How do you prevent crochet pain due to repetitive motion?
How do you prevent repetitive motion injury while doing something you love to do? A lot of the crochet pain we experience is because we are so excited about a project we can’t stand to put it down. Or, we may be under a deadline and feel we can’t afford to take a break. Whether it’s because you’re excited, under deadline or churning pieces out for a show, it’s vitally important that you protect your hands as a valuable asset in your business.
What causes crochet pain?
The easy answer is repetitive motion. However, there is also firmness of your grip on the crochet hook, finger position while holding the yarn and your work and the number of breaks you take between projects. Just because you’re doing the same motion repetitively does not mean you need to have pain or disruption in your work. What causes pain is the sustained pressure or repetition without a break, stretch or variation of movement while working. Therefore, pain is preventable.
One way to help reduce part of the pressure problem that causes crochet pain is to use cushions on your crochet hooks. They come in varying sizes and “ergonomics” to help you keep a cushioned hold on your hooks. I know that when I’m crocheting I tend to put a lot of pressure on my thumb, so a cushion helps. Just like getting a cushioned area rug on a hardwood floor, the cushion helps relieve pressure and allows for less crochet pain.
I know it’s not always a fun prospect to take a break when you only have a few minutes to squeeze your crochet project it. For me it’s always about beating the clock to when my kids will wake for a nap or my husband will need me to help him with the kids or when I need to stop and work on something else. But, I’ve found that taking the break does wonders! If I start to feel fatigue or a faint strain on my hands I put down my crochet and go do something different for about 10 – 15 minutes. When I get back the stiffness is gone and I can resume easily. Take a break, I know it’s not always what you want to do, but it’s the best you can do for your hands.
Hand and wrist exercises
Hand and wrist exercises when you’re taking a break or when you think of it will go a long way to helping your crochet pain. Here are some exercises I do that I find really help keep my hands feeling good:
- Wrist Exercises: Exercises to help strengthen your wrists include using weights and lifting with just your hands making the muscles in your wrists work hard. I also move my wrists in circular motions as soon as I put my work down to stretch instantly. I find it helps to loosen the muscles a lot like when I do a neck roll to loosen my neck. I hear come popping and cracking, but overall, it feels really good. Here’s an article on ways to help strengthen your wrists I found to be very helpful.
- Finger Exercises: One of the most common ways to exercise your hands are the stretch exercises done with your fingers. They are great to do when taking a break from crochet as well. Just stretch out all your fingers as strongly as you can, roll into a fist with the thumb on the outside and squeeze for about 5 seconds, then stretch again. You can do that about 10 times to get your crochet pain to scatter! You can also touch the tips of your fingers to your thumb in succession. Whatever you do, make sure to stretch well and make sure to loosen your muscles.
Another good way to keep from injury is to wear a wrist brace. I have not done this personally, but I know others who have and think it works really well. The wrist brace will “hold” your wrist in position so you’re not getting the same repetitive motion strain you would get without them. Although I don’t wear wrist braces I am very aware of how I hold my hands when not crocheting. For example, when I lay down to sleep I always make sure to keep my hands and wrist in a straight position at least until I fall asleep, this ensures that my wrists are not working in that time and are fully rested. I do the same things when I’m just sitting to watch TV without my crochet. The less stress I put on my wrists and hands when I’m not crocheting, the more likely I am NOT to experience crochet pain
This is just a brief list of things you can do to help keep your hands crochet healthy! Do you have any other suggestions to add to the list? I’d love to read them in the comments below.