If it’s January, it’s also Crochet Hand Pain Month (I made that up) which means that there are crocheters around the world experiencing sore hands (and maybe also sore wrists and elbows) from completing so many crochet projects over the last several weeks. Spending extended hours on crochet projects can often lead to discomfort in the hands and wrists.
Personally, the first time I experienced crochet hand pain was after making this blanket.
I absolutely LOVE this blanket – I call it the Lemon Swirl blanket – the bright energizing yarn, the fact that it’s 100% cotton, it was intended to be that blanket that you leave in the car so that you’re ready to take advantage of those ad hoc spontaneous stops at the park, lake, or beach because you have a blanket to sit and relax on. Unfortunately, the blanket didn’t love me back. It took almost three weeks to complete because it was a moss stitch so took forever to work up. And this probably wasn’t the best cotton yarn selection (I’ll save that for another post) since this type of yarn is typically used for smaller projects like dishcloths, scrubbies, etc. because it’s a little rough.
The worst part was the pain resulted in me not crocheting for a week. To avoid a repeat of that experience, I did some research and am sharing some of the tips that I’ve found that have worked for me.
DISCLAIMER: I’m not a doctor so understand that the information being shared is not medical advice. Please use this as a starting point but do your own research and see a physician.to determine what’s best for your health.
Understanding the Causes of Crochet Pain
Before we can address the issue of crochet pain, it’s important to understand what causes it in the first place. Crochet pain is often a result of repetitive motions and strain on the hands and wrists. The repetitive nature of crocheting can lead to overuse injuries, such as tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome. Additionally, poor posture and lack of ergonomics can contribute to hand pain. By understanding the underlying causes, we can then implement the necessary strategies to prevent and alleviate crochet pain.
The Importance of Proper Posture and Ergonomics
Proper posture and ergonomics play an important role in preventing crochet hand pain. Maintaining good posture while crocheting helps to reduce strain on the neck, shoulders, and hands. Sit in a comfortable chair with your feet flat on the floor and your back supported. Keep your shoulders relaxed and avoid hunching over your work. Proper ergonomics can make a huge difference in preventing crochet pain and allowing you to crochet for longer periods without discomfort.
Incorporating Stretching Exercises
Doing stretching exercises before and after crochet sessions can enhance hand flexibility, increase blood flow, and alleviate muscle tension. Simple exercises, such as gently spreading fingers wide apart and closing them into a fist, promote muscle relaxation. Rotating wrists in clockwise and counterclockwise motions aids in joint flexibility.
And don’t forget to stretch your arms and shoulders. Although you’re feeling pain in your hands, your arm and shoulder muscles may be contributing to the discomfort. Doing head rolls, shoulder rolls, and linking your hands and stretching them out in front of you are all great ways to relieve tension from staying in the same spot for too long. Try integrating these stretching exercises into your crochet routine to ward off hand pain.
Tips for Preventing Crochet Pain
In addition to proper posture, ergonomics, and stretching exercises, there are several other tips you can follow to prevent crochet pain. Take frequent breaks to rest your hands and give them a chance to recover. For example, stop to take a break every 20 minutes for 5 minutes. Avoid gripping the crochet hook too tightly, as this can lead to muscle fatigue and strain. Instead, hold the hook in a relaxed grip, allowing for more fluid movement. It’s also important to listen to your body. If you start to feel any discomfort or pain, take a break and assess what might be causing it. By being mindful of your body’s signals, you can prevent further pain and injury.
Choosing the Right Crochet Hooks and Yarn
The choice of crochet hooks and yarn can greatly impact your crochet experience. When it comes to hooks, consider using ergonomic ones that are designed to reduce strain on your hands and wrists. These hooks often have larger handles that provide a more comfortable grip. Experiment with different sizes and materials to find the ones that work best for you. Similarly, the choice of yarn can also make a difference. Opt for softer yarns that are easier to work with and put less strain on your hands. Be mindful of the weight of the yarn as well, as heavier yarns can cause increased tension on your hands and wrists.
In my own experience, I’ve found the large handled hooks helpful when making blankets or when using chunky yarn in a pattern. In fact making the Lemon Swirl Blanket again with Bernat Handicrafter Yarn wasn’t such an arduous task because of this crochet hook. It does an excellent job of absorbing the “shock” of stitching with the result being that my wrists don’t hurt so I can crochet uniform stitches for a longer period of time. If you’re a maker of blankets/afghans/bedspreads/rugs or if you’re a high volume maker, this may be an important consideration.
That said, I’ve also had a good experience with the Clover Amour series. Fortunately, all of the major crochet hook brands including Clover, Susan Bates, Etimo, and Prim offer ergonomic hooks in their product lines.
Alternative Crochet Techniques to Reduce Hand Strain
If you find that traditional crochet techniques are causing too much strain on your hands, consider exploring alternative methods that are gentler on your joints. Tunisian crochet, also known as afghan stitch, is a technique that uses a longer hook and keeps multiple stitches on the hook at once. This reduces the repetitive motion and can alleviate strain. Another option is to try finger crocheting, where you use your fingers instead of a hook to create stitches. This technique eliminates the need for a traditional crochet hook and can be easier on the hands.
Natural Remedies for Crochet Pain Relief
If you experience occasional crochet pain, there are natural remedies that can provide relief. Applying a cold compress or ice pack to the affected area can help reduce inflammation and numb the pain. Alternatively, a warm compress or heating pad can help relax the muscles and alleviate discomfort. You can also try soaking your hands in warm water with Epsom salt to relieve muscle tension. Additionally, there are various essential oils known for their pain-relieving properties. Lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus oil can be diluted and massaged into the hands to provide soothing relief.
One product that has helped me when my hands get sore is a pair of stress relief gloves.
I think of these Stress Relief Gloves as compression gloves. They are lightweight but do a great job of providing support to the hand and wrist.They are designed to reduce pain and swelling by enhancing blood flow and massaging muscles throughout the hands and wrists. Wearing stress relief gloves allows the muscles of your hand to relax while you work.
Seeking Professional Help for Chronic Crochet Pain
While the tips mentioned above can be effective for most cases of crochet pain, it’s important to seek medical help if you experience chronic or severe pain. A healthcare professional, such as a physical therapist or occupational therapist, can provide a customized treatment plan to address your specific needs. They may recommend exercises, splints, or other interventions to alleviate pain and promote healing. Don’t hesitate to consult a professional if your crochet pain persists or worsens over time. Their expertise can make a big difference in your well-being and ability to continue enjoying crocheting.
Crafting a Pain-Free Future
Hand pain doesn’t have to be part of your crochet journey. By implementing these strategies, you can ensure a pain-free and enjoyable experience. Pay attention to posture, use the right tools, and explore alternative techniques. For occasional discomfort, natural remedies can help, while professional assistance is crucial for chronic cases. With these strategies and a little extra care, you can say goodbye to crochet pain and continue creating beautiful creations for years to come.
Start implementing these strategies today and experience the joy of crocheting without pain. Your hands will thank you!
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