How to Avoid Hand and Wrist Pain from Crocheting
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Nothing can put a stop to your crochet flow like hand strain, especially when it puts you out for several days. How to Avoid Hand and Wrist Pain from Crocheting provides valuable crochet tips and techniques to prevent this fatigue not only during your work, but before. Crocheters often experience this issue when they embark on intense periods of work, without taking breaks and letting bad habits go. While repeating the same motion has garnered lots of attention thanks to carpal tunnel syndrome, this is not the only source of discomfort. Holding crochet hooks too tightly and using thin hooks that force your hand to contort also contribute to crocheting pain.
While this might all sound a little scary, you can avoid these pitfalls easily through breaks, adjusting your techniques, and stretching or exercise. Even though you crochet because it's fun, you still have to be careful about overdoing it. Keeping in mind the do's and don'ts of crochet will help you take care of yourself, even when you have set a tight timeline for the finished product and are rushing to beat the clock on an important crochet gift or crochet blanket pattern. A healthier you will ensure that crocheting stays a positive, uplifting experience that you can enjoy.
Do you have other questions about how to crochet? Find all the answers here: How to Crochet: Frequently Asked Questions
No Pain Crochet: How to Fight Fatigue in Your Hands and Wrists
The only struggle you should experience is how to decide which amazing pattern to start next. Crocheting should never cause you pain, so if you are feeling discomfort, try adjusting your techniques or adding some of these stretches or exercises to your routine. These are important to keep in mind even if you aren't feeling pain so that you don't suddenly injure yourself and wind up forgoing your hooks for a long period of time while you heal.
Crochet Tips for Posture and Hand Position
Figuring out how to relieve hand pain can sometimes be as simple as looking at your crochet basics. Listen to your body, and if you are uncomfortable, change its position. From how you hold your wrists to the style of your hook, everything matters. If you feel generally stiff or achy when you get up from crocheting, test out some of these techniques.
You should always try to keep your wrists straight instead of flexed (even when you aren't crocheting). If this is hard at first, you can try using a wrist brace.
Be conscious of how you hold your hooks. As mentioned, this can be a primary source of pain. Many crochet hooks are crafted to help with this through their thickness, shape, and even cushion, so do some experimenting with different brands that provide the most comfort for your taste. An ingenious DIY idea is adding a pencil grip to your hooks.
Posture, posture, posture! It's a balance between slouching and being rigid that can be difficult to find, but once you do, it will greatly relieve your body's soreness. Don't tense your shoulders or press your elbows into the chair while you crochet, but be sure to sit straight. It's just as important here as when working at the office or taking a long car drive. This doesn't mean you need to lean too far forward, though, and hurt your neck with an awkward position. Try using pillows and adjusting your support.
Taking a Break
Taking a break may not be the most popular option, but it is one of the most important. In the end, it will make you more productive because it will keep you fresh, and you won't be struggling through pain afterwards.
When to take the break and how long it should last is different for everyone. Whether you take twenty minutes, an hour, or even a day just depends on your body and how you feel. The most important thing is to give your hands time to recover from being in the same position with the same type of pressure.
Don't just sit there during your breaks, but get up and move. Oxygen will start flowing, blood will pump, and energy will return, even if you just take a walk around the house.
Don't wait until you feel pain to quit working. Feeling unstoppable on a good day may tempt you to just power through that big project that has been waiting, but it isn't worth the hand strain that will catch up to you. Schedule periodic breaks every hour to make sure you are staying strong, fresh, and healthy.
Building Strength and Endurance
While legs and arms seem to get the spotlight from work-outs, the muscles in your hands and wrist are equally important when it comes to crocheting. You build your ability to crochet longer just as you do your skills moving from beginner patterns to advanced, especially when you introduce stretches and exercises that focus in on your strength. More flexible fingers that are accustomed to being worked through different motions will be stronger and more reliable tools.
Prepare yourself for the bigger projects by starting with smaller patterns and shorter periods of crocheting. Train yourself with good habits like posture and grip so that when it comes time to meet deadlines or finish a large project, you will be prepared.
Stretch your hands before you start and during your breaks. There are so many different ways to do this, but some of the best include rolling your wrists around, spreading your fingers like a starfish, spreading then making a pinching motion several times, or even shaking your hands out to get blood flowing. Of course, there is also the traditional fist motion and release, where you gently curl your fingers into a ball and squeeze with your thumb before letting go and stretching your fingers back out again.
As always, exercising is one of the best tips for how to fight fatiguge before you feel it. Hand and wrist exercises are as abundant as stretches. You can use hand weights to do wrist curls and a stress ball to strengthen your hands and fingers. You can also try several different ways to flex your fingers, a little like doing push-ups for your hands. Putting your hand flat on the table and lifting/spreading your fingers repeatedly seems simple but will get your fingers used to repetitve motion and able to handle a wider range of movement.
Stretch your whole body, especially your shoulders and back. Just because the pain is in your hands doesn't mean that the rest of your muscles aren't contributing to a general feeling of discomfort. Rotating your head around like it is on a swivel, rolling your shoulders, 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.
Bonus tip: try heating or cooling pads/strips just as you would if you had back pain.
Learn even more crochet tips with this article:
What do you like to do during your crochet breaks?
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