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?