Hand health for knitting and crochetPublished on 13 May 2019 By Meg 3 min read
Hand pain is a burden. It’s even more of one when it comes to knitting and crochet. No maker wants to put down their latest hat, shawl, or mitten WIP because of sore hands! Many knitters don’t realise that your hands are your most important knitting tools, so it's important to look after them. As knitting and crochet fanatics, a number of us have chronic hand pain to deal with when we make so we’re always on the hunt for the best hand pain treatment. There are many hand pain causes out there like carpal tunnel, and arthritis. No matter the cause of yours, we’re here to help with some easy and handy remedies.
Remedies for sore hands
We rave about our favourite hooks, needles, and notions and care for them with extreme reverence, keeping them safe and treasuring them, but rarely do we extend the same love and attention to our hands. Our hands are full of tiny bones, muscles, and tendons that work together to enable us to be dexterous and master complicated stitches. They really are pretty magical!
When crocheting and knitting, sore hands can happen when we keep at it for too long, or with needles that are big or very small. We store tension in our hands and arms and this alone can make our hands crampy and sore. More severe problems, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, and rheumatism all contribute to painful hands when we knit and crochet. To get some hand pain relief and keep your hands as healthy as you can, try these simple exercises before and after you make. But please note, if you feel any pain, stop, and don't knit or crochet when your hands are sore.
Hand health exercises step-by-step
Wrist massage. With small circular motions massage your wrists on both sides, releasing tension and pain.
Pain relief for your fingers. Massage each finger.
Sore joints in hands and thumbs. Massage your thumb and finger joints.
Finger stretch. Stretch your fingers away from your wrist on both hands. Gently push the flat of your hand against a surface to stretch your wrists - remember never push too hard and stop if you feel any pain.
Shake it out. Wiggle your fingers and stretch your hands into stars to finish off!
Keep your hands moisturised
There are many different lotions and potions on the market for us yarn-loving folk, but any good hand cream will do! Keep your hands soft to keep yarn from snagging on dry skin. Soft and supple hands will help the yarn glide easily, and help keep your tension even. Moisturising your hands is also like giving your hands a little massage. Now they’re really feeling fine!
Look at your knitting needle options
If you suffer from hand pain caused by arthritis or carpal tunnel strain, there are needle options that might help. Some of the LoveCrafts team have had carpal tunnel problems and found that shorter needles greatly reduced the hand pain.
Venturing into new knitting territory can be a tad scary, but fear not, circular needles are easy as pie to knit flat with. Knitting flat with circular needles is the same as using two single point needles technique-wise, you just turn your work for each row. The advantage? The weight of the knitting is balanced along the cable rather than on one heavy needle. No strain or pain in these circular needle holding hands!
Wood and bamboo needles
Try wood or bamboo needles: a wooden or bamboo needle in your hand is warmer than metal and will imperceptibly mould to your finger shapes. If you are a lace knitter and you're worried about having smooth enough, sharp enough tips, don't worry - finer point needles (2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm etc) are just as shaped and sharp as their metal counterparts.
Take a break
Tea, coffee, and cake were made for makers! Take regular breaks if you are working on large sections of knitting, or switch from one crochet project to another to keep moving to give your hands a rest.
Happy mind, happy makes
As long as we're on the subject on keeping your knitting and crochet assets healthy, we should mention that making for mindfulness is all part of the picture. When you’re stressed, you can carry tension in other parts of your body. This could be your neck, your back, and even your hands. Read more about it in our Knitting for mindfulness guide! For now, keep your mind calm with the best mindful knitting and crochet patterns.