Most avid knitters have experienced pain or discomfort in their hands after or during a long session of knitting, especially if they have neglected to take any breaks. While we recommend that you always visit a physician if you are suffering from any type of hand/arm pain so you can be properly diagnosed and treated, we also believe that prevention is really important in order to avoid getting to the point of needing treatment.
Below you will find 5 tips to help you prevent damage to your hands or arms while knitting:
Take a break
Make sure that you are taking frequent breaks, especially if you are working on a longer project. If you fear you might get caught up in your knitting and will forget to take a break, you can set an alarm to remind you to take a break every half an hour to an hour.
Check your posture
Keep your back straight and your shoulders down. Try not to rest your arms on a surface like a table-top or the arms of your chair since that puts pressure on the nerves of your arms.
Use your breaks to move and stretch your hands. Try using a stress ball to squeeze and release a few times in order to ease the tension in your hands and fingers. You can also shake your hands for a few seconds to loosen them up.
A good way to stretch your hands and fingers is by holding your arm straight, palm down, and gently pulling your fingers up and back with the opposite hand. Then, palm up, push your hand gently down and back. Repeat with your opposite arm.
When you get to the end of a row of a bigger project, rotate your wrists once counter clockwise and once clockwise. If it is a smaller project, do the same thing after 5 rows.
Protect your fingertips
Wear flexible thimbles on each index finger while knitting.
Check your technique
Try switching to the continental knitting method if you are not using it already. This method has been proven to be easier on the hands.
Avoid knitting with long needles, they can be too heavy and cause more stress on the hands. If your project requires longer needles, make sure they are interchangeable ones.