Self care for knitters

Knitting injuries are real! 

Take care of yourself. Knit mindfully. 

While knitting is usually low-impact and relaxing, knitters are at real risk for repetitive stress injuries. Prevention is key. In addition to sitting ergonomically (check out Knitting Comfortably - The Ergonomics of Handknitting by Carson Demers for in-depth info), simple stretches and habits are essential.

A great habit to get into is to warm up your hands and wrists before you even start knitting. I like to alternate between pretending I'm palming a basketball by stretching my fingers out as wide as I can several times and then making fists, and then I roll my wrists all around, generally until they’re not crackling as much! 

Be sure to take frequent breaks. Get up after every few rows, or set a timer for 15-20 min, walk around, stretch your neck, shoulders & chest, stretch your hands and fingers using the stretches I describe below, and roll your wrists.

Try extending your arm straight out in front of you, palm out, fingers up, kind of like your saying "Halt!". Now, with your other hand, pull your fingers towards your face - don't forget your thumb! Feel that stretch all through your fingers, wrist, and forearm.

Next, bend your wrist so your fingertips are point down. Place your other hand against the outside of that bent hand and gently pull. Try to aim your inner elbow up to the ceiling and feel a nice stretch from your wrist to your elbow.

For the next stretch, flip your hand so your palm is facing up and using the other hand pull your fingers back towards you again. Don't leave that thumb behind! Repeat these three stretches with the other hand. Finally, make prayer hands at your chest and push your palms together, then rotate your hands slowly so the finger tips rotate away from you and towards the ground feeling a nice stretch in your wrist.

My favorite tools to use are The Stick to aid in rolling out the forearm muscles, acupressure rings to release the fingers and finger joints, and a lacrosse ball (or wine cork) to roll out my palms. All of these can be found inexpensively on Amazon, and all of these I use when I’m done, especially if it’s been a long knitting session, even if I’ve been diligent about breaks!

I’m also a big believer in the efficacy of quality essential oils and quality CBD. I make an Aches & Pains salve kind of like a natural ,better-smelling BenGay. I’d be happy to share my recipe and/or types of oils that I use, if you’re interested. Just leave a comment below and let me know. Comfort+ is an amazing CBD salve. The “+” is key. It’s not inexpensive but it really works. I rub it into my hands and forearms before bed and when I wake up my hands don’t feel swollen and arthritic like they do if I don’t use it. I get mine from (a women owned business in SF) in Northern California but there are other vendors of it, I’m sure. Also, I am not being paid to endorse any of these items. These are simply the things I use!

Another thing you can do if your forearms are really fired up is something I learned doing circus arts. When you're hanging from a fabric or trapeze bar by just your hands, your grip muscles get worked! Get onto the ground on your knees. Lay your arm down on the ground in front of you with your palm up. Use your knee to squish your forearm and knead out those overworked muscles. My pointy elbow bone works great to get in between my finger pads, too.

What do you do to keep yourself knitting fit?

Happy & Healthy Knitting!


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