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February 04, 2013



Firstly, thank you for hosting this sort of "forum" and secondly, thank you kindly, to Lyndsay for answering all of these questions.
I tend to have an issue with pain under my right shoulder blade (right handed) and it doesn't hurt while I'm crafting necessarily, but usually, it will hurt later and for days. Is there a kind of stretch that I can do to reach that area? (I think it's b/c I lean onto the arm of the chair where I knit)


I have had difficulty with both carpal tunnel and tendinitis in the elbow, both from work I used to do and crafting/ knitting. I took three years off from knitting and just went back to it last month. I can only knit for short periods now or my right wrist starts to hurt. My personal trainer has recommended using a tennis ball to roll out my forearm and wrist against a wall. I'm hoping this will help with some of the tightness I have been experiencing.

Bobette Bridenbaugh

I tend to get a lot of pain in the base of my left thumb. I've been using a pair of gloves to increase the pressure on it.

Colleen Conlan

Great discussion here. Your symptoms sound suspiciously like what I went through with carpal tunnel syndrome (although it also had to do with my landscaping job). The tingling, the numbness, the shooting pains at night. You might want to get a consult with a neurologist. It's a simple test to see if you have nerve involvement, and the surgery is pretty stratight-forward, with a quick recovery. I'm completely symptom-free. Thanks for bringing up the pain some of us go through while pursuing our favorite craft. You offer great advice (though I would also have a hard time knitting with both feet on the floor).


My question is more about posture and position. I have psoriatic arthritis (in pretty much all of my joints), but my normal sitting position tends to be sitting in my big, deep chair with one or both of my feet crossed under me. On the floor isn't much of an option with the deep chairs, unless I put a huge pillow behind me. I find myself slumping and curling over while I'm knitting(I'm a sloucher by nature, too). Any suggestions on a better way to try to sit? Other chairs are not really much of an option.

Jenn in Portage

I tend to knit in an easy chair and I can safely say it promotes slumping. I am wondering what kind of chair you'd recommend for a big knitting session. I have some other chairs - office, dining, fold-up, and a small willingness to buy a chair if it could alleviate some body stress. Thank you for any seating recommendations!

Susan aka paintermom

I notice that part of my difficulty when knitting for a long time is having my head bent forward to see my work. Would it be a good idea to steengthen my upper arms and back so I can hold my knitting up off my ap and in front of my face or would that be trading one set of posture problems for another?


Every once in a while I get a catch on the right side middle of my back. This causes numbness in my right arm and pain in my back. It usually happens when I'm trying to finish up my Christmas knitting. Any suggestions?


I can get pain in my triceps on both arms when I knit for extended periods of time. Do you think there are any suggestions on how to avoid that too??


I'm off to the doctor today regarding elbow and arm pain in my left arm. I'm right handed and alternate knitting with both hands. I've tried a few acupressure/acupuncture sessions and am not convinced that is helping. Medical information on the Internet regarding elbow problems can be quite contradictory. Can you give advice on treatment and prevention of elbow pain?

Delightfully Healthy

Such great questions and answers.

I have noticed that my grip is getting weaker, and my wrists are stiffer than they used to be. What are some good stretches/strengtheners for hands and wrists?

gale (she shoots sheep shots)

This is fabulous! I have forearm pain, sometimes up to my elblow, and also hand when I'm doing a lot of knitting, shooting (camera holding/shutter releasing) and computer work all in the same week. Same hand dominant for all.
Does trying to hold the needles or crochet hook looser/tighter/differently help? Is there less stress on the same muscles with bigger/smaller needles? Should I sit with my hands lower than my elbows or something (awkward but I heard that helps) I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS! Thanks,Wendy for this post!


I have developed what my ortho doc referred to as "trigger thumb". Do you have any recommendations for alievieating this condition?

Jeanne in Ohio

I don't know if this qualifies as a physical therapy question, but I often find that I have trouble focusing my eyes after a long stint knitting. Are there exercises that will help this?


I can relate to the posts about elbow soreness, and my left shoulder and upper arm are sometimes so sore that I can't sleep if I'm lying on my left side. I've begun lifting small hand weights and have started a yoga class to increase my upper body strength, but it's too soon to tell whether those will help a lot. I've also gone for massages, which probably helped some.

I think all the questions from readers offer you a reason to write a book about this issue. Maybe combine stretches and exercises with patterns?


My neck and shoulders tend to tighten up from working on the computer and knitting. Are there some simple stretches I could do? Should I be sitting somewhere else to knit? What exercise program would be the best?

Addie Jackson

Are there exercises to build up strength and endurance in your wrist? I often experience pain in my right wrist after knitting for a bit.


I knit on an average of 2 hours a day- no pain during or after. This past week I found myself unable to hold the sugar jar and dropped it where it smashed on the floor. This happened to another jar a few days later. Could these accidents be related to my knitting?


Thank you so much for this!

Kris beat me to my question--my repetitive injury from knitting seems to be tennis elbow. Anything I can do for that besides knit less/stretch more?


I have rather tight muscles in my lower back, to the point that I often have sciatica-like symptoms, and I know that sitting for a long time and knitting is bad for me, but I can't stop. Is there anything I can do to help my posture while sitting for long times?


I've had a 2-level cervical fusion and arthroscopic surgery for an impacted ulnus - both of which left me with less than perfect results. I have a permanent muscle spasm under my scapula. I've had to learn how to knit continental (and I'm crocheting much more) to minimize using my left hand. I do find that yoga and stretching helps but I have to make adjustments for my left hand. I know I need to take breaks (which I don't do often enough) but is there anything else you can recommend?


I can knit for hours too but now, I always take a break and stretch. I knit continental and I try to keep my right hand relaxed as a knit and it has made a difference. In the past, my right hand would tighten up and it would be sore from lots of knitting. I don't have that problem anymore since changing a few things.


Thank you for this article! I would love to know if there are ways that we can prevent carpal tunnel? I spend my days typing on a computer, and then I like to knit for an hour (or two, or three) at night. Every time my wrist twinges my heart just sinks in fear!
I love the tips on posture. I am a terrible sloucher at work, and even worse when I'm home on my couch knitting. I always need reminders to sit up straight!


Which diet soda is best to wash down the Tylenol?? Just kidding.
My forearms get achy/tired-- but I don't know until the next day. Sort of like when you overdo a workout. What is the optimal amount of time to knit (ie marathon vs sprint)... if we are working on a big project and can break it up (say, for 15 minutes a day?)?


What a great article, so informative! I need to remember to document what hurts and when. I tend to forget and go on and then later can't remember the specifics. I also need to take breaks more frequently. Thanks for sharing this with me!

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