Pain-free Knitting to Avoid Strains and Injuries

If you’re an avid knitter, you may have experienced strain in your hands, wrists, neck or upper back from being in the same position for an extended time. Like sewing and typing, knitting is a repetitive motion activity that can lead to strains and injuries. In some cases, you can even end up with carpal tunnel syndrome, if you don’t grip and position your wrists properly.

Tips and Techniques for Pain-free Knitting

1. Take frequent breaks
The most important thing you can do to prevent injury is to take frequent, regular breaks. Change your body’s position and look up often from your work and into the distance.

When you get immersed in a project, taking a break can be difficult.  If you aren’t good at taking breaks, consider setting a timer to remind yourself.

2. Sit up straight
Sit in a comfortable but supportive chair. Put your feet on the floor and try not to hunch over. Try to use your stomach muscles when you adjust your posture. Consider placing a small cushion, rolled-up towel or sweater between your chair and the curve in the small of your lower back to help you sit up straight. 

3. Choose your tools carefully
Consider using smooth, lightweight needles. Circular needles are best for large projects. When crocheting, use ergonomic hooks.

4. Switch it up
Learn to easily switch between English and Continental knitting styles. Switching helps you keep knitting while reducing the risk of a repetitive strain injury (RSI).

5. Stretch
Stand up and move around but also stretch your fingers every once in a while. To stretch your fingers, clench your hands and then spread your fingers as far as you can. If you notice tension in your neck or shoulders, consider trying a couple of neck stretches too.

6. Make small, efficient movements
Practice how small you can make your movements and keep the working yarn close to the tip of your needles.

Grasp your yarn gently. A consistently relaxed grip helps you keep a constant gauge while reducing unnecessary strain on your neck, shoulders and wrists.

Don’t ignore any pain or stiffness you experience from knitting. Knitting should be fun and relaxing but make sure it’s adding to your well-being, not causing you strains or injuries. Visit a chiropractor, if you experience continuous pain and discomfort from knitting.

To find a chiropractor near you, use the chiropractor locator on our website. In Ontario, you can visit a chiropractor without a referral from a medical doctor, nurse practitioner or other health care professional.