Designing crochet patterns is one of my favorite things to do. I love sharing patterns from other designers from around the web as well.
How To Prevent Injury While Crocheting
Crocheting is a fun and relaxing hobby, but believe it or not, it is
also hard work, especially if you are crocheting for long periods of
time. Not taking the proper precautions during crocheting can lead to
injury of the hands or the wrists.
Crocheting mostly affects the hands, fingers and wrists, but it can also affect the elbows, shoulders, back and neck, as you are constantly looking down. It is not hard physically, but it is the repetitive motions which eventually can lead to pain and even serious conditions like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome if left ignored.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and there are many little things which you can do to help you to prevent injury from crocheting.
Tips to Prevent Injury While Crocheting
Learning to crochet without looking down at your work will help your
neck and your back not get too tense. Watching T.V. or reading a
computer screen while you are crocheting will help to distract you from
your work; it will slow you down, but nevertheless it is a good way to
If your hands get tired of gripping the hooks, try using a cushioned handle or grips.
Try holding your crochet hook and yarn in a different way when you become tired of holding it one way. By holding it in a different way you are putting the strain on different muscles when certain muscles become tired. I have seen many people who crochet hold their yarns and hooks very differently, so learning a new way may be just the key to preventing injury.
Have several different projects going and switch to a different project every couple of hours or so. Ideally the different projects should be with different yarns, hook sizes as some yarns are easier to work with, and by switching to an easier yarn when your hands get tired will help to relieve the stress on your hands.
Thicker yarns and non-stretch yarns are generally harder on the hands while thinner yarns may be harder on the eyes. Switching them up will help to reduce the stress.
When working on large projects your work should rest on your lap and not in your hands as the work can get heavy after a while.
If you do a lot of crocheting you may want to invest in a pair of therapeutic gloves to help support your hands and wrists during the repetitive motions. You can also make your own support gloves by crocheting a pair of tight fingerless gloves which go about half-way up your arms. These may not work as well as therapeutic gloves, but they do help a lot in preventing injury.
Your Sitting Position
You should be sitting in a comfortable position where the chair
conforms to your body. You can lean back and put your feet up if you
like, or you can sit up straight, but never slouch as that could cause
serious injury to your back and neck. Switching between the two
positions will help to eliminate a lot of stress on the back, as well
as the neck.
Sometimes switching to a different chair can also help to alleviate the strain on the body. But make sure that you always have enough lighting to prevent you from crocheting in a strained or slouched position.
Your arms from the shoulders down to your elbows should be parallel to your body, and your wrists should be aligned with your forearms.
You can support your arms and elbows, but it is not as important as your sitting position.
As hard as it may be once you should take frequent breaks. Ideally you
should aim for a short 10 minute break every hour or so. This is enough
to help your muscles relax and keep them from cramping up.
During your break drink plenty of water, or eat some fruits or veggies to help keep you energized.
Take a short trip outside to enjoy the fresh air at your front door, the patio or a balcony if you live in an apartment. Fresh air is essential for the muscles to function properly, and will help to relax you.
You can also take these 10 minutes to meditate or do simple exercises. Close your eyes and sit up straight on the floor, with your legs crossed and your palms outstretched on your knees and listen to relaxation music. It is amazing what this will do for you. Just don't meditate on your crocheting as you might not last through the 10 minutes of meditating.
If your back is sore your may want to lay down flat on the back on a flat surface for about 10 minutes to help relieve the muscles.
Exercises to Help Prevent Injury While Crocheting
There are many little things which you can do to help your fingers,
wrists and your whole body remain relaxed throughout your crocheting
Put your fingertips together of both hands and gently push them together for a nice finger stretch.
Another thing you can do to stretch your fingers is to place them at the edge of a table and then lean forward slightly to give them a stretch. You want to do one finger at a time on each hand for best results.
A stress ball is great to help you to strengthen your fingers and can usually be purchased at a cheap price.
With both hands reach up as high as you can with all your fingers stretched out and reaching as far as they can. You can also do this at your sides or at the front and reach as far as you can. You should also rotate your wrists in both directions.
Shrug your shoulders up and down and rotate them in circles to the front and back. Turning your head from side to side and rolling it will help to get the tension out of the muscles.
What To Do If Injury Occurs
At the first sign of stiffness, tingling, swelling or any kind of pain
you should stop immediately to prevent further injury. If the symptoms
persists in any part of your body you should seek advice from a
professional to help your body restore itself.
Whatever you do, do not take painkillers and continue crocheting as this will only injure you further. Painkillers do not target the root, they only numb the pain. You need to target the root of the problem if you want to heal properly.
You may be prescribed pain killers by a medical professional, and if so, take them as prescribed, but do not crochet until you stop taken them, as you may feel fine when you are not fine.
You should also eat a healthy diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables to help you to give your body the most vitamins and minerals so it can heal itself.
Last but not least, you may want to consider taking on another hobby just to prevent to much repetition. Knitting, embroidery and cross-stitching are all very relaxing hobbies and can be almost as fun as crocheting.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
Mary Ann on December 10, 2016:
Thank you for your info especially on the neck love to crochet but the neck always seems to bother me I will be trying what you have suggested on rolling the shoulders and head maybe I can finish the one little project I have planned Thanks so much
T Marie on December 20, 2015:
Last January I had reconstructive surgery on my thumb and was in a cast for 7 weeks (not due to crocheting injury). I couldn't stand being idle and not crocheting so I bought a long crochet hook and held it in my armpit and used my uncasted fingers and good hand to work the yarn. I had to break often but at least I could crochet. Thank you for the tips.
Ayme on September 26, 2015:
When cutting with scissors, make sure they do not slip past the knuckle on your thumb. I used to always use scissors that way. Then, I cut one day and the pressure from my thumb on the ring of the handle severed my nerve running on the inside edge of my thumb. I have no feeling on that side or the entire tip of my thumb.
Helena Reimer (author) on November 11, 2012:
Hi Crystal, Glad you found a way to deal with your pain. It's hard when you have to put your work down due to pain, but it's good when it goes away. Glad you found these helpful.
Crystal Pope on November 10, 2012:
hi, I love to crochet and I saw this pinned on pinterest and completely agree lol while crocheting, my neck, back, shoulders and right wrist hurts like crazy and every once in a while it gets to where i cant even move my right arm cause there is so much pain, so i take a tylenol and stop crocheting for a day or so and feel much better, but whish i didn't have to experience that pain, but thank you for the tips, they really do help! :)
Helena Reimer (author) on October 04, 2010:
RTalloni, You are welcome. Happy Crocheting!
RTalloni on September 26, 2010:
Excellent tips with info that is well-written. Thanks for giving me a heads up on some things I had not thought of!
Helena Reimer (author) on September 26, 2010:
Davake, You are right, and you don't want to get hurt on your hobby...that just takes the fun out of it.
Thanks for stopping by!
davake on September 15, 2010:
This is a really good hub. It is something you do not think of, but all injuries are caused by doing things in an inappropriate way. Awareness makes for a safer hobbies.
crochet48 from Southern New Mexico on June 10, 2010:
Konrel, really good take on crochet and preventing repetitive stress injury. Thank you.
Helena Reimer (author) on April 03, 2010:
konrel, thank you for reading and commenting!
konrel on April 03, 2010:
Thanks for all these crochet tips, they are very helpful. This is great advice.