Why Do My Fingernails Hurt After Gardening?

If your fingers hurt after gardening, then you’re not alone. This can be a very common reaction to gardening, especially if your garden is full of prickly plants that are painful on contact! So why do my fingernails hurt after gardening? 

In this post, I’ll explain the most common reasons why this happens and how you can manage the pain so that it doesn’t impact your ability to enjoy gardening.

Here’s a single column takeaway table based on the title “Why Do My Fingernails Hurt After Gardening?” without the dash at the beginning of each row:

Why do my nails hurt after getting them done?
Regular gardening tasks can cause pain and discomfort under fingernails
Poor grip while using garden tools, trauma or injury to the finger or nail, and underlying health conditions can contribute to fingernail pain
Wearing protective gloves and using garden tools with ergonomic designs can help prevent fingernail pain
Breaking down tasks into smaller chunks, using comfortable garden tools, and taking frequent breaks can make gardening more comfortable and enjoyable
Seeking medical attention is recommended if the pain lasts for several days, worsens, or other symptoms occur

Your Body Is Under Strain

Gardening is a great way to get exercise. It can also be strenuous, painful and cause aches, strains and blisters. Because gardening involves repetitive motions over long periods of time, it’s common for your muscles to become fatigued or strained. 

If you have just started gardening or are new to the activity then the chances are you will experience some muscle soreness after a few days of working in the garden.

For some people however this pain may persist even after several weeks have passed and this could be a sign that something else is wrong with their body rather than being an injury caused by gardening itself. 

If you notice these symptoms while gardening then make sure you seek advice from your doctor before continuing with any physical activity as they may be due to underlying medical problems such as arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis which require treatment before returning back into work again!

If you experience pain in your feet after gardening for long periods, it’s essential to clean them properly. Learn more about how to clean your feet after gardening to prevent any potential infections from cuts and scrapes caused by gardening tasks.


If you’ve developed an infection after gardening, it’s likely due to bacteria or fungi in your soil. The good news is that infections are treatable with over-the-counter medications and home remedies.

Infections can be caused by tools such as shovels or trowels that you bring into contact with the dirt, which could be infected with fungi or bacteria. It’s also possible for a scratch on your finger to get infected—for example, if you accidentally cut yourself while gardening and don’t cleanse the wound right away. 

Additionally, if there are splinters or thorns embedded in your skin around the nails of one hand (particularly between the fingers), this may lead to an infection later on as well!

While these infections will eventually subside once they’re treated properly (often with simple anti-fungal creams), it may take several weeks before any symptoms go away completely; this means that even though your fingernails might look fine now after applying some medication, they still won’t feel normal during that time period until everything heals back up again.

Infection Treatment Table

Type of InfectionTreatment Options
Bacterial InfectionAntibacterial cream, such as Neosporin or Bacitracin, and oral antibiotics may be prescribed by a doctor
Fungal InfectionAntifungal cream or powder, such as Lotrimin or Lamisil, or oral antifungal medication may be prescribed by a doctor
Home RemediesTea tree oil or a diluted vinegar soak may help alleviate symptoms, but it’s still important to seek medical treatment

The table above outlines the treatment options for different types of infections that may occur after gardening. If you develop an infection after gardening, it is essential to seek medical attention to ensure proper treatment.


Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. If you have hypothyroidism, it can lead to a number of symptoms, including fatigue and weight gain.

It’s diagnosed with a blood test called TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone).

The most common treatment for hypothyroidism is medication containing synthetic thyroid hormone called levothyroxine or T4. 

This helps your body use the remaining healthy thyroid tissue more effectively and usually results in improved quality of life within three to six months after starting treatment.

Wearing the right gloves while gardening is crucial to prevent blisters, cuts, and other pains associated with gardening. Check out our guide on what kind of gloves are good for gardening to find the best gloves for your gardening needs and keep your hands protected.

Raynaud’s Disease

Raynaud’s disease is a condition that causes your fingers and toes to go numb or cold. In some cases, the skin on those parts of your body might also turn white or blue. The symptoms are usually worse in the winter, but you can get Raynaud’s at any time of year.

Raynaud’s disease is thought to be caused by changes in the blood vessels that go to your fingers and toes — for example, if you have low levels of calcium or magnesium in your blood. It can also be triggered by smoking or being exposed to cold weather for long periods of time.


Another common cause is psoriasis, a skin condition that causes red, scaly patches on the body. This can also affect your nails, causing them to become thick, yellow and discoloured.

If you have psoriasis it’s important to keep an eye on your nails as this will help you spot any changes that might suggest infection or other problems.

Gardening should be enjoyable, but it can be challenging to find pleasure in the task when experiencing pain and discomfort. Our guide on how can you enjoy gardening pro tips provides useful tips to make the experience more comfortable and fun, so you can appreciate the therapeutic benefits of gardening.

Nutrient Deficiencies

A lack of iron and vitamin C can cause your fingernails to become brittle and break easily. The body needs a lot of nutrients to create blood, including iron and vitamin C. 

In fact, it takes about 15 milligrams of vitamin C per day for men and women to maintain healthy blood vessels—and if you’re working hard in the garden (which we assume you are), that number may increase depending on how much sun exposure your hands get while doing so! 

Eating foods high in these vitamins will help ensure that the nails remain strong enough to withstand the abuse they take when digging around in soil or grabbing hold of plants without breaking off at the base like a piece of bread crust.

Nutrient Deficiencies Table

Nutrient DeficiencySymptomsFood Sources
IronBrittle nails, fatigue, pale skin, hair lossRed meat, dark leafy greens, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds
Vitamin CBrittle nails, slow wound healing, dry skinCitrus fruits, tomatoes, red and green peppers, broccoli, strawberries

The table above outlines the symptoms and food sources of the two essential nutrients, iron and vitamin C, that the body needs to create blood and maintain healthy nails. A balanced diet that includes these nutrients can help prevent brittle nails, fatigue, and other related symptoms caused by nutrient deficiencies.

Herpes Zoster Stomatitis

A blistering rash on the outside of your mouth is a common sign of herpes zoster stomatitis, a rare condition that can affect people who have had chickenpox. This virus causes blisters to form on the tongue, gums and inside the cheeks.

It’s caused by a reactivation of varicella zoster virus — also known as shingles — in an affected nerve cell when you’re older than 50 years old. The virus usually lies dormant in your body until something triggers it to become active again, such as severe stress or trauma (such as surgery).

It’s not clear why some people get this condition but if you’ve had chickenpox in your past and then develop shingles later in life, it may make sense why they appear on your face rather than elsewhere on your body like they would with regular shingles symptoms due to reactivation from latent VZV replication within sensory ganglia.

Fertilizing your lawn is a crucial part of proper lawn maintenance, but it can also be a challenging task. Learn more about how to fertilize your lawn yourself with our expert guide to make the job more manageable and achieve a healthy, vibrant lawn.

Heart Disease And Stroke

In addition to a healthy lifestyle, there are some things you can do to reduce the pain and inflammation in your hands:

Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication. A common side effect of gardening is that it will make your hands swell up, which can cause more pain than usual. 

Taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen or aspirin (as long as you’re not allergic to either) can help relieve some of that swelling and make it so your fingers don’t feel as stiff.

Try soaking them in warm water for 20 minutes at least once per day after gardening. Soaking your hands in warm water is another way to help ease inflammation in the joints and tendons of your fingers, which may be causing you some discomfort after working in the garden all day long.

Endocarditis (Infection of the Heart)

If you have endocarditis, it’s important to see your doctor right away. Your doctor will order blood tests and an echocardiogram to determine the extent of damage to your heart valves and determine if they need to be replaced.

If left untreated, endocarditis can cause permanent damage or even death.

Gardening is not limited to the warmer months; there are plenty of opportunities to create a beautiful garden during the holiday season. Check out our guide on 10 tips for Christmas gardening that will change your holiday to find unique ways to decorate your garden, create a festive ambiance, and enjoy your holiday season outdoor.

Glaucoma (Eye Pressure)

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that result in damage to the optic nerve and vision loss. The most common form of glaucoma is chronic open-angle glaucoma (COAG), which accounts for 90% of all cases. 

This type occurs when the intraocular pressure (IOP) rises gradually, causing damage to the optic nerve over time.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition that causes numbness and tingling in the thumb, index finger, middle finger and half of the ring finger. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when there’s a pinched nerve in your wrist. 

The carpal tunnel is a small passageway on either side of your wrist through which tendons, muscles and nerves go to connect with your hand muscles. 

If you’re working outdoors or gardening often, it’s likely that you’ll suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome if you don’t take care of your hands properly when tending to plants or doing yard work.

To prevent this pain from occurring while gardening or working with tools such as shovels or rakes:

Arthritis And Other Joint Diseases

If you have joint pain, you may have arthritis. Arthritis is a condition in which your joints become inflamed and painful. It can be caused by overuse, injury or infection.

You may also experience other symptoms along with the pain, like swelling around the joint and stiffness when you move it.

If you’re wondering why your fingernails hurt after gardening, this could be one of those causes!


All of these medical conditions can cause pain in your fingernails and they are something you should seek medical attention for if they persist. 

If you have an infection, it will get worse until treated. If you don’t know what is causing the problem, we urge you to see a doctor so that treatment can begin as quickly as possible before things get worse.

Further Reading

Pain Under Fingernail When Pressed: Symptom Causes and Treatment – This article explains the possible causes and treatment for pain under fingernails when pressed.

Gardening Tips from Cioffredi & Associates – This page provides helpful tips and advice for gardening without experiencing pain or injuries.

Common Hand Injuries You Can Get While Working in the Garden – This article discusses common hand injuries that can occur while gardening and provides tips on how to prevent them.


What causes pain under fingernails after gardening?

Pain under the fingernails after gardening may be caused by various factors such as poor grip while using garden tools, injury or trauma to the finger or nail, or even underlying health conditions.

How can I prevent pain and injuries while gardening?

You can prevent pain and injuries while gardening by wearing protective gloves, stretching before starting any garden task, using ergonomically designed garden tools, and taking frequent breaks.

How can I make gardening more comfortable and enjoyable?

To make gardening enjoyable and comfortable, you should pace yourself by breaking down tasks into smaller chunks, investing in comfortable garden tools, finding a supportive pair of shoes, and varying your activities when working in the garden.

What are some common hand injuries that can occur while gardening?

Common hand injuries that can occur while gardening include blisters, cuts, strains, sprains, and puncture wounds. These injuries can be prevented by using the right protective gear and following proper gardening techniques.

When should I seek medical attention for finger or hand pain after gardening?

You should seek medical attention for finger or hand pain that lasts for more than a few days or worsens over time, or if you experience other symptoms such as swelling, discoloration or numbness in your fingers or hand.