Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hand cramps and other knitting injuries

I have been knitting a lot lately. If my hands are not busy typing, doing dishes or sleeping, they are probably knitting. This has gotten me some pretty strange sensations in my forearms and hands.
I have had weird pinching pain near the inside of my elbows if I knit with large needles for too long. I get hot, burning pain near my pinky and ring fingers if I knit with small needles for a while.
I also get cramps from the elbows to the tips of my fingers if I knit too long, period.
The only remedy I have for this is to take frequent breaks and change what I am doing often. It is not uncommon for me to have two or three knitting projects on the go at once, all on different sized needles. I will knit 10 or so rows on one project, then take a break. I will then clench and unclench my hands a few times before picking up a different project.
I really don't know of any other options.
Do you get this sort of pain? What do you do to fix it?


  1. Nicole- I've always gotten cramps in my hands if I knit too long. This sounds like you REALLY knit too much. I think you need to be careful not to do nerve damage like carpel tunnel from too much typing. I'm sure that's not what you want to hear. Can you train yourself to hold the needles an alternate way, or more loosely without affecting the tension in the work. Yikes. This must be a real annoyance.

  2. For me like you I find changing needle sizes helps. I also crochet and changing between the two techniques, knitting and crocheting, helps since my hands work in slightly different ways for each one.

  3. Sounds like you may have some combination of carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, and DeQuervain's sinovitus, like me. Try using heat packs when it really hurts, and give your hands some warmup stretches before you start knitting. A little Ben-Gay now and then helps too.

  4. I'm experiencing the same thing, so I spent one week away from knitting and crocheting. What gives me relief is soaking my hands in hot water (as hot as I can manage) with salt. Hope your pains go away.

  5. You could have pronator teres syndrome. It's common in knitters or people who pronate their arms a lot. Apply heat to the forearm inside just after the inside elbow and do some massage to the area to release the deep muscle there. Stretching is also key to avoiding hypertonic muscles.