“How to beat aches and pains if you’re a knitter or crocheter”
by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR
Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.
Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit
Relaxing hobbies, both knitting and crocheting are enjoying a renaissance in interest.
Even college campuses now are seeing a proliferation of clubs for knitters, affectionately known as “stitch and bitch”!
Behind the gentle and relaxing nature of these hobbies lurks the enemy of enjoyment… and that enemy is…PAIN!
Elbow problems can develop. Sometimes patients will develop tendonitis involving the outside part of the elbow. This is sometimes referred to as “tennis elbow.” It’s very painful. Specific stretching exercise, arm bands, physical therapy, and sometimes injections of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) are needed to treat this disorder. Avoid cortisone if possible because it weakens tendon tissue.
People who knit and crochet are risk for developing pain and stiffness in the wrists and fingers. In particular, carpal tunnel syndrome can be a real nuisance. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a problem that comes on as a result of pinching of the median nerve as it enters the hand. This pinching occurs most often as a result of repetitive motion. Both knitters and crocheters are at risk but crocheters more so than knitters. That’s because crocheters use one hand to hook and that hand is moving fast. Carpal tunnel symptoms present as numbness, tingling, and pain in the hand… especially the first three fingers. The pain often is worse at night so that a patient will shake the hands or drape them over the side of the bed to get relief.
Treatment involves making the right diagnosis. Splinting, injection of steroids, and physical therapy often helps. For severe cases, surgery is required. A new ultrasound guided needle release often times will prevent the need for surgery. This is done using local anesthetic with only one evening of down time.
Arthritis in the fingers can often be made worse by knitting… however, at the same time it’s been shown that knitting and crocheting are good activities for maintaining flexibility in the hands for people with finger arthritis. Knitting simple items first… then warming up to harder patterns might help you if finger dexterity is a problem. Using flexible needles while knitting is helpful.
Gently stretching the fingers after a long session of knitting and crocheting can help. Other treatment options include topical creams like Blue Relief or soothing paraffin baths.
The base of the thumb may also hurt since this is a common area for arthritis to develop and the thumb is important in the knitting process.
Sitting for long periods of time is a problem for knitters. This sitting can lead to low back pain. Knitters should take frequent breaks, use a lumbar roll for back support, and also consider using a moist heating pad to help ease the muscle tension afterwards. Stretching exercises both before and after knitting are also recommended.
Dequervain's tendonitis, a very painful form of tendonitis occurs on the outside part of the wrist at the base of the thumb, with repetitive motion activities such as knitting. The treatment is ultrasound-guided hydrodissection using glucocorticoid, lidocaine, and saline. Surgery is not needed.
Finally since the eyes of the knitter go from the pattern to the TV, then down towards the item being knitted in a continuous cycle, the neck occasionally stiffens up. Stretching the neck before and after knitting is advised. Moist heat and Blue Relief may also help this problem.
If you have aches and pains that last longer than a few days, you may have arthritis.
Get more information about arthritis and related conditions as well as...
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Click here Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit
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