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Old 10-27-2007, 09:35 PM   #1
pointy_teeth
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Pain when knitting
I knit English. When I knit, I sort of make like a Peace sign with the index and middle fingers and they hold the tip of the needle with the thumb while the ring and pinkie finger on my left hand hold the needle to keep stitches from slipping. Does that make sense?

Well basically, when I've been knitting for a while, my hand starts hurting, specially the ring finger part on the back of my hand. I wonder if anyone else has this problem or any other hand problems? What do you do to relieve the pain? Has anyone used those Handeze gloves? Do they work?
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Old 10-27-2007, 10:38 PM   #2
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I get pain in the same place if I knit too long with a specific needle size. My ring and pinkie fingers curl around the needle and that puts a strain on the tendons. I always thought it was because I'd sprained that wrist years ago when I was a kid. But what helps is to stretch out those fingers by pulling back on them gently toward the wrist, both separately and together. Also, massage the area on the back of the hand from the wrist to the knuckles. take breaks and shake out your hands.
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Old 10-27-2007, 11:15 PM   #3
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I get pain in the big knuckle on my left pinkie finger. Been broke too many times I guess.

Take frequent breaks to rest everything and do lots of stretching. I had someone comment tonight that I have a very regular knitting cycle. I knit for about five minutes, take a break for a couple of minutes, and then start again. It really reduces the chance of pain problems.
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Old 10-28-2007, 12:10 AM   #4
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Funny!! I have been "icing" my wrist and heel area of my hand for 2 hours...that helps..(plus 2 advil or other anti inflammatory.. I think I want to learn how to knit continental so I can be "diversified" in case my right hand gives me more problems... I am kinda worried I am getting carpul tunnel..what would I do with all my stash.. and needles??????????
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Old 10-28-2007, 12:54 PM   #5
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I get wrist pain sometimes, and there was a tip in this thread that I found rather useful in helping alleviate the pain. I agree with what everyone else has said, too, to take breaks and stretch and use an anti-inflammatory to help.

Edited To Add: Suzeeq's post made me remember something else that's caused my pain in the past, too. She's right that pain can also be caused by the way you are holding your needles, too, but I've personally noticed what type of needle I use can make a big difference in whether or not I have pain. I've noticed that when I use circular needles that angle after the needle joins the cord, I hold them differently than I do circular needles that are completely straight after the needle joins the cord, and the way I hold the angled ones is hard on the tendons in my wrist. I've learned to do knit stitches continental, but I also find that you have to move the right hand a bit to pick the yarn on the left hand, and even though there is less movement that way (as opposed to English), sometimes it doesn't help me. When I've had to see a doctor in the past regarding my wrist (and I've injured it a few times long before I took up knitting), the doctor told me to avoid anything where I would be "pinching" because that can also aggravate the tendons. By pinching, he meant anything where you'd hold something between the fingers as if you were pinching.
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Last edited by annomalley : 10-28-2007 at 04:09 PM. Reason: Adding something I thought of after reading another reply.
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Old 10-28-2007, 02:24 PM   #6
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The problem with anti-inflammatories, or pain relievers is that they'll mask the pain, but you could be doing damage to the tendons. Pain is there for a reason, to keep you from using that part of the body in the same way. Doing what you can to keep the pain from occuring is much better. I'm not so sure that switching to continental will help much; mine is a result of holding the needle with those two fingers and I hold them the same way english or continental.
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Old 10-28-2007, 06:52 PM   #7
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I have had repetitive stress injuries for years and this is what I know about them: they are caused by doing the same motion over and over so you should switch stitches and/or projects. Some muscles are slow twitch muscles and others are fast twitch. Frankly, I cannot remember which is which, but the gist is that your big muscles, like in your forearm get tired less slowly while the smaller muscles in your finger get fatigued easily. What you can try to do is make your larger muscles do more of the work. When my mom knits, she brings her whole right arm up and over the needle since she has both arthritis and tendinitis. My grandmother learned to knit as a little girl and just flips the yarn over with her finger without moving her arm at all. My mom can knit for hours, like a machine, and yet my grandmother develops pain within half an hour.

Ice will help reduce inflammation.

Good luck!
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Old 10-29-2007, 01:13 AM   #8
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Thanks for the tips. I'm not one to take pain relievers though, even with headaches.

Suzeeq, you described it better with the pinkie and ring fingers "curled." That's how I knit, and yeah, whether I try to knit Continental, I would still hold it the same. Sometimes I get too excited about finishing a project so I don't take breaks when I know I should.

Annomally, I think I've read that tip but couldn't figure out the exact spot she was talking about.

Hmmm, I've noticed that my wrists "crack" (like when cracking knuckles) when I rotate them. Is this bad? I've read when you crack your knuckles, it's just air escaping. Wonder if this is the same thing? Wow, this is starting to scare me a little bit. Should I see some kind of physical therapist or something?

Thanks again for all your advice. I'll definitely take more breaks now. I've also been watching the way I knit and trying to keep those two fingers straight so they don't hurt as much.
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Old 10-29-2007, 09:53 AM   #9
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Mine `crack' when I squeeze the wrist. It's the wrist bones going back into place. There are quite a lot of little bones in there and tight muscles and tendons can pull them out of alignment. What I do is place the heel of my other hand directly centered over the wrist, curl my fingers around the outer edge. You'll feel two prominent bones, on the outer edge of the wrist, below the pinkie, the other on the inside of the hand almost opposite it. Use your thumb and fingers of the other hand and apply pressure to these areas. There's another area below the thumb and you can squeeze there. This can help put the bones back where they should and give some relief.
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Old 10-29-2007, 10:38 AM   #10
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I get the same pain in the pinky and fore-finger of my right hand, since I use them to grip the right knitting needle. When I get sore, I stop for a while, its really the best thing to do. I've tried changing my holding style to accomodate those fingers, but I can't seem to do it.
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