Sunday, October 3, 2010

My first knitting injury

I have always been quite pleased in that I seem to have very durable hands.  Hours and hours of yarn work do indeed make them a little sore, but a bit of rest has always made things right again, even when the pain is from using itty bitty needles or hooks.  No more.  I seem to have found my gauge of pain, and it is, surprisingly to me, bulky yarn on US 10 needles.

I don't usually work with bulky yarn, and when I do, it is usually crochet.  But... it is such a cute little bag.  Today, however, I have a serious ache through my left pinky finger and into my wrist, despite having done no yarn work today whatsoever.  Surprise!  A knitting injury!

I have therefor put together a list of tips for craft related hand pain.
  • Try to go back and forth between projects of different gauges.  Different sizes of needles and hooks put strain on our hands in different ways, and by spreading out the stress, you can avoid injury.  It is also helpful to go back and forth between knit and crochet, to mix up the use of your hands and wrists.
  • Loosen up!  Knitting or crocheting tightly places more strain on the muscles and tendons of the hands.  Try wrapping your yarn around fewer fingers to tension it, and try to relax as you're working.  You will naturally loosen your stitching.  You may need to change needles to accommodate your new more relaxed gauge.
  • If you do develop pain, take a rest.  Don't try to push through... that's how injuries happen.
  • If you have persistent soreness, try hot or cold compresses.  Whether heat or cold works for you will depend on the exact nature of your soreness.  Cold works best on inflammation and swelling, and heat works best on tension.  A combination of both may work very well for you.  Experiment and see what helps.
  • Try taking an anti-inflammatory half an hour or so before a long yarn session.  Having the medicine already in your blood stream can prevent inflammation from occurring in the first place... this is however something of a last ditch solution, as pain is how our bodies tell us we are causing damage.  As inconvenient as it is, it is a useful signal.
In summary, the best way to stay out of my position is to take care of your hands.  They do a lot for us crafters, and we are very demanding of them.  Here's to hopefully fast healing, and a long lifetime of pain-free yarning.

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