Well, I really did it this week – I had a terrible flare up of my wrist tendinitis (self diagnosed, thanks WebMD) This has caused me to think about knitting injuries, which are real things, although only your knitting friends will believe and support you through one. So, here are some thoughts I’ve had as I take some time to recover.
Knitting Injuries are Self-Induced
At least all of mine have been. I’ve had three more serious knitting injuries. This time with my left wrist and it was totally caused by my trying to turn a heel on a sock with tiny circulars and 6-ply sock yarn. Let’s just say that even as I was plowing through I knew I would end up regretting it. In this case, I kept going so I would be motivated to pick up the sock again in this lifetime because I’m loving the sock so much. I’ve had bad wrists all my life so it doesn’t take much to push them over the edge.
In December I sat for 2 straight hours hunched up trying to finish my Ice River Snood because I was so in love with it that I just wanted it off the needles. I ended up with a very sore neck for a few days after that bad decision (but my cowl was fabulous!) My other injury was a bit of thumb tendinitis that was caused by too much knitting on too big needles with bulky yarn. Anyone else see a theme here – we knitters really want to get our projects off the needles and into the world but in the process we may sacrifice our ability to knit.
Ways to Prevent
Let’s start with the obvious – when it starts to hurt put it down!! But, I will also contend that this is a good argument for polygamous knitting. In my case some of the strain was caused by the particular needle and yarn size so having multiple projects utilizing different yarns and needles can help you strain less with that one particular project. The next time someone gives you grief about all those UFO’s – tell them you are working on preventing knitting injuries! And, the other obvious thing is to get up. I try to remind myself to get up either between tv shows or during hockey intermissions which are good set times to get up and just walk around the house or get a drink.
I also did a little research and found this article by Pam Allen and my friend, Shannon Okey, Ten Hand and Shoulder Exercises for Knitters and they know their stuff so I might give these a try soon!
What to Do
If you are a self diagnoser like myself you will read that the number one thing to do with these repetitive strain injuries is to rest. But, for real??? I’ve got knitting that needs to be done. As I was bemoaning my fate on Instagram Missy from Missy’s Crafty Mess recommended IcyHot so I figured why not? Usually, I will apply a regular ice pack so I would be more mobile using the IcyHot. I stopped and picked some up on my way home from work. I was a bit terrified of accidentally getting some near my eye but all went well and I believe it is some sort of miracle cure. It’s kind of a weird feeling but it took away the pain. Now, the bad thing about this is that I kind of thought I could then pick up my knitting but my mother kindly reminded me that the IcyHot was just covering up the pain and everything was still flared up under the surface. Besides, rest and IcyHot, I’m also a big fan of braces. I have one for the thumb when it acts up and one for my wrist so I don’t twist and turn it weird ways during the day.
While that’s all well and good for treatment, what exactly is one to do while waiting for all these things to work? Here’s a list I put together:
- Plan more knitting: This seems like a logical choice. Work on your Ravely lists and check out all the new things you want to knit. I took some time to plan to join in on Wool Diaries #BlanketMadness which is happening April 24 – April 30. I have a long lingering Barn Raising Quilt so I thought this would be a fun way to add some squares to it. I dragged out the bag and counted and photographed what I have some I’m ready to go on the 24th! Check her out on IG for more info!
- Do another craft: Perhaps one that is a little less taxing on whatever part you have strained. I picked up a cross stitch kit that I bought from Hoop and Needle at Midwest Craft Con. I cross stitched years ago but have not picked up for a long time. It’s so fun! I’m loving it and even took it to knit night so I would have something to keep me busy.
- Color: Who isn’t into adult coloring??? I have the Mason-Dixon coloring book which is super fun and I think I saw that Franklin Habit has one out now too which I would love! Of course, if your strained part is your coloring hand this might not be the best idea 😦
- Do other chores: who I am kidding?? This is just a silly thought 🙂 I don’t even have a picture for this one 🙂
I have not knit a stitch since I turned the evil heel on Tuesday night and it’s now Saturday morning and the wrist is feeling pretty good. I’ve got KAL to catch up on and I need to finish the heel on the sock (I will be moving the heel stitches to dpns, which is what I should have done from the start) and I’m excited about #BlanketMadness starting in a couple of weeks so we’ll see!