Today’s unexpected knitting thought started with the recurrence of a niggling pain in my wrist … I’ve had a weakness there for years – probably a combination of too much computer work in my job and a love of handicraft – and generally I manage it well. Every now and then, it flares up and reminds me to rest.
I take heed of the reminders. The human body is complex and precious. Besides, I can’t imagine a future where I’m not able to knit, so I want to minimise any long term damage.
Over the years, I’ve discovered a couple of things that really help me to ease the aches, and which I tend to forget. (I’m not a doctor or medically qualified, so these suggestions are just things that work for me – please consult a qualified practitioner if you have any medical conditions.)
So here are my suggestions …
Firstly, when I’m so engrossed in my knitting, I have a tendency to plough on, making my fingers work far longer than is sensible. This can result in tension and stiffness. My recommendation? Simple finger stretching every now and then, opening and closing the fingers, flexing the palm and rotating the wrist (gently, don’t force it beyond what is comfortable), to release the tension and help the circulation.
Secondly, my knitting technique is largely ‘English’, also known as ‘throwing’ the yarn. Compared to ‘continental’ knitting, the English style involves additional arm movement, as the yarn is moved rhythmically over the needle to create the stitch. It’s only a small movement, but the repetitive action adds up over time. I’ve discovered that my aches are reduced if I rest my right (‘throwing’) arm on a strategically placed cushion. Do I always remember to do this? Nope! But it definitely helps, so the cushion is back in place again now!
Finally, my last tip for today – perhaps the hardest one – is to take a break. Even 10 minutes will help. But I really mean take a proper break; put your knitting away for a while, for days if you can, to let your muscles and limbs recover. This is where I have to remind myself about being in it for the long run – better to take a short break now, than have to give up completely later down the line?
Do you experience similar aches and pains? What do you do to manage/prevent them? I’d love to hear your tips and advice!
p.s. Between drafting this blogpost, and having chance to take a photo to accompany it, I spotted an excellent post by Paardje at “Of SnailMail, Books and Vanities”, including 4 videos of exercises to help strengthen and relax crafters’ wrists. Let’s give them a go and keep those aches at bay!
Happy crafting! 🙂