I think the recently injured Trudy had injuries on the mind because she came up with the question of the month: “Have you ever injured yourself knitting – and how do you avoid injury?” I added: Do you find certain types of knitting (or crocheting)/weight of yarn/size needles hurt your hands more than others?
Despite my usual clumsy demeanor (I swear it has to do with my height), I actually haven’t had the “joy” of injuring myself in this manner yet. Do I occasionally have a project that cramps my hands? Yes. The worst was a hat, knit in a DK-weight tweedy yarn, on fairly small needles. I switched needles three times on the project and only forced myself to finish it after it sat languishing for, yes, years in my WIPs. (The answer, in the end, was fairly sharp metal needles, which also happen to be my go-to needles these days.) But, obviously, this was a project-based problem. The kicker is I actually wear this hat a lot and kind of love it now.
So, where do the rest of the yarnistas stand? Read on…
Where to start?
I think I developed tennis elbow several years ago – from knitting.
I had rotator cuff problems – from knitting.
I developed lower back pain from sitting in my chair with my legs propped up on a footstool – while knitting.
Physical therapy helped all those injuries.
I also ended up with holes in my fingertips from knitting with sharp pointy needles and sometimes cracks in my fingers but that’s probably from the winter weather.
Bigger needles and thicker yarn really do a number on me, that’s why I’m always happier knitting with fingering weight yarn.
To avoid injury now I make sure to sit with my back, hips and knees at right angles. I do arm raises to keep my shoulders in order and stretch my hands. I keep putting cream on my fingers and also try to stay hydrated (to avoid dry skin).
I was sitting in an ortho’s office about 10 years ago knitting while I waited for him to come in the door. I had my purse sitting next to me. He walked in, glanced at my chart, asked if I was back to see him for neck and shoulder pain. I said yes. He glanced above his glasses at me and said, “How much do you do that?” I replied, “Whenever I’m not doing something else.”
Then he glanced at my giant hand bag. He asked if that was what I always carried around on my shoulder. I said, “Yes, I have to tote my knitting.”
He wrote me a prescription for 4 weeks of PT and told me to get rid of the hand bag and stop knitting so much.
I haven’t done either.
I haven’t had an issues quite that extreme, but I definitely have my share of stiff posture. I know I need to take a break when I roll my shoulder and hear popping (that, or I’m getting older).
My hands definitely have opinions about what they like. I’ll switch between wood and metal needles for fingering through aran weights, but anything heavier/larger has to be on wood. I appreciate the quick gratification of knitting with bulky yarns, but I don’t knit on anything larger than a US 10 unless it’s wood. Even then there’s a good chance that I’ll abandon the project for something easier to handle.
You know, I actually haven’t really hurt myself from knitting or crochet. Sometimes, I get a little stiff or sore but it’s normally quick to fix with a little stretching. I do have a tendinitis problem in my wrist (from before I started knitting!) so it can bother me a bit if I’ve been knitting a lot. I have also been known to stab myself with particularly sharp needles but I’ve only drawn blood once or twice. I also am allergic to several types of metal, so, sometimes my metal needles can make my fingertips tingle but it’s not a big deal at all. I just take a break and then I’m on my way!
As far as avoiding problems, cotton does bother my wrists a bit so I don’t often knit big, cotton things. If I do, I switch off between that and a wool project. I also tend to use wooden needles to prevent the whole tingly fingertip thing. Other than that, I’m normally pretty good to go!
Much like Nicole, I haven’t (yet, knock on wood) caused myself any serious damage from knitting. However, I have some scar tissue in my neck and shoulder from a youthful encounter (read: pedestrian vs. car) that means I have to make sure that I don’t cause it to flare up through too much repetitive motion.
Much like Trudy, I have some PT stretches that I do to help me stay flexible. And, quite frankly, sometimes I just have to put my knitting down for a couple days. I also will admit to having poked my finger with a pointy DPN or two – but what takes the cake was the time I accidentally snipped my nail and cuticle with my trimming scissors. Nothing a Band-Aid couldn’t take care of though. 😉