and the intensity of the knee pain. After prolonged sitting, you might even hear crackling or popping sounds from your knees more often.
Doctors will often ask about the severity and nature of the pain to understand if it’s dull or sharp and discuss what gardening activities might worsen the pain during the diagnosis.
For knee bursitis, you might encounter feelings of tender, swollen around the affected area around your knee joint. It can be triggered by a sudden physical motion to the knee which can cause sharp knee pain from friction and irritation of the bursa. Knee bursitis commonly occurs for gardening activities that involved a lot of kneeling and squatting. You should contact your doctor immediately if you are experiencing a fever on top of pain and swelling in your knees.
Sometimes patellofemoral pain syndrome is usually fully relieved and be able to prevent it from an early stage. Our health advisor highly suggests you to wear gardening knee pads during gardening task as it can help to prevent potential knee injuries, especially when your kneecap is touching the ground and some gardening knee pads can also provide sufficient support to prevent wear and tear to avoid the occurrence of some early symptoms of patellofemoral pain syndrome. Gardening knee pads are particularly helpful in reducing the risk of knee injuries by using padding to cushion and protect your vulnerable knees.
How do gardening knee pads can help you to prevent knee injuries?
Gardening knee pads are specifically designed to protect your knees by using comfortable cushion or padding and avoid potential knee pain during gardening tasks. They can also provide sufficient knee support when you go from a kneeling position to a standing position to relieve the stress on your knees by reducing the impact of repetitive stress on knees. If you are spending hours working in your garden, gardening knee pads will help you to kneel or squat in comfort to reduce the pressure, stiffness and aching on your knees.
What are the best knee pads for gardening?
The best knee pads for gardening should have the following 3 main features to facilitate your gardening tasks and protect your knees from harmful movements and make it easier than ever for repetitive motions like kneeling or squatting.
- Comfortable foam padding - the padding should be lightweight but thick and strong enough to protect your knees from injuries while kneeling on a hard surface. Ideally, the gardening knee pads padding should be made by soft EVA foam that can offer comfort and sufficient support when you kneeling or squatting.
- Made by premium flexible neoprene - other parts of gardening knee pads should be made by flexible and comfortable material like premium neoprene to ensure your knees can maintain a flexible range of motions when kneeling, squatting or walking around. The flexibility from premium neoprene material avoided making a simple gardening task a burden for the elderly.
- No-slip and adjustable straps - the straps should provide gardeners an easily adjustable comfortable fit to make sure it’s neither not too tight to constrain the blood flow nor too loose to fail to stay in place on your legs. The non-slip material should be able to keep gardening knee pads from falling or sliding during gardening tasks.
PowerRebound™ Gardening knee pads are specifically made for protecting your knees during gardening tasks along with 3 main essential features discussed above.
5 helpful tips to avoid knee injuries while gardening
To help you protect your knees without giving up gardening or compromising the amount of time you can spend on gardening. We have summarized and gathered 5 essential tips that you should know in order to keep you on track for gardening.
- Change your positions frequently - while you were kneeling during most of the time to do gardening tasks, change position frequently can help to improve blood circulation and relieve stress on your knees. Changing from one knee to the other can help to relieve the stress regularly and gives each knee a break.
Using gardening knee pads, gardening benches or garden kneeler - as we mentioned above, choosing knee pads that are suitable for gardening and wearing gardening knee pads are vital to protect your knees during gardening tasks. You might also want to try gardening benches which can reduce the number of times that you need to stand up and sit down thus it helps to relieve the repetitive stress on your knees.
Garden kneeler also provides an innovative way to make gardening more comfortable and safer for your knees. Many garden kneelers are collapsible and can be flipped and used as a seat or provide dependable support when you are trying to get up from a kneeling position. Garden kneeler will also make gardening a lot easier for weeding or plating because you can use the handles on the kneeler to push yourself up without stressing your knees.
- Apply cold therapy to your knees after gardening - some doctors have recommended applying cold packs to your knees for around 20 mins after intensive gardening activities to help reduce knee pain. Please do not apply ice directly on skin, you can use ice compression wrap and follow the instruction to do the cold therapy to your knees after gardening
- Warm-up before gardening - doing warm-up exercises before gardening is a crucial step to prevent injuries. It’s recommended to do some stretching exercises before gardening by focusing on wrist stretches and holding the stretches for about 10-20 seconds. Then you should focus on the legs and knees by doing mini squats by bending knees and hips to a mini squat position. Mini squats will ensure that your leg muscles are well supplied with oxygen and sufficient blood flow to avoid potential injuries.
- Bending from the hips - you’re going to do a lot of bending when you’re gardening so you should make sure you do it in the right way to bend from the hips rather than from your waist. You should focus on the hips and squat back then bend from hips while keeping your back straight and ready to lift. You should also try to brace your abdominal muscles then tightening them up as you about to lift.
Gardening is a great activity to help you maintain an active lifestyle and create an art in your garden which you can enjoy anytime while you are at home. However, protecting your knee during the garden is also particularly important to keep you on track to enjoy gardening in a longer run.
Gardening knee pads can effectively protect your knees and reduce the likelihood of having knee pain from gardening tasks. Please also remember to take regular breaks to stretch your legs and rest your knees while gardening. Gardening is a great exercise that is particularly beneficial for your soul and health as well as improving wellbeing as a result of social interaction but it’s necessary to pay sufficient attention to wear suitable knee protections so you can enjoy yourself in the garden while maintaining healthy knees.