If you’re a seasoned knitter, you would probably agree with the universal fact that this age old craft is as peaceful and relaxing as a warm cup of coffee on a Sunday winter morning.
But, as with all good things in life, there’s always some setbacks. With knitting, it comes in the form of numb fingers and forearms. This is usually the result of long hours of constant knitting or crocheting without any breaks in between.
Just as knitting is known to improve your mental health and give your head some peace of mind, it is also equally important to keep a check and that you do not compromise your physical health at the expense of completing a project.
Knitting Wrist Pain: How is knitting and hand pain related?
Long hours of continuous knitting or crocheting can often leave your fingers going numb and your wrist feeling the dreadful stinging and stabbing sensations.
Repetitive stress/strain injuries (RSIs) are one of the most common injuries attributed to the repetitive nature of various motion activities such as knitting. These injuries, if left unattended for a long time can prove to be quite serious in the future.
In fact, there are long term consequences of repetitive stress injuries and one of the most commonly diagnosed injury is Carpal tunnel syndrome. This injury is caused due to repetitive strain on the carpal tunnel which consists of ligaments and nerves located in the underside of your wrist.
The median nerve, which controls your thumb movements, is the affected nerve here and it can prove to be quite painful if left undiagnosed or untreated.
So, this is why exercises and stretches are really important if you’re a passionate knitter who loves their craft. Whether you’re 60, or 16 going on 80, it is important to keep a check on your physical health.
So, we got you covered. We’ve curated some of the best stretches and exercises for knitters and crocheters that can help minimize hand pain from excessive knitting.
Hand Exercises for Knitters and Crocheters
With the help of these simple exercises, you can continue to work on your beautiful projects without having to worry about wrist and finger pain at all.
It is also important to note that these exercises do not give you the ultimate protection from injuries but rather they can help to minimize the effects of the said injuries.
Taking breaks in between knitting is still advisable so as to cut down on the severity of potential serious injuries.
Your forearm is made up of various nerves, tissues, and muscles all connected either directly or indirectly to your wrist and fingers. There are 3 exercises that you can do to help release some stiffness off your forearms.
The first exercise is a simple one. All you need to do is stretch your forearm by grabbing your right forearm with your left hand and pulling down to your wrist. This exercise targets the fascia muscles present in your forearm and releases some of the stiffness caused by continuous knitting or crocheting.
Repeat the process a couple of times and remember to alternate between both hands.
The second exercise targets the forearm as well, with some help from your fingers. Extend your arm out and make a ‘stop sign’ with your palm facing away from you. Take your other hand and start pulling your fingers towards you.
You will feel the tension on the underside of your forearm. Repeat the process for your other arm too.
For the third exercise, extend both of your arms out in front of you while keeping your fists closed. Bend your wrists down so that your knuckles are facing the ground. As with the previous exercises, you will feel the tension on the underside of your forearm.
This particular exercise also has a variation wherein your hands are extended backwards and not forward as can be seen in the picture below.
Thumb and Finger Exercises
Besides your forearm, your thumb and fingers are also extensively utilized when knitting or crocheting. Hence, proper care and attention is needed to make sure you’re not overworking them.
In this simple and easy-to-follow exercise, all you need to do is extend your hand as if you’re greeting someone with a handshake. Next, bring your thumb down so that it is facing the ground. Close the rest of your fingers and bend your wrist towards the ground. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds and then switch hands.
You will feel the tension on your thumb and along the side of your wrist.
Long hours of knitting can often leave your fingers stiff. One of the simplest ways to tackle that is by gently pulling on your fingers to release some of that stiffness.
When you pull on your fingers, make sure you do not pull too hard so as to cause discomfort to your knuckles.
Disclaimer: It is extremely important to note that these exercises are not the solution to everything. If you experience any form of discomfort while doing any of these exercises, it is advisable to consult your doctor at the earliest.
As mentioned, here at Muezart we understand the love you have for knitting or crocheting. But that love should not come at the expense of your dear hands.
Keeping these exercises in mind before starting your next project can help do away with some of that pain. Better yet, you can do the exercises mid project while you’re taking a break (remember to take BREAKS!)
As always, happy knitting!