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5 Simple Ways to Relieve & Prevent Hand Pain

February 24th, 2012

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When your work with your hands as much as knitters and crocheters do it’s important to remember not to strain or overwork your body. 

Knitting and crochet should be hobbies that help you relax and relieve stress. There are several ways to reduce stress on your hands and body, and these simple tips will help you avoid injury and treat existing symptoms.*

5 Simple Ways
Seated Pay attention to how you are sitting. 

Sit down as though you were about to begin crafting. Is your back supported? Is there enough light to see well, and enough room to move your elbows and arms freely as you work? You may be straining your hands to try and compensate for one of these other issues. Examine the places you craft for simple fixes you can make to add light, support and space.

Remember to take breaks while you craft. 

While it can be tempting to power through a few more rows when you are tired, listen to your body and put your project on pause. Breaks should vary the motion of what you are doing; try doing small, rewarding activities during your break like taking a short walk, watering houseplants or playing with a family pet.

Massage and stretch your hands. 

This is a wonderful (and relaxing) way to rejuvenate your fingers, wrists and palms. Try different methods and go easy on yourself; only rub or stretch your hands to a point that feels comfortable. There are some great hand stretch suggestions on LiveStrong.org (click here).

Ergonomic Crochet Hook Set Choose ergonomic tools

If you’ve only ever tried straight knitting needles or metal crochet hooks, it might be time to try something new. Many knitters prefer using circular needles when possible because of the bounce-back of the cord that connects them, and crocheters are raving about this ergonomic crochet hook set that fits in the palm of your hand.

Stress Relief Gloves Wear stress relief gloves. 

Wearing these stress relief gloves allows the muscles of your hand to relax while you work. These gloves have been specially designed with crafters in mind, so they are completely fingerless and stand up to long-term use.

There are many ways to improve your crafting life and alleviate stress on your body while you work. How have you made your crafting more comfortable? Share your tips to help others in the comments section below.

*If you are experiencing recurring or intense pain, please follow the recommendations of your physician for treatment.

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  • Robyn

    This has some really wonderful tips. I get so so many hand cramps from crocheting a lot!
    THANKS LION BRAND!

  • Val

    I’m a dietitian and knitter, and believe it or not, nutrition can help play a role in maintaining happily knitting hands and wrists.  We put our poor wonderful hands through quite a bit with this fun craft!  Making sure they have the nutrition they need to recover and keep up with us can help.  Low level magnesium or vitamin B deficiencies can increase tendencies to have nerve pain or difficult to relax muscles, including in arms, wrists, hands- many people either don’t get enough in their diet, or use more than usual through stress or other outlets.  An over the counter vitamin B complex and magnesium supplement are fairly low risk and just might help support healthy wrists and hands.  (Check with your doctor to make sure it’s safe for you, magnesium can be contraindicated with some medications or medical conditions.)  An overall anti-inflammatory diet could help too by lowering inflammation throughout the whole body, including wrists and hands.  And applying ice can help a lot too!

  • Beverly Fleming

    I use those craft gloves also.  I have found that wearing them overnight (after a long day of crafting) is very helpful also.

  • TiggerKath

    To anyone who has really bad pain from tendonitis in your fingers: Don’t be afraid to get surgery for it. The surgery really works, and is SO worth it! I put it off until I was in excruciating pain. The surgery was so basic I wondered why I waited. Now I can knit without pain again.

  • Peggy

    Any suggestions to prevent yarn from rubbing on the index finger when knitting???

    • Bmorgan

       The only thing I have found is to put a bandage or bandage tape over the spot while knitting. DO NOT use the flexible bandages, they “stick” to the yarn and it doesn’t slide. I rarely had this problem until recently.

    • Jean

      There are thread/yarn guides that are used on the index finger.  They look like a ring but fit around the first knuckle.

    • Sheepy11

      I sewed a small piece of fleece into a little “ring” about 1″ wide when I had a number of large projects to do. I made sure it was snug enough not to move, but loose enough to be comfortable. It worked surprisingly well!

    • Laurasneedleart

       Make a wide band cloth ring or 1 finger glove out of your favorite soft fabric. If you worry about not feeling the yarn use a thin fabric. If you do not sew purchase a ladies cotton glove from a thrift store or look at the dollar stores. I know sometimes I get a rub on my finger too when I use the old Sayel yarn I find in thrift stores (I do not always want to pass up the color.)

  • Sweets1013

    I use the stress relief gloves, whether I’m on my job or at home crocheting and knitting and they work wonders!!

  • Esther

    I use the stress gloves even when I am not knitting. I find the help mantain my thumb in place and it helps. I also strech, excersise and stop often. I did not need to do this before… oh well, thank G’d there are thing to do aliviate the pain or discomfort. I could not think of my live without knitting!!

  • Salliecurrey

    To relax the hands, change from one project to another. Using small yarn knitted project change to larger yarn knitted project. Also, changing from one color of yarn to another color will make your eyes feel refreshed to knit a while longer. 

  • Eileen

    I use the stress gloves and a splint at night when I knit too much. Just can’t stop knitting for others as well as myself. It is so soothing to me. Relieves stress and I get lots done. Thanks, Eileen

  • Gramalinda23

    I found something wonderful to help my hands! Find some of those old foam rollers for your hair, they are probably already in the back of your linen closet, but they are also available in many Dollar Stores. Remove the plastic thing in the middle and slip it on your hook or needles. it really helps arthritic patients!!

  • Flexibleyogini

    I am a yoga teacher and a knit & crochet instructor for Michaels in 4 locations.  Needless to say I do a lot of knit and crochet.  Find a yoga class, surgery for tendonitis is not necessary, with yoga and some massage to the hand and arm, tendonitis can be relieved in a couple of weeks.  I stretch my hands by pulling the fingers backwards, one at a time when I feel fatigue and there are a number of hand and wrist stretches that I teach in yoga that are extremely beneficial.  Tendonitis is an overuse injury that can be easily remedied.  Please remember that the third leading cause of death in this country is medical procedure, after heart disease and cancer.  A yoga teacher who specializes in yoga therapy as I do can show you all the ways to “heal thyself.”

  • Pgwells

    Teresa at crochet geek has a wonderful tutorial to make the crochet hook bigger and thus not as stressful. I don’t do the palm held way, I do it the way my mother and grandmother taught me:) A little bulk is amazing and it’s incredibly simple to do. Will never crochet with a plain hook again.

  • dancynmoon

    All good tips!  I have chronic neck and shoulder issues, so elevating and supporting my arms has been key for me when knitting and crocheting.  Using soft pillows across my lap supports my forearms and elbows, alleviating upper arm stress, leaving my hands and wrists free to work more comfortably.  Frequent breaks are absolutely key, to stretch, loosen, hydrate, smile, laugh, take deep cleansing breaths! 

  • Pingback: 5 Podcasts on How to De-Stress & Get Motivated When Knitting or Crocheting | Lion Brand Notebook

  • Carpecrochet

    I crochet amigurumi and the stitches have to be tight.  I find myself having to put forth some effort to poke the hook through the stitch.  My problem is, I am developing a blister on the finger that holds the stitch (it gets poked by the hook.)  I tried using a thimble and it felt too uncomfortable.

    • Despinne

      Get an old leather glove and make yourself a thimble. You can either pad the inside or use a piece of metal, such as a pop top. This is good for quilters, too. There is a leather thimble commercially made that is available online, has a sort of metal screen in the tip to catch needles (or, a hook?).

  • Kristina

    Could not tat for long without the gloves.

  • Knitting for Jesus

    I have found that putting your thumb and pinky between two fingers on your other hand and slowly stretching works well.

  • Margaret Dorier

    I use the Carpal Rx for my hand problems….it massages automatically.

  • Mabel Margaret

    It has became very difficult for me to cope up with hand pain but this article offered some crucial tips!