View Full Version : My knitting career is ending before it even started!

01-02-2011, 02:25 PM
Hi all

I just started knitting about 5 days ago and i'm addicted to it. I managed to learn the knit stitch and purl stitch pretty good and it's no longer super tight like the first few days. I was so happy yesterday because i finally knitted a few rows without mistakes.

The problem is i've been having pain in the upper part of my right wrist from the 3rd day on. Yesterday it got pretty bad and i had to stop because it even got a bit swollen. My mom says it's because i'm tense and doing extra movements that are unnecessary.

I've been trying to learn the continental method because i'm pretty sure the throwing of the yarn with my right hand is what is causing it. it's pretty hard for me though. I think i should stop for a few days to let the swelling go down but that is making me so sad. Has anyone bee through this before??

Jan in CA
01-02-2011, 02:31 PM
I agree with your mom. Knitting can be very relaxing, but it takes practice to get there.

Definitely let your hand/wrist rest for a few days, but when you start up again try different methods. If you find purling hard in continental you can try combined knitting. If you're using straight needles you might try circular needles. I find straights hurt my hands more so circs are all I use now. Make sure you take breaks and let your hands rest, too.

01-02-2011, 04:06 PM
You're also building up muscles that you haven't used this way before. Give it a bit of a rest and then make sure you stretch and shake out your hands during long knitting sessions.

01-02-2011, 06:59 PM
I'm a fairly new knitter and the first couple weeks my hands were quite sore especially the very first week. I would take an Ibuprofen or Aleeve and only knit for short periods of time maybe 2-3 a day/night. Now, I have no soreness or pain unless I'm knitting a really small gauge or using dpns because I knit so tightly on them. Keep practicing, your muscles should adjust.

01-02-2011, 10:09 PM
thank you all for your replies. I knitted one row today and the pain came back so i've decided to stop for at least 2-3 days. I will also try the circular needles because i'm pretty sure my mom has some.

01-03-2011, 03:17 PM
I too get pains in my hands, wrists, sometimes even in the elbow...so I did learn a few different knitting methods, and I vary my movements. Sometimes I have to take a rest for a few days, or even a few weeks. It's still worth it - don't give up knitting, just take it easier.
Any repetitive movements can bring pain to many of us.

01-03-2011, 06:01 PM
I would take a break for a few days, definitely. When you do start knitting again, I would take frequent breaks when you start to hurt. I have the same problems, my wrists get to hurting, or my fingers get sore. Just take a break and come post on here. Then after you're feeling a bit better, go back to knitting. :)

01-03-2011, 06:13 PM
Definitely take it slow when you start out. I developed a trigger thumb when I started knitting and was so afraid it would not calm down. It did but I had to just take it easy for a while. If you just take more frequent breaks and also try to relax when knitting it shhould help. I would find I was tense in my shoulders and arms and that make them ache too. Hope it works out for you!

01-03-2011, 07:46 PM
I have been knitting for a while but recently started knitting a pair of socks and had quite a bit of pain with that, I think because I was more tense (knitting two socks at a time on two circular needles) and because the yarn was a much finer yarn than what I am used to.

it has settled though I'm also alternating with another project!

01-03-2011, 10:37 PM
Before you start knitting , take some pain relieving over the counter med so it will help relieve your pain as you knit.

01-03-2011, 10:54 PM
A knitting nurse told me to stop about twice an hour to "pray" - put your palms together, fingers pointing up, elbows bent and sticking out, thumbs to your chest, to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. I also like to warm my hands under a heated rice bag to relax them during a long session. Taking many short breaks will keep you from having to take days or weeks off to recover. Ask me how I know this!

01-04-2011, 10:43 AM
You may have carpal tunnel syndrome. If it continues, you may want to consult your doctor I use a brace when knitting and it helps. You can purchase one at Walgreens or any other drugstore.

01-04-2011, 11:19 AM
You may have carpal tunnel syndrome. If it continues, you may want to consult your doctor I use a brace when knitting and it helps. You can purchase one at Walgreens or any other drugstore.
That's a really good idea. I have carpal tunnel syndrome, and I bet that would help a lot with my knitting. I'll have to check into that. Thanks!! :yay:

01-04-2011, 05:24 PM
Hi! :waving:

Here's a wonderful video on continental that I learned from and I LOVE it. It helped me get the motions right and how to wrap the yarn correctly so that I could knit smoothly with little to no stress. As a result I've also speeded up but the important thing is that I rarely have knitting-related stress pains anymore! Hope this helps...


Ruthie :hug:

01-05-2011, 08:45 AM
Also, the materials you work with can affect how your hands feel. Some things are easier on your hands than others. Needles play a huge role in this. I find bamboo and wood easier on my hands and there's also needles specifically designed for people with hand problems (arthritis, etc.). If you're knitting and your hands start feeling tired, you can wear some Hand-eze gloves for a bit and knit a little more. Other than that, it's just getting used to a new movement, building up muscles, etc. It takes time... won't be forever but it'll be annoying until you get there. You can also try knitting with large needles until your hands, wrists, lower arms get used to it.

01-05-2011, 09:16 AM
I have daily pain all over my body, and have learned that I must slow down everything a little. I mean, I CAN move quicker, but it causes pain. So, I just pace myself.

The same issue is true with my hands, wrists, fingers, arms, and shoulders. I knit every day, and sometimes switch to crochet. (I am an organist and pianist as well.) The only way I can keep it up is because I take it SLOW. I COULD knit faster, but I will pay the price later. So, just like I said before, I pace myself.

I knit in the English style, because Continental knitting is too painful for me. (The pain is worse on my left side.) I just make smooth motions, and don't hold the yarn too tight. I have to remind myself to slow down, and let the yarn flow. And switching to different projects keeps me from using exactly the same muscles all the time.

Everyone is different. So, as others said before, just try different methods. I've heard that Portugese knitting is good for knitters with pain. Good luck with your pain issues! :heart:

01-07-2011, 12:57 AM
I actually had that problem when I started working at Baskin Robbins lol. You're building muscle, which means that you're ripping your muscles apart, and then they're healing. It's a natural process.

So, give it a couple days rest, maybe soak it in some hot water. Also, drink extra water to flush out the lactic acid that your muscles are releasing...if you don't flush it out, your muscles will ache even more than they should.

Then, when they feel better, have at it again! When they start to get sore stop for a while, let them heal, and then do it again.....eventually your muscles will build up and you won't ever need to stop.

01-07-2011, 08:42 AM
Iconoclast said something VERY important here... DRINK WATER! Water is very good for you... you're 75% water as it is and throughout the day, you lose some, so replenish that! Also, drinking water will flush out things that your body creates or that you eat that's not great for you. If you drink caffeine drinks, you're dehydrating yourself. To get yourself back up to having drank zero glasses of water a day from caffeinated beverages, you must match the amount you drank with water, then you have to drink more to make sure you replace the water you lost in the day. The doctor I went to yesterday mentioned to EVERYONE there that if you don't drink enough water, your muscles will hurt. I always drink a lot of water... it's my #1 choice of drink, really...

01-07-2011, 10:34 AM
knitters are different. There is no doubt.
I knit continental style and with very efficient motion, as I believe. Therefore I am fast and hardly ever suffer anything from it- Well, a light notch in my index finger on long sessions with sock yarn.

You may just have to settle into the right habits. No matter which method you use: practice will help to make your motions more efficient and less taxing.

You know: most people walk, but no one believes to run a marathon with in a week of starting up. It is normal that you would hurt from that.
You have never knit before and therefore your arms do have muscles and they learn how to move but you really have not built up any endurance yet.

And: I only work with circular needles (or dpn for in the round). I do not use straight needles.
My grandmother almost had to stop knitting because of pain in her arms and shoulders (after many years of knitting, not as a newbie). She then switched from straight to circs and was fine for many years more.
Cirs are just shorter and therefore do not act as a lever so much.

Afterthought: what yarn are you working with? Ridgid cotton like for pot holders makes me ake really bad - and I usually have no problems. It just has no give.

01-07-2011, 05:18 PM
I'm so sorry :( and I feel your pain. Except mine was from my wrist to my elbow. I couldn't even hold a cup. Turns out I had knitters/tennis elbow and haven't been able to knit for well over a year. But I'm going to give it another try.

01-08-2011, 08:48 AM
I wear magnetic bracelets on both wrists to circumvent repetitve motion problems. Magnetics help with circulation. If you have access to any mag bracelets, give them a try!

01-08-2011, 04:42 PM
I wear magnetic bracelets on both wrists to circumvent repetitve motion problems. Magnetics help with circulation. If you have access to any mag bracelets, give them a try!
hmmmmm, that's a really great idea! I'll have to give them a try!! :)

01-11-2011, 02:20 AM
Thank you all for your helpful comments. I thought I would update this thread. I stopped knitting for about 4 days and just did my cross stitch stuff.

I started up again around 3 days ago and I'm having less and less pain. I almost mastered the continental style and this has helped a lot. As soon as I feel pain i stop and rest for a while until it's gone.

I'm almost a third of the way on my first scarf and it's coming along very nicely. I'm so excited to finish my first project but i I will not rush it i promise.

Lisa R.
01-11-2011, 10:22 AM
I haven't read the entire thread, so I'm sorry if I'm repeating. You might google "tendonitis" and look for some stretches and massage techniques.

Several of us in my family struggle with this, some from playing musical instruments, and me from knitting. It's also known as "tennis elbow," so you can google that as well.

Once you are healed, you should learn to be aware of your movements and tension levels so you don't aggravate the situation. If you're going to be knitting for long periods of time, try wearing a tennis elbow support (found at most pharmacies, Wal-mart, grocery stores, etc). Be sure to take lots of stretching breaks when knitting, so your muscles have a chance to relax.

It's a repetitive motion injury, so taking a break from the repetition can help a lot.

01-11-2011, 10:48 AM
You might want to try the knitting gloves that are available at craft stores. I have a pair & find they are helpful. I tend to get more pain next to my left shoulder blade. I'm a Continental knitter & the twisting of my wrist affects that muscle in my back. Don't know what I can do about that other than rest. Try the gloves.