If you have been crafting or crocheting for any period of time you may notice your hands, thumb, or wrist begin to get sore or achy after use. The repetitive movements especially done in an awkward hand or wrist position can put pressure through the joints and stress the joints.
Crocheting can be a fun and rewarding hobby, so it’s important to maintain good hand strength, posture, and hand function to continue to be able to participate.
Here are 5 ways to prevent hand and wrist pain while crocheting:
1.) Focus on wrist and hand position
Take a look at your wrist as you are crocheting. The wrist should be in a neutral position, meaning that it is not bent forward or backwards.
If it is too far in one direction, this could put pressure on the muscles on either the front or back or the forearm and unwanted stress on those muscles.
By keeping the wrist into a neutral position, you are not stressing the forearm muscles while you work. If you are looking at your wrist while you are crocheting and you are having a hard time keeping it in the neutral position, try wearing a neutral wrist splint, like this wrist support, for an added external support.
2.) Try ergonomic crochet hooks. These hooks are designed to reduce strain on your hands and wrists by providing a comfortable grip and reducing the amount of wrist movement required.
These also have a wider handle than traditional hooks. The wider handle minimizes the force that your fingers have to use to hold onto the hook which can also reduce strain on the finger.
Here are some ergonomic crochet hooks to try:
3.) Wear a thumb brace, support, or compression glove.
Thumb Brace: If you are feeling achiness in the base of the thumb, especially with pinching or pulling while crocheting, you may benefit from a thumb brace or support.
One way to determine if a thumb brace is going to be beneficial for you is to first try a low-profile support like using kinesiotape or athletic tape as a trial. If you feel some support or benefit from the tape, usually a more supportive brace will also be beneficial.
For the thumb brace, the most recommended is the push metagrip since it applies good pressure to the thumb’s CMC joint and helps to stabilize the base of the hand. One downfall of the push metagrip, is a support like this can be quite costly (about $100), especially if you are only looking to trial a support for your hand.
If you are looking to try a support and want something less expensive try this reversible neoprene support. It can be helpful because it can be used on either hand so if one day you feel like your one hand is bothering you more than the other you can alternate between the two hands. It also runs for a lot less expensive than the Push Metagrip, about $15.
One thing to note about the reversible neoprene support is that it doesn’t allow the tip of the thumb to move unlike the push metagrip which may inhibit some thumb movement necessary for crocheting.
For more detailed information on choosing the right thumb support read What is the Best Thumb Support for My Arthritis?
For the kinesiotape and athletic tape as a lower profile type of support, you can find them at your local pharmacy or even on Amazon. And how to apply it you can find them here on our Instagram or here.
Support: After you are done crocheting, take notice of what joint and body part is bothering you the most. This is often indicative of the joint that needs the most attention. If you find that the wrist is sore you may benefit from wrist support, this also helps keep the wrist in a neutral position.
Compression gloves are a great option to help provide gentle compression to the hand. This can help circulate blood flow, keep the hands warm, and help to decrease hand swelling. A good option of compression gloves is from a brand called Grace and Able, linked here.
4.) Plan your crocheting time. If you have a big piece you are working on here are some way to plan ahead.
- Do hand stretches before you get started
- Take breaks throughout the task
- Setting a timer for overall time
Some simple stretches can be beneficial to get the hand warmed up before you begin to use them. Here are some simple hand stretches to get started:
- Wrist Bend Back: Use one hand and gently pull back on the back of the hand to stretch out the forearm. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 3 times.
- Wrist Bend Foreward: Use one hand and gently pull back on the palm of the hand to stretch out the forearm. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 3 times
- Finger Spreads: Place the hand flat on a tabletop or surface. Spread all the fingers out as far as you can and then bring back together. Repeat 10 times.
- Thumb Stretch: Place the hand in front of you with the palm facing up. Using the other hand, gently grasp the thumb and pull down straight down to stretch out the “meaty” portion of the thumb. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 3 times.
Plan breaks during your crochet session every 20-30 minutes so you have some scheduled down time, this helps to reduce hand and wrist pain. Each break doesn’t have to be long but enough to let the hands rest for a few minutes.
Just a few minutes can help you reset before getting back to crocheting. During these breaks you can complete additional stretches, exercises, or simply just allow the hand to rest for that time.
Set a timer before you get started. Set your timer for 20-30 minute increments to help keep you on track for your breaks. This can also be beneficial for overall time to help you not overdo it.
5.) Complete hand exercises. It is beneficial to incorporate a hand exercise routine, this helps to strengthen those small muscles within the hand and support the joints that are used so frequently when crocheting.
See our 7 Daily Hand Exercises for Arthritis (exercises still apply for healthy hands) for exercise ideas.
- Make a fist
- Make a “C”
- Fingertip taps
- Thumb Bends
- Finger Spreads
- Wrist Bend Down
- Wrist Bend up
If you’ve tried all of these recommendations and you are still having hand or wrist pain while crocheting, you may benefit from meeting with an occupational therapists who can help plan a more personalized care plan for your hands.
To get started, download the Reactiv app and get connected with an occupational therapist.