Arthritis symptoms include pain, stiffness and swelling in joints.
There are several different types of the condition including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
The arthritis pain can vary from a slight feeling of discomfort, to an agonising feeling known as a flare-up.
Treatment for the condition focuses on a combination of medication and exercise, to relieve symptoms and build up muscular strength.
Arthritis Research UK recommends these summer gardening techniques to get you outside caring for your plants again.
“Gardening doesn’t have to be a problem if you have arthritis,” said the national charity promoting arthritis awareness in its ‘Gardening and arthritis’ booklet.
“It can play an important part in keeping up your physical activity.”
“You should aim for a balance between exercising your joints and muscles to stay mobile without straining them.”
Change tasks to reduce strain
Arthritis Research UK says you should change gardening activity about every 20 minutes, with some rest time if needed. This will stop you putting too much strain on a joint, which could cause an arthritis flare-up.
“Break up harder jobs like hoeing weeds with spells of something gentler like pricking out seedlings.”
Use a garden stool
Having a stool to sit on while you garden reduces the load on your joints, helping with gardening.
“Make sure you can easily get up from the stool,” says Arthritis Research UK, “avoid sitting too long and getting stiff as this will make rising more difficult.”
Have a good grip
“Slip a spongy rubber sleeve over the handle of a hoe or rake to increase grip,” says the national charity.
“This will reduce the strain on your knuckles and jarring of the joints. A good pair of gloves also helps you to grip more easily.”
This technique helps to reduce strain on joints, reducing the risk of a flare-up.
Avoid heavy lifting
Arthritis Research UK also says you should ask people for help lifting items, or buy more smaller size packages to avoid lifting heavy objects.
“If you can’t get help lifting bags of compost, especially from the boot of a car, think about buying two small bags instead of one large one.
“Many manufacturers now include handles on their compost bags, which makes them much easier to carry.”
Use the correct tools
Lightweight or long-handled tools can help reduce the strain on your joints as well as keeping gardening cutters sharp for “ease of use”.
“Planning your garden and choosing low-maintenance plants will make things easier if you go on holiday or into hospital, or if you don’t feel up to gardening for a while.”
Arthritis Research UK also recommends spreading the load when you carry items, and possibly wearing splints if you think it will help you. You should also plan to avoid unnecessary effort while you garden.
Other ways to reduce pain while gardening include taking painkillers as well as making diet and lifestyle changes.
Patients could benefit from adding olive oil to their diet, according to the Arthritis Foundation.