In this blog post, we will explore the 12 essential tips for preventing pain from crocheting, so you can enjoy this beloved hobby without any discomfort.
Crocheting is a wonderful and creative craft that allows you to make beautiful handmade items. However, it’s not uncommon for crocheters to experience pain or discomfort in their hands, wrists, elbows or shoulders due to repetitive motions or incorrect techniques. In this blog post, we will explore the essential tips to help you prevent pain while crocheting, so you can enjoy this beloved hobby without any discomfort.
If you’ve crocheted for any length of time, you’ve likely encountered some type of pain (and if you haven’t consider yourself incredibly lucky).
Maybe your hands have feel stiff after a long crochet session or maybe you’re experiencing lingering pain way after you’ve stopped crocheting.
Preventing Pain From Crocheting
I talked about pain in a recent post, but I believe it bears repeating:
It is crucially important for us to listen to those messages that our body is sending to us.
I ignored those signs for too long and have ended up with:
- Tendinitis in my right and left elbows
- Tenosynovitis in my right forearm
- A ganglion cyst in my right wrist
- Lasting pain in my right shoulder
All of these have been partly the result of crocheting incorrectly and not listening to what my body has been trying to tell me.
I’m on a mission to fix my own mistakes and to share the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
Warm Up Exercises
Just like an athlete warms up before they go out onto the field, as crocheters this is something we should at least consider.
Before diving into your crocheting session, take a few minutes to warm up your hands and wrists. Perform simple stretching exercises such as wrist circles, finger flexion and extension, and gentle hand shakes. This will help increase blood flow, loosen up your muscles, and prepare them for the repetitive movements involved in crocheting.
Take a Break
This is my number one recommendation for anyone who loves to crochet as much as I do.
Take. Regular. Breaks.
It’s easy to get lost in the world of crocheting and lose track of time. However, it’s essential to take regular breaks to give your hands and wrists a chance to rest and recover. Set a timer for every 30 minutes or so, and when it goes off, take a short break. Stand up, stretch your body, walk around, and do some gentle wrist and hand exercises. This will help prevent stiffness and fatigue.
Also consider taking longer breaks. Don’t crochet every single day. Your body and those muscles need rest.
I can already hear some of you groaning about taking breaks because you love crocheting so much. I get it. Plus it can be really difficult to stop when you’re so used to having something to occupy your hands and mind.
I’ve been incorporating new things into my life so that I’m still having some fun even if I’m not playing with my gorgeous yarns.
Things to Do When You’re Not Crocheting
I know you love crocheting and it’s no fun taking a break, but there are so many things that you can do to replace crochet when your body is letting you know it’s time.
Learn a New Language
One of my favorite new things is learning new languages. I’ve been using Duolingo for the past few months to learn French and Spanish.
I’m having so much fun learning something new.
While it will never take the place of crocheting, it helps me to feel like I’m learning something new and being productive.
Improve Your Memory with Games
Another fun thing I’m doing is working on improving my memory by playing certain games on my phone. I’m very selective about the games I like to play and I have a new one that is not only fun but is also helping keep my mind sharp.
This post contains affiliates links and at no cost to you I may earn a teeny tiny commission if you choose to purchase them. Please know that I only recommend products I use and love! Thank you for supporting Le Petit Saint Crochet! You can read my full (and slightly boring) full disclosure here.
Let’s check in with today’s sponsor, June’s Journey. June’s Journey is a hidden object murder mystery game. It’s is set in a gorgeous 1920’s estate where June is on a quest to solve a mystery.
What I love about the game is that it is so cozy and relaxing. In each beautifully decorated scene there are hidden objects that you need to find. To complete each level you will return to that room and have to find the previous objects as well as new ones.
Another thing I like about June’s Journey is the background music. This is something I’m really picky about and I love the charming and timeless pieces and it really sets the scene for a cozy 1920’s mystery.
The game is free to download and you can play on your mobile devices as well as on your computer through Facebook.
I think this is an excellent thing to do when you need to put down your crochet hook but you’re looking for something whimsical and entertaining to keep your hands and mind busy.
Thank you so much to June’s Journey for sponsoring today’s video!
Learn to Play a Musical Instrument
Another fun thing I’m doing when I’m not crocheting is learning to play the piano. I’m taking an adult group class online and I’m having the best time.
Full disclosure, my daughter is teaching the class, but she has a Master’s Degree in piano pedagogy and has a decade of teaching piano under her belt.
Even though this still uses my hands, I am finding there are very different muscles involved and it’s giving those crochet muscles a break.
Switch Up Your Crafting
One of the biggest reasons I wanted to learn how to knit was so that I could switch up my crafting.
Although crocheting and knitting have a lot of similarities I find that the muscles I use are completely different. It is much easier on my hands, wrists and elbows than crocheting is.
But there are so many different crafts that you can enjoy when you aren’t crocheting and if you’re looking for some fun things to do with your yarn that doesn’t involve a hook or needles, check out my post:
Try Different Crochet Hooks
Another thing you can try is using different crochet hooks. This was something that really helped me early on.
Investing in ergonomic crochet hooks can make a world of difference in preventing hand and wrist pain. These hooks are designed with comfort in mind, featuring padded handles or specially shaped grips that reduce strain on your hands. They provide better grip, reduce tension, and allow for smoother movements. Try different types of ergonomic hooks to find the one that suits you best.
When I was struggling with tendinitis in my elbow I purchased a Furls Odyssey crochet hook. It has an ergonomic design and is a weighted hook.
It helped because the larger handle requires less grip than a smaller handle. At that time it really did make a difference for me.
But there are other options than just Furls. You can also add something like a Chunky Boy Craft Handle to your hooks to make them ergonomic.
You’ll also find other options like foam hair curlers or even do it yourself with a little fabric and some duct tape.
This is one of the new ways I am working to prevent pain.
Tension control is a fundamental skill in crocheting that can significantly impact your comfort level. Holding the yarn too tightly can strain your hands, while holding it too loosely can cause your work to become uneven. Experiment with different techniques and find a balance that allows the yarn to flow smoothly through your fingers without excessive tension. This will reduce the strain on your hands and make crocheting a more enjoyable experience.
Because I primarily design and crochet amigurumi, I make tight single crochet stitches over and over again.
That does a number on your hands, wrists and elbows.
But recently I did a video about the new Animal Friends of Pica Pau book and I read the section about how the author, Yan Schenkel changed her crochet hook size. She was experiencing pain and rather than tightening up her tension, she went down on her hook size until she found the perfect combination of hook and stitch tightness.
She discovered that she didn’t need to tighten her stitches to prevent gaps and holes, she just needed a smaller crochet hook.
I’ve been experimenting with that myself and boy has it made a huge difference.
Tension is something you want to take a close look at if you’re experiencing pain and don’t be afraid to experiment with what helps your tension to be more relaxed.
Stretch Your Whole Body
While crocheting mainly involves your hands and wrists, it actually affects your entire body.
Take time to stretch out your muscles. Sitting for hours can cause tightness in your neck, back and hamstrings just to name a few.
I love doing yoga at home with Yoga with Adriene on Youtube. She is such a great resource and all her videos are FREE online.
Wear Braces, Splints or Gloves
From time to time I’ve needed extra support and having the right braces, wraps, splints and gloves have made a big difference.
When I was experiencing pain in my elbow from tendinitis I used a strap that specifically put pressure on the tendon in my upper forearm that connects to my elbow joint. It eased the pain and I believe it helped in the healing process.
I’ve also used a wrist splint when I was dealing with the ganglion cyst in my wrist. It immobilized that joint which relieved the pain. It was a little difficult to crochet with, but I wore it while I was doing other things which made it feel better.
I recently bought some crafting compression gloves and I’ve used them a little when my hands feel sore. I know that a lot of people love them and they aren’t very expensive.
Try a Different Grip
One of the things I did when I was in the grips of tendinitis pain, but I still wanted to continue crocheting was to switch my grip.
I naturally hold my crochet hook in the knife hold, but I forced myself to do the pencil hold.
Doing that did two things:
- I used different muscles holding it differently
- It slowed me down from crocheting quickly which gave those tendons a break
This is a simple way to experiment and see if you find any relief. Although I didn’t continue holding the crochet hook with the pencil hold, I believe it did aid in my recovery.
Ice Ice Baby
Ice is your friend.
After a longer crochet session or any time I feel pain or strain, I pop on an ice pack.
Applying ice causes your blood vessels to narrow, decreasing blood flow to the area. In turn, this helps reduce the inflammation that causes swelling,” says Dr. Brooks. “Even if you can’t actually see the swelling, one of its symptoms is pain.”Dr. Kenneth Brooks, orthopedic surgeon specializing in knee surgery at Houston Methodist
Heat is also has benefits for crocheters:
Applying heat causes your blood vessels to expand, increasing blood flow,” explains Dr. Brooks. “This brings more biological products, such as oxygen and nutrients, to the injured area, which can help relieve the source of your pain over time.” As a result, heat has a number of potential and perceived benefits, such as:
Dr. Kenneth Brooks, orthopedic surgeon specializing in knee surgery at Houston Methodist
- Decreasing joint stiffness
- Increasing flexibility
- Reducing pain
- Alleviating muscle cramps and spasms
When to Use Ice or Heat
It can be confusing knowing when we should use ice or heat. Dr. Brooks recommends:
For muscle or joint pain caused by exercise-induced tissue damage (from overuse) or arthritis, there’s a role for both ice and heat â€” and knowing when to use which is as easy as following advice you’re already used to: Warm up before activity, and cool down afterward,” explains Dr. Brooks. “Before exercise or activity, use heat to reduce joint stiffness and improve joint flexibility. After activity, use ice to reduce post-exercise discomfort.”Dr. Kenneth Brooks, orthopedic surgeon specializing in knee surgery at Houston Methodist
Maintaining proper posture while crocheting is crucial for preventing pain from crocheting and strain in your neck, shoulders, and back. Sit in a comfortable chair with good lumbar support, keeping your back straight and your shoulders relaxed. Avoid hunching over your work or craning your neck forward. Adjust the height of your chair or work surface if needed, so your arms and hands can rest comfortably while crocheting.
Look for additional triggers that could be causing pain in addition to your crochet time.
When you have a repetitive motion strain or injury from crocheting other activities could be causing more harm and impeding your healing progress.
For me, carrying heavy groceries in my right arm was a trigger, as well as holding my dog’s leash. I learned to hold those bags and leash only in my left hand.
When Pain Doesn’t Go Away
One of the most important things to do when the pain doesn’t go away is to seek medical care. I literally saw the orthopedic doc today because my shoulder pain just isn’t getting better.
I’ve suffered for too long and I’m ready to get some answers.
After a thorough exam and an X-ray, my doctor recommended a cortisone injection to help with the pain. Usually this isn’t a cure, but may give some temporary relief by reducing swelling and inflammation.
My doctor noticed that I have limited range of motion as well as some weakness on that right side, so she also has ordered physical therapy. There they will be able to tailor exercises, stretches and other treatments specifically for my problem.
Finally if the cortisone injection and physical therapy don’t help she then suggested doing more testing to see what the problem is specifically.
Preventing Pain From Crocheting
Pain should never hinder your passion for crocheting. By following these tips you can prevent pain and discomfort while indulging in your favorite craft. Remember, crocheting is meant to be a relaxing and fulfilling activity, so take care of yourself and enjoy the therapeutic art of creating beautiful crochet pieces.