Physiotherapy and Gardening Advice

By Adelaide Women's Physio | October 4, 2018

Spring is a special season for all gardeners.  Weeds are tugged at and cleared, soil is dug and nurtured, seedlings and seeds are planted.  It is so easy for many gardeners to take on too much, resulting in musculoskeletal strains and sprains.

Sustaining an injury whilst gardening occurs easily. Physiotherapy is often needed to ease muscle or joint pain in various areas of the gardener’s body (low back, knee, shoulder, wrist, elbow, neck).



  • If you have a pre-existing physical problem take extra care. Be mindful of what you are wanting to do in the garden and prepare your body for this with stretches. Pace your activities over time. Always include a rest period between activities to recover
  • Do not take on too much. Respect your body by not lifting or carting huge loads that are outside your physical strength zone
  • Select appropriate gardening tasks for the required job. Go for comfort versus strain when clipping, digging, sawing and shovelling. Use tools with ergonomic handles and handle lengths that suit your height
  • Avoid repetition strain of muscles and joints by mixing up activities during the gardening period
  • Use a kneeling pad with handle to protect your knees when weeding, trowelling and mulching. The handle is useful in assisting you to get to a standing position safely
  • Avoid bending from your waist, sustained forward lean and activities that place strain on the spine, when raking, leaf blowing and sweeping
  • When potting, work at a comfortable bench height
  • Keep any load close to you when lifting from your knees, being aware of engaging pelvic floor and deep abdominal muscles before lifting
  • If pruning, be careful with arm reaching activities. Ensure you always have a stable footing. Do not over reach and strain neck and shoulder areas with loaded pruning action. Sharp pruning tools are important
  • Use your foot to push a spade into the soil when you are digging. Avoid shoving the spade into the soil when you are digging and shoving the spade into the soil with a momentous arm action and back bend
  • When lawn mowing walk tall with the mower to minimise forward trunk lean


If you feel tired or there is pain it is time to stop the gardening activity. Seek physiotherapy if your pain continues beyond 24-48 hours. At Physiotherapy for Women our experienced Physiotherapists will assess your issue and select treatment options to promote healing and recovery.