Hand Exercises for Crocheters

This is excerpted from an appendix in my book Crochet Saved My Life. In the chapter on crochet as a form of occupational therapy I noted that there is some risk of hand injury or pain when crocheting because of the repetitive movement of the craft. This can be prevented in large part by taking breaks from crochet to exercise the hands. Most resources I’ve checked it out recommend taking a break from crocheting approximately every thirty minutes to do some brief exercises. Here are some examples of simple hand stretches and exercises that you can do to avoid repetitive strain injuries from the craft that you love! You can do these exercises any time and anywhere. Important note: These are exercises that I’ve seen in yoga classes and various online articles over the years and things I’ve done myself. However, I’m not a doctor so always take precautions and listen to your own body as you do your stretching!

Exercises for the Fingers

  • Place both of your pinkie fingers on the edge of a table. Press down on the table with your pinkie fingers, gently raising and lowering your hands a few times. Repeat for each of your other fingers.
  • Hold your hands palms up in front of you. Now curl your fingers so they touch the bottom of your palm. Release and curl them so they touch the middle of your palm. Release and curl them so they touch the front of your palm (as close to the base of the fingers as possible).
  • In any position, spread your fingers as far apart as you can then bring them together and then spread them out again.

Exercises for the Thumbs

  • Hold your right hand up in front of you, fingers pointing to the sky. Gently grab your right thumb with your left hand. Pull your right thumb gently away from the finger next to it. Hold the stretch then gently release it. Repeat a few times on that side and then repeat the process with your left thumb.
  • Make a fist with your thumb pointing upwards. Bend your thumb as far backwards as is comfortable. Hold the position and then reverse to bend it as far forwards as possible.
  • Use the thumb and forefinger of one hand to massage the web of the thumb on the other.

Exercises for the Wrists

  • Sit comfortably at a table. Place all of your fingers together at the edge of the table (thumbs and palms hanging off the side). Press up on to the tips of your fingers and then slowly lower your hand down as far as possible while still pressing into the table. Spread your fingers slightly apart and repeat. Spread your fingers still further apart and repeat again, stretching out your wrist each time.
  • Hold your arms out to the sides, palms down, fingers together. Draw circles with your hands by moving only your wrists.
  • Hold your arms straight out in front of you, palms up. Bend them at the elbow so your hands are facing you. Now rotate your arms so that the palms are facing away from you. Lower the arms back so that they are facing straight out in front of you (palms should now be down). Repeat a few times.

What do you do to take care of your hands when crafting for many hours?

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San Francisco based and crochet-obsessed writer, dreamer and creative spirit!


  1. Excellent article. Thank you for sharing this. In our zeal to crochet I think we crocheters forget how essential it is to take care of our wrists and fingers.

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  4. Very helpful. I’m prone to carpal tunnel so I have a wrist brace I wear when I knit and crochet. I highly recommend wearing something like this to keep from aggravating that nerve. Also I do these exercises.

  5. I have carpal tunnel too so I wear my wrist braces at night while sleeping and a soft neoprene smaller wrist brace while crocheting. I shake my hands out periodically while crocheting and also take ibuprohin and vitamin B 6 at night before going to bed. I have a book called Arthritis: What Exercises Work (breakthrough relief for the rest of your life–even after drugs and surgery have failed) by Dava Sobel and Arthur C. Klein. It has some excellent exercises in it!!! I was having pain in the web between thumb and forefinger. I highly recommend this book!!! I will try these exercises as well. Thank you!!!

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  7. Most helpful article -found by chance I must say- Happily I’ve found your web!
    Just last night, after a few hours knitting, I thought I had to do something more than massaging them with an anti-pain cream, so your articles have come to me as fallen from heaven! :) Thank you so much for sharing what you know with us. Ah! You can count me as one of your ‘fans’ from now on

  8. Isla_Negra Thanks so much for your recent comments. So great to start getting to know you here!

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  12. My other half gave me a pair of Copper Fit fingerless compression gloves for my birthday. They have been a lifesaver! I use them while crocheting and knitting, and I sleep in them when I have a lot of work to finish in short amounts of time. I’m on my second set…. They run large. I wear a men’s medium glove, yet the s/m size is a good fit with enough pressure to provide relief. I pushed too hard last holiday season and could hardly move my left hand for a couple months. The compression gloves have saved my ‘hobby’… and therefore, my sanity. I have 21 grandkids…. and saying “no, Gramma can’t right now…” isn’t part of my vocabulary!

  13. I have a lot of pain at the base of my left thumb, any ideas what I can do to decrease the pain? Thanks

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