View Full Version : Shoulder and Elbow pain - Help!

01-27-2011, 11:53 AM
I was wondering, has anybody dealt with or is having shoulder/elbow pain from knitting too much? How are/were you able to cope with it or get rid of the pain without stopping knitting?
Just recently I started having pretty bad pain in the front of my right shoulder and then it moved into my elbow. I've been knitting for 16 years and have never had this kind of pain before. I spend about 4+ hours a day knitting socks, stuffed animals and baby things...
I'm curious if anyone has any home remedies, or have any suggestions as to what's going on?! :shrug:


~Emily in VA

01-27-2011, 12:02 PM
You need to take some breaks, get up move around, do shoulder and neck rolls, stretch out your arms etc. Muscles get contracted when you sit in the same position for too long, they need to be stretched out. A massage, even a chair massage, will help a lot too.

01-27-2011, 12:22 PM
I definitely agree that you should try to take some breaks and stretch whenever you can. For the time being, I would try not to knit for extended periods at a time .... taking frequent breaks will help avoid additional aggravation .... and be sure to stretch out the affected muscles before/after. If it gets worse, you may need to take a break from knitting for a few days or so. If the issue doesn't resolve itself even after you've stopped knitting for a period of time, it might be worth consulting your medical provider to see if there is an issue (such as those mentioned below, for example) that could be addressed medically.

Knitting, like a lot of other things, can cause repetitive motion injuries .... for example, things like carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, etc. Most of these things will resolve themselves if you take it easy on the affected area until it heals and avoid aggravating it further, however, severe carpal tunnel syndrome may eventually require surgery in some cases in order to provide relief.

Best of Luck! :knitting:

01-27-2011, 01:57 PM
I guess I'll be taking it easy for awhile... Thanks for the pointers.
Hopefully I won't go crazy with not being able to knit!
I've been trying to finish my Christmas socks and I'm just. so. close. to finishing them... Oh well.
Looks like I'll be doing my sewing instead - although it's not as fun and relaxing as knitting (aside from the pain).


01-27-2011, 04:16 PM
Yep, pain is your body's way of letting you know something's wrong. You can take meds for it, but you risk doing worse damage if you continue doing the same thing.

01-28-2011, 06:32 PM
Emily, You mentioned not having "THIS KIND OF PAIN" before. Did you have other kinds of pain previously? This "recent pain" came on suddenly - overnight - or gradually?

Your pain began in your shoulder and went to your elbow? Does that mean you don't have the shoulder pain, just elbow pain or do you have both?

I'm only asking because sometimes things happen that don't have anything to do with knitting, but knitting exascerbates the problem.

Things like an unexpected snow with shoveling to do, a baby or toddler that's getting a little heavy to manage. Those little munchkins can be a pain in so many ways.

You ever whack your head on an open cabinet door and the next day think, "Why do I have a headache?" Cant' remember that whack and the ache is a mystery. Stuff like that can be forgotten and muddle everything except the pain. Most of these pains are transient.

Certainly, you may have a problem that requires medical attention. I don't give medical advice . . . other than to find a really, really good hypochondriac. They're up on everything and can cover much more than the average "primary care physician" who is so involved with insurance paper work that they hardly have time to treat or advise patients.

The problem with pain is, it needs some rest and then exercise and I certainly don't know which is better at what time for you
Sincerely, Jean

01-31-2011, 01:30 PM
I have no way of knowing your age. Since you have been knitting for years without pain and are now starting to experience it, is it possible that the knitting is making the beginnings of arthritis to show up? I am 53 and prolonged knitting makes mine start to ache. It isn't severe, but it can be a constant pain at times.

02-02-2011, 12:30 PM
Did you have other kinds of pain previously? This "recent pain" came on suddenly - overnight - or gradually?

Does that mean you don't have the shoulder pain, just elbow pain or do you have both?

I have a rotator cuff injury in my left shoulder. So when I said it was a different, the pain I'm feeling in my right shoulder is not like my rotator cuff injury. The pain came on gradually. It started with it being uncomfortable to knit - but I just ignored it and kept knitting. Then one day I started having a burning sensation in my shoulder and then pain. It then started to move into my elbow and now I have a burning/stinging pain in both my shoulder and through my arm to my elbow.

The day that I posted this thread, I went and sewed me a rice neck warmer that drapes over my shoulders. When the pain starts to come on I go and warm up my rice pack and do some stretches while it's warming up and then rest awhile. It seems to help a lot! Now I guess I have to learn my limits in knitting.
I'm also going to make an appointment with a DO Dr. They tend to treat the whole body, not just the symptoms.

I don't have any children, but I do spend a lot of time sitting in front of the computer knitting. So other than regular house chores, I have it pretty easy. My husband is the bread winner of the house and let's me stay home with our Zoey girl (Italian Greyhound/Jack Russel mix).

I've almost finished my Christmas socks! Yay! I only have the toes to do.

I have no way of knowing your age. Since you have been knitting for years without pain and are now starting to experience it, is it possible that the knitting is making the beginnings of arthritis to show up?

Lighting57 - I just turned 23, January 13th. So I guess I'm still pretty young. However I do have poor circulation and tend to get stiff fingers when I'm cold - which is like all the time. My feet are cold almost all the time too, hence the sock making :-)

Happy knitting! :muah:

02-02-2011, 03:26 PM
Dear T.K. Yes, sweetie, you're "pretty young". I've got a ganglion in my hand that's older than you!

It's a shame you're having so much pain at your age. Don't tell me . . . you're athletic and have played some sports at some time. My guess would be baseball or tennis. Those rotator cuff injuries don't come easy. One has to work at those. You didn't say how long you've had that injury.

I've said I don't give medical advice and I won't, although I've had lots of experience with injuries and can surely guess as well as any M.D.

Depending how recent - Oh c'mon, you haven't lived long enough for anything not to be relatively recent - that cuff injury was, it could be that you have been favoring that side just like a poor guy with a sprained ankle gets a back out of alignment from walking funny and has pain.

Either way I know I'd bet, the Dr. will say it's an "itis" of some sort. Bursitis in your shoulder, with possible referral to your elbow or tendonitis or both.

As for the cold, stiff feeling in your extremities - Hey, I'm a pro at that! Look up Reynaud's Syndrome. I've had it always and couldn't understand why my little friends and siblings could play in the snow forever and not have lots of pain and stiffness. I have problems handling cold or frozen meats and foods when I prepare a meal. Sound familiar?

The rice filled, heated gizmo is good. Also, you might like to knit some fingerless gloves that you can wear even while knitting. Think of them as socks for your hands.
P.S. I've trained and handled dogs and people with their dogs for many, many years and I'd love to see a picture of your Zoey girl. I've handled both of those breeds but that's one interesting mix I've never seen.

02-02-2011, 03:29 PM
Another P.S. When I write and get interruptions the time seems to run out and I have problems continuing my note. I always copy my reply so I can just paste it if I lose it. Why not?

02-02-2011, 03:52 PM
You're right about playing sports - kinda.
When I was a little girl I did soccer, karate and archery. Then when I turned 8 I started Ballet and did ballet up until I moved here to VA 3 years ago. I still dance at church, but lately my shoulder pains have been preventing me from dancing. I've injured myself quite a bit in ballet classes - between a fractured left ankle, sprained right ankle, back issues and many hours of pointe, I'm not new to injuries. Just knitting injuries, lol!
The rotator cuff injury I got while working out when I was 13. I lifted weights that were to heavy for me and since then I have to be careful about how heavy my shoulder bag is, or just wear a messenger bag. A month ago I had to wear a sling for a few weeks because it hurt for my shoulder to hang - which of course made house work and knitting VERY difficult.
As to the cold hands, yes I have a hard time working with cold foods. It's like my fingers get so stiff I can hardly bend them! Bleh.
I may have to mention that to my Dr.

I'll find a picture of our Zoey girl and post it here for you :-)

Thanks for the tips and I guess after I'm done with my socks, I'll make a matching pair of fingerless gloves :-) Yay! I can't wait!

02-02-2011, 04:08 PM
Zoey is the only dog I've ever seen smile. It's hard to get a picture of her smiling, but you can just whisper in her ear and she smiles. She loves stretching over hubby and I in the mornings, we call her staple. 'cause she 'staples' us together :-) hehe.
I make her dog food. But she insists that I or hubby sit with her to eat, and while she's eating she HAS to play with her ball too! Throw the ball, comes back eats a little... waits for the ball to be thrown again... throws the ball, goes gets it... eats a little more... It's taken her 30 minutes before for her to eat her food! Silly dog.
The Jack Russel in her comes out when she plays with her ball and she has the sweetness of a greyhound.

02-02-2011, 05:45 PM
Emily, Yes, I know how sweet greyhounds are and how feisty and domineering Jack Russell's can be.

By all means mention Reynaud's Syndrome to your Dr. I mentioned to mine my trapezius was very painful to me and then he found out I knew the difference between a tongue depressor and an oximeter. Oh my! Now he thinks I'm gifted!
Good Luck, Jean