Knit On in the New Year, Healthfully

Are you finding that your hands are sore in odd places? I am. I have the weirdest pain in between my pointer and middle finger on my right hand. It's a dull ache that is exacerbated by knitting. It must be all of that Christmas knitting catching up with me.

Mind the hands.
It's all in the wrist.

I can't have my knitting interrupted, so I went searching for some relief. I found it in Interweave Knits, of course. In the Spring 2012 back issue, Rebecca A. Watson wrote an article about avoiding injuries just by doing some easy stretches. They're helping me already! Here are a few of the ways you can prevent or soothe injuries.

Stretches for Knitters

First, the bad news: knitting may not be a contact sport, but knitters are vulnerable to injuries that can be devastating to productivity and sanity in the short run and debilitating in the long run. But there's good news, too: most of these injuries are completely preventable with a few minutes of care every time you knit.

"Knitters are susceptible to any of the repetitive stress injuries, particularly carpal tunnel syndrome and ulnar neuritis," says Dr. Jeanette Y. Lomori, DC, a knitter of almost forty years. As a chiropractor, Dr. Lomori knows how to keep our bodies as loyal to our craft as our minds are. A repetitive injury can take days or weeks away from your knitting time, so think of the time spent on the following exercises as an investment in your crafting retirement account.

MIND THE HANDS. Show your fingers some love and maintain dexterity with this stretch. Starting with your dominant hand, bend each finger backward one at a time for about twenty seconds each. Be sure to keep your wrist straight. Then bend all your fingers back together for another twenty seconds. Repeat with the fingers on your other hand.

Where's your head?
May I bend your ear?

IT'S ALL IN THE WRIST. Your wrists do a lot of the heavy lifting during knitting. Keep them limber by bending your entire hand back at the wrist for twenty seconds, starting again with your dominant hand. Breathe mindfully while you're holding the stretches. Repeat with your other hand.

WHERE'S YOUR HEAD? A good trick to avoid strain in your neck is to look down with your eyes, not your head. If that's not easy for you, this stretch will help: bend your chin toward your chest and hold for twenty seconds.

MAY I BEND YOUR EAR? Move your right ear toward your right shoulder as if you're trying to touch it. Hold for twenty seconds. Repeat on the left side and hold for twenty seconds.

—Rebecca A. Watson, from Interweave Knits, Spring 2012

I really encourage you to do these stretches, and the others that Rebecca and chiropractor Dr. Jeanette Y. Lomori detail in the article. It's the last day of our Digital Days sale, so download the Spring 2012 issue of Interweave Knits now!

Since this is the time for making resolutions, how about you add these exercises to you list? It's so important to take care of yourself so you can knit on, and on, and on, and on, and on!

Happy new year!

P.S. Do you have any stretches that help you? Share them with us in the comments!

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