Crochet has been purported to have many health benefits – I can tell you from my own experience that it is one of the ways that I relax and unwind after a long day.
But don’t just take it from me! There have been several studies about the health benefits of crochet:
- Crocheters often report feeling more creative, relaxed, and accomplished – and stated a boost in mood both while crocheting and afterwards
- Fiber arts are good for folks of all ages: Limited mobility doesn’t affect your ability to crochet, so you can continue to get all of the mental health benefits of the craft.
- Make connections: Other studies have shown that being a part of a crochet or knitting group can help facilitate more meaningful connections in your community!
However, as with any repetitive motion, there is a risk of strain or even injury if proper steps aren’t taken.
There are a few things you can do to help mitigate crochet pain. Today, let’s look at five tools available for crochet-related hand pain relief.
Ergonomic Crochet Hooks and Grips
One of the most common ways to deal with crochet-related hand pain is to make adaptations to the hooks that you use.
Smaller hooks can be hard on your hands so simply choosing projects that use larger hooks can help. Other options are:
Ergonomic crochet hooks are specifically for the purpose of reducing crochet-related hand pain. There are many different brands and styles, so you may need to try out a few different styles to find the right one for you.
There are also lots of custom options for ergonomic hooks, too – here are a few of my favorites!
- This purple cow-themed hook by Just Craft Along on Etsy is the perfect combo of style and function!
- I love the look of this ergonomic hook from PJB Boutique on Etsy!
Adding polymer clay handles to your hooks. This makes the hook fatter and easier to grip. Here’s an excellent tutorial from Yay for Yarn on how to make your own – and they’re so cute!
Pencil grips on crochet hooks. Just adding a pencil grip to your hooks can help make it easier to hold them and put less stress on your hands.
The Right Yarn
If you frequently experience pain when you are crocheting then you might find it worth your effort to play around with different types and weights of yarn.
Some people find that bulkier, smoother yarn will be easier to work with, requiring less effort from the arms and hands and therefore less likely to cause or exacerbate pain.
However, sometimes working with a large hook and larger weight yarn can also exacerbate pain! It all really depends on what you’re more comfortable working with.
Many people have told me that it helps to rest their hands on a pillow or a rolled-up towel or blanket as they crochet.
This helps change where the pressure is placed and relaxes the hands so that they don’t build up tension that causes pain.
Idea: Crochet yourself a pillow that you can use to place your hands on when you crochet future projects!
Rest, Stretch, Exercise
As I mentioned before, crocheting is a repetitive motion that can cause inflammation over time. Crocheting involves rotation of the wrist and movement of the fingers in a repetitive way, which can cause RSI (repetitive strain injury), tennis elbow, or even carpal tunnel.
This can also be exacerbated if you sit with poor posture, or spend most of your day in front of a computer (as many of us do post-pandemic) in a hunched position.
If you find you sit with poor posture, it can be hard to unlearn! You can invest in an ergonomic chair cushion to help alleviate shoulder, back, and leg pain.
It also helps to do body scans and be more mindful of how you sit and hold your body.
Every so often, check in with yourself – are you holding tension in the muscles of your arms, shoulders, or back? If you have a hard time remembering to check in, set an alarm or timer on your phone to help you be more mindful.
If you crochet for long periods of time, it also helps to rest! If you plan to work for an hour, build in a 5 to 10-minute break. Get up, stretch, grab a cup of coffee – give your hands a break.
While you take a quick break, you can also complete some of these wrist exercises designed to help alleviate carpal tunnel pain.
Your Preferred Painkiller
I think it’s important to take all of the actions that you can to prevent and repair the problem that you’re having with pain rather than masking it.
That said, some people do find that chronic pain requires them to take a painkiller, such as aspirin, in addition to the other actions they are taking!
However, if you’ve reached the point where you’re experiencing pain related to crocheting, it may be time to seek help from a professional, like your primary care physician or your chiropractor.
Do your hands, wrists or arms ever hurt from crocheting? What do you do to reduce the pain?