Presentation on theme: "Purdue University is an Equal Opportunity/Equal Access institution. Amber D. Wolfe, BS- AgrAbility Project Coordinator Arthritis Foundation, Heartland."— Presentation transcript:
Purdue University is an Equal Opportunity/Equal Access institution. Amber D. Wolfe, BS- AgrAbility Project Coordinator Arthritis Foundation, Heartland Region Stephen J. Swain, ATP- Assistive Technology Specialist National AgrAbility Project- Breaking New Ground Resource Center, Purdue University Gardening with Effective Arthritis Management An overview of the tasks related to gardening and the relationship between arthritis pain management and maintaining a productive garden.
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AgrAbility: USDA-sponsored program that assists farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural workers with disabilities. – Partners land grant universities with disability services organizations – Currently 23 projects covering 25 states – National AgrAbility Project: Led by Purdues Breaking New Ground Resource Center – Arthritis Foundation, Heartland Region = funded partner – More information available at
Gardening with Effective Arthritis Management Gardening is one of Americas most popular hobbies. According to a recent Greenhouse Management Online study, nearly 164 million homeowners in the US (49%) gardened in the past 12 months. In addition to the enjoyment it brings, gardening is also a great activity for maintaining range of motion, bone density and strength, joint flexibility, and overall quality of life. However, many people feel they have to give up this popular pastime because of arthritis pain. Arthritis is the number one disability-causing disease in America, with nearly 50 million Americans having a diagnosis of at least one form of arthritis.
Arthritis Defined… The term arthritis refers to an inflammation of a joint and refers to over 100 rheumatic/autoimmune diseases that are characterized by problems in and around joints. -Inflammation, pain and degeneration of the connective tissue occurs. -Most forms are chronic and have no cure. -Arthritis can be effective treated with self-management, education, and medical support.
50 Million people in the US have doctor diagnosed Arthritis. By the year 2030, an estimated 67 million or 25% of the projected total adult population will have arthritis. Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the US workplace, limiting nearly 21 million Americans at their job. More than half of the individuals who have arthritis are younger than 65 years old. A Nation In Pain
Gardening with Arthritis Joint flexibility & range of motion increases, and lessened stress levels are all beneficial side-effects of gardening. --But it can also HURT! Gardening can be an excellent treatment for arthritis.
Is your garden your hobby, or is it a form of income? Does your gardening require more hours than you can easily give? Does your hobby garden ever become a chore? Has arthritis pain ever taken away the joy of hobby gardening, or the productivity of your operation? Define Your Role
Arthritis pain can take away the joy of gardening. – Back/hip/knee pain, hand/wrist/shoulder/elbow pain – Bending, kneeling, pruning, weeding, carrying, watering, harvesting, raking, digging, etc. Arthritis is just as much mental as it is physical. Arthritis pain can make gardening seem like a tough task that needs completed. Rushing yourself can irritate arthritic joints. Understanding Limits
Benefits of Gardening Gardening can be a stress-relieving exercise. Gardening can also be good physical exercise. Movement is Medicine! The most important gardening tool is the body! With proper body mechanics, well-designed gardening tools, and frequent rest breaks, anyone can remain a healthy gardener despite arthritis pain.
Gardening Tips and Tricks Pace Work Warm Up Joints Use Proper Tools Wear Gloves Change Positions Frequently Use a Stool or Knee Pad Use Largest Joint Modify Gardening Style Keep Tools NearWork at Best Times
Take time to do simple stretches before, during, and after your gardening work. Listen to your body. – If you start to feel pain, stop the current work, move on to another type of activity with a different part of the body. – Or stop completely to allow your body to rest. Embrace the use of ergonomic, enabling, or adapted tools to make the gardening work easier on the body. Prepare Your Body
Poor posture can lead to pain, fatigue, and strains – some garden carts actually perpetuate worse posture – the upper back has limited movement, the lower back needs to be able to flex forward and backward, it should NOT twist Additional stress on the back, hips, and legs, in addition to the vibration on the shoulders, elbows and wrists, from riding mowers, weed-eaters, and rototillers, can have an affect on comfort and posture as well. Perfecting Your Posture
Avoid staying in one position too long, and avoid repetitive tasks for long periods of time. Use the strongest and largest joints and muscles for the job. When weeding, use a kneeling pad or bench to avoid excess pressure on the knees and hips. – Avoid twisting at odd angles to protect the hip joints. Perfecting Your Posture
With physician approval, wear wrist and back splints whenever possible. Try to keep excessive twisting and reaching to a minimum. Use a cart or long-handled tools. Proper footwear is crucial to supporting the ankles and knees. Support Your Joints
Be aware of carrying heavy loads using your wrist as the main joint. Wear braces to support repetitive and stressful movements, such as hand pruning, weeding, and dropping seeds. Wear gloves to support the wrists and finger joints. Support Your Joints
Be Aware of the Weather Protection from the sun. Weather exposure can both help and hurt a person with arthritis. Some enjoy the warmth of the soil and the sun while working, but overexposure can be detrimental. Wear appropriate clothing and shoes. Avoid working during the peak heat and sunlight hours. Drink plenty of water to help lubricate joints.
Low Maintenance Reminders Consider all options for the garden/container location – Near a water source, near tool storage – Access from all sides Consider all options for weed control – Mulch or black plastic – Chemical use Consider all options for plant choices – Maintenance, water needs, space and growing medium – Young plants vs. seeds Consider all watering options – Hand watering, soaker hoses or sprinkler systems – Rain water collection
Decorative pots- be creative!! Window boxes Container Gardening
Terrariums- Great for herbs!
Container Gardening Trellises- Uses for vegetables as well as flowers!
Pathways can prevent excessive walking and movement around the perimeter of a garden. It is also helpful to have clear entrances to the gardening area. How wide do you need it? Wide enough for passage- garden carts, utility vehicles, walking, mobility vehicles Well drained, and slightly sloped- not too much of a grade that it is difficult to make your way back up, but enough for water run-off to prevent loss of traction, deep mud, etc. Garden Mobility
Raised ground beds Deep raised beds, Straw beds Raising Up Your Garden
Elevated off the ground Well-aerated, disease-free growing medium, cost efficient Perfect for growing vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers and melons) Older bales that have started to rot work best, grass mix Use a fertilizer mix to form a bed on the top of the bale before planting Easy Straw Beds
Elevated beds Terracing and retaining walls Raising Up Your Garden
Ergonomic Tools & Assistive Devices Longer Tool Handles Cushioned Handles Reaching Devices Rolling Carts Braces/Pads Ergonomic= The Best Fit
Buzz Word: Ergonomics! Careful tool selection can make gardening easier, while protecting you from unnecessary and unwanted stress, strain, and injury. Some tools are made specifically for women, with lighter materials and smaller grips. Benefits: Neutral join positions Minimize stress, maximize power Appropriately sized, soft padded handles Reduction of vibration and slipping Thumb rests and proper diameter grips Spring-loaded or power-assist tools that increase leverage
Tools should have handles that fit the persons hand – Rule of Thumb – Pistol Grip vs. Straight Handle Ergonomic Hand Tools
Long Handle Tools Two handed grip is better Light weight Enlarged, foam, soft handle Reduce resistance with smaller surface Shorter length to reduce stretching and twisting
Modified Tools Telescoping Tools Stabilized Wrist Support
Modified Tools Powered Hand Tools (Bulb Planters) Bag Carrying Handles
Other Assistive Tools Wheeled Carts Shovel Step Auto-Locking/Lever-Action Nozzles
Other Assistive Tools Handled Weed Carriers Gardening Aprons Pot Lifters
Still Asking What if? What if these modifications arent an option? – Price, location, materials, time? What if other tasks are difficult, but not enough to change the entire gardening style? Edging, weed-eating, spreading mulch, and dividing perennials, etc. Do chemicals have an effect on arthritis? – Pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, fertilizers What about the products of the garden? – Do some foods have a positive or negative effect on arthritis pain? Nightshade vegetables? Primary Care Provider/Physician – Seek help regarding allergies, diet, exercise, etc., as these may be different for each person.
Additional Resources National Arthritis Foundation- National AgrAbility Project- – The Toolbox Assistive Technology Database Arthritis and Agriculture Webpage- – Order the Arthritis Foundations Gardening and Arthritis brochure! – Download the Therapeutic Gardening Article – Print the Dont Let The Dirt Hurt Stretching/Exercise Sheet
Additional Project Resources Arthritis Today Magazine- – Tips for Reducing Pain While Gardening- do/everyday-solutions/do-it-easier/yard-and- garden/gardening-arthritis.php do/everyday-solutions/do-it-easier/yard-and- garden/gardening-arthritis.php Gardens for Every Body- Missouri AgrAbility Project – Endless Gardening- Arkansas AgrAbility Project – ndless_gardening/2012/volume1.pdf ndless_gardening/2012/volume1.pdf
Purdue University is an Equal Opportunity/Equal Access institution. Amber WolfeSteve Swain Arthritis FoundationNational AgrAbility Project 615 N. Alabama StreetPurdue University- ABE Bldg. Suite S University Street Indianapolis, IN 46204West Lafayette, IN Find us on Facebook and Twitter!! Presenter Contact Information
Resources National Arthritis Foundation- National AgrAbility Project- Arthritis and Agriculture Webpage- Arthritis Today Magazine- – Tips for Reducing Pain While Gardening- solutions/do-it-easier/yard-and-garden/gardening-arthritis.php solutions/do-it-easier/yard-and-garden/gardening-arthritis.php Gardens for Every Body- Missouri AgrAbility Project – Endless Gardening- Arkansas AgrAbility Project – gardening/2012/volume1.pdf gardening/2012/volume1.pdf