Physio Health Advice > Watch yourself this Spring

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As we leave the cold of Winter behind us and Spring arrives, the Adelaide Hills and Barossa Valley begin to change.  We welcome day light saving which often means more time spent in the garden preparing and planting for the Summer ahead.

A very common injury we see in the clinic in Spring is tennis elbow as a result of pruning and digging.  This presents as an ache in the forearm close to the elbow joint. It can affect the strength of your hand, making it difficult to open jars and lift objects. Primarily this is caused by a strain of the extensor muscle group in your forearm.

Straining these muscles can happen when trying to prune or cut too thicker branches, pruning with blunt secateurs or pruning and digging for extended periods of time.

Strategies to avoid tennis elbow through pruning include:

  • keep secateurs sharp
  • cut anything thicker than your thumb with a hand saw
  • cycle through activities, e.g, prune for 15 minutes and then empty the wheelbarrow.

Should you feel discomfort in the forearm or elbow, ice the area for 10 minutes every 2 hours. If it doesn’t settle in 2 days seek help from your physiotherapist.

Care must be taken to protect our spine. This is best achieved by maintaining good spinal posture and engaging core muscles. One of our physiotherapist will be able to provide information on what good spinal posture entails and how to strengthen your core muscles.

Other hot tips to protect yourself in the garden are

  • take regular breaks to stand and straighten spine.
  • do not continually twist or bend digging and planting.
  • do not attempt to do too much in one day.
  • be aware of snakes as the weather warms up.

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