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Tools that make gardening easier for arthritis sufferers

June 5, 2007

Arthritis is one of the most prevalent chronic health problems and the nation's leading cause of disability among Americans over age 15. It limits everyday activities such as gardening for more than 70 million Americans. A company called Fiskars has developed tools specifically to help with gardening.

There are plenty of manufacturers who add a cushioned grip to a tool and call it "ergonomic" or some other buzz word. The engineers at Fiskars Garden & Outdoor Living go far beyond that simplistic approach, designing more efficient tools that produce less strain on muscles, back, wrists and hands.

"Weight and power are what make a truly ergonomic tool," said Olavi Lindén, director of new product development for Fiskars Garden & Outdoor Living. "Handles are actually a very small part of the equation. More power is what helps you avoid tendinitis. Extra-long, lightweight handles help prevent back pain."

Lindén is world-renowned for his innovative designs, earning many American and European awards. He leads a 15-member, international team that has taken a fresh look at how people garden in an effort to design tools that make the experience less strenuous and more enjoyable. They succeeded. Fiskars® PowerGear® line of garden tools makes gardening so much easier that the Arthritis Foundation® has awarded them with their prestigious Ease-of-Use Commendation.

The Arthritis Foundation created its Ease-of-Use program to encourage manufacturers to design user-friendly products and packaging. Manufacturers submit their product(s) for testing by an independent lab experienced in the design and evaluation of products that are accessible to people with functional limitations due to the effects of arthritis.

The PowerGear tools really need to be tried to believe the difference they make. A gardener from Tennessee describes her experience:
"I bought a pair of Fiskars loppers the other day. I have been working on clearing a lot that pretty much looks like a jungle. I had a pair of c u t - t e r s that were from the early 80's and a yard sale at that. So I decided to run over to the store and see what they had. Well I bought your brand, it had an ease of use commendation from the arthritis foundation so I thought, hey I'll try them. My husband wanted me to buy a less expensive pair. I am so glad I bought yours. What an outstanding pair of cutters. I could not believe how much easier it made my work. I actually got more work done than previously, because they worked so well. I do not usually send "orchid" or "onion" letters but you get an "orchid." Great job. Sincerely,"clearing the jungle in Tennessee."

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