Crochet Pains

By Claire Ortega-Reyes – 31 Comments

When I really started getting heavily addicted into crochet, I started to to feel all sorts of aches in different parts of my body after lengthy crochet sessions. When you feel pain, obviously that’s bad–your body is trying to tell you that you’re doing something wrong. When you’re doing something you love (CROCHET!) though, you might become oblivious to it. We crocheters need to be more aware of our crochet habits, in order to avoid temporary aches (that might lead to a more permanent state).

Sore Back

If your back always hurts after a period of crocheting, you might be neglecting your posture and hunching down. It’s only natural of course–specially when the pattern is quite challenging! Some people tend to hunch closer to their work. Keep your back straight to avoid injury.

Achy Wrists

You just might be holding your hook wrong if your wrists start hurting. Either that, or, heaven forbid, it’s a symptom of much more complicated illnesses (arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome). Loosen up your wrists by shaking the tension out every once in a while. Wearing cuffs or putting something warm on wrists can also help ease the pain.

Sore Shoulders

If your shoulders start hurting, you might be holding your work up too high. I know I feel that ache in my shoulders when I try crocheting while lying down (it’s bad, I know; I’m trying to be good now). If you’re still holding your crochet work too high even while you’re seated, then you might want to get your eyes checked! Or use thicker yarn so your eyes can take it easy.

Frizzled Brain

This means just one thing: the pattern you’re working on is too difficult! Either that, or you’re trying to craft while you have a hangover. It’s good to push your limits sometimes, but if you can’t take it anymore, take a rest. Or an aspirin. … Or two.

Do you experience any other kinds of pain while crocheting? We have to be more aware of what our body is trying to tell us, so we can continue doing what we love. Take care, everyone!

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31 Comments

  1. marinahunny says:

    i also got sore shoulder especially the right side because i’m using my right hand to hold the crochet needle. sometimes i asked my husband to massage me every time i finish crocheting

  2. Hind says:

    When I make crochet lace with fine cotton thread and a fine steel hook ,it may happen that I get my left middle finger sore and even get my skin split near the fingernail because of the constant fraction with the sharp hook which I hold with my right hand.a very good cure for this is to rub the hands with a mixture of of two equal portions of glycerine and lemon juice more than once every day.It keeps the skin soft and flexible.

    • Claire says:

      Hi marinahunny, that’s so sweet of your husband!

      Hi Hind, and ouch! That sounds really painful. I crochet with small hooks and crochet thread, too, but thankfully I have yet to experience that. Good thing you found a good solution.

  3. Lisa says:

    I used to crochet with small hooks and crochet thread, but as I’ve grown older and am now 60, all the aches and pains of arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome and the fact that I have to use the cheaters, magnifying glasses more frequently for small print have shown me that it might be easier just to use bigger hooks and yarn as opposed to the smaller hooks and thread. Yes, I still enjoy seeing and reading the patterns of those and think they’re beautiful when completed, but I have realized my limits when it comes to that. The smallest hook I will use is a B-hook or a steel sized 0 or 00, and the thread/yarn is proportional to the hook. It’s just easier for me to see without having to wear the glasses all the time. I had cataract surgery in 2008, and now have 20/20 vision distance, just not up close and personal. So to read the small print, I use the magnification. I do have one of those magnifiers that you hang around your neck in order to do cross-stitch and crochet, but don’t use it as often as I used to. One of my worst pains is in my knees. If I sit too long in one place with my knees crossed (highly discouraged, I have to straighten them out to continue in the same manner rather than ignoring the pain and being unable to get up later on. Neither husband I had were helpful in any way with my crocheting or other domestic endeavors. They were, in essence, worthless!

  4. Heaven says:

    Lisa I feel your pain…I suffer from chronic pain so I have gotten to know how to ‘relax’ the cramps but now and then (especially if weather bad…and in Canada) it can be bad before I start…as well as extensor tendinitis in my right wrist…

    Heating pads are great…some neoprene glove work…and other times I have to ignore the pain or get nothing done…

    Oh well back to the hook I go

  5. Michelle Jones says:

    The pain that i get is actually on the hand that i hold my work on. On my left hand under my thumb. I don’t why maybe because i had never really used my left hand more then other quick times (like caring a bag of yarn, or to type this message lol) As for the small hook pains you may want to try adding the pencil gel grips to them (which i just picked up some at a local office supply store in town). My husband came up with the idea of using plastic wrap to wrap my hook and allow the grip to hold in place, by doing this it makes the hook thicker without changing your hook size. It works for me maybe it may work for any of you that may need it =)

  6. Anna says:

    For me, it’s the left thumb joint and the muscle in the palm of the same area. I often do work with Handicrafter cotton using a smaller than recommended hook size to make a really dense, structural fabric, and that puts a lot of tension on my left hand (I hold my hook in my right).

    I also have an old injury in my left elbow. If I crochet for too long, it goes numb. :-/ The only thing I do for both is to just stretch out my arm and rotate the affected joints, and take breaks as needed.

    • Evelyn says:

      I have had severe pain in my elbows mainly my left elbow. I broke my left wrist or fractured rather, but every bone in it was fractured. Now I am upset because I cannot crochet without pain when I go to bed it aches. I am worried I crocheted so long (4 hour sessions) at night that I have damaged it. Any suggestions?

      Evelyn Hager

  7. Lori says:

    @Michelle – I also get pain in my left hand from holding the work. I use my left hand quite a bit, as I am ambidextrous. I use my left hand to write, so I don’t think lack of use is the real culprit here.

    I thread a needle left-handed, but sew right-handed. I tried to learn to crochet left-handed and couldn’t, but I learned easily using my right hand. If I color, as with pastels, I will sometimes switch to my right hand when my left becomes fatigued, or I need to fill in details. Why do I use the right hand for details when I am predominantly left-handed when it comes to writing/drawing, I can’t figure out, and I HAVE thought about it.

    I don’t know exactly why my left hand hurts in the thumb joint, but it does. It seems to be affected by how tightly I grip my work. Try to hold the work a little more lightly, and take frequent breaks. Hard to stop, I know. I get really involved and forget where I am and don’t notice the pain until I am forced to stop. Try setting a timer that you have to get up to shut off. This method works pretty well for me, as long as I remember to set the timer! ;)

  8. Jess says:

    I get pain in the palm of my hand sometimes usually when this happens I stop for a while and then continue. I think getting a stress ball or something of that sort will help.

  9. Squirrely Girly says:

    This may sound weird, but sometimes my jaw hurts. I try to set it the right way, but I guess it doesn’t work. Hmmm……….

  10. Amanda says:

    I too get the base of the thumb/palm pain in the hand I hold my work. For me its the right hand because I crochet left handed. I tend to do most things left-handed but have found that for sports (baseball, gold, archery) I am better right-handed.

    The only thing I have come up with is taking frequent breaks, moving my thumb to a different position or having my guy give me a hand massage.

    It is interesting that there are so many left-handed or ambidextrous people replying here! I love when there are other left-handed people around! Not sure why, just always have. =)

  11. Tina K says:

    I too crochet left handed but the pain I get is in my right pinky finger the top knuckle lol. Sometimes I don’t think it will extend ever again :-)

  12. Brenda says:

    Have you ever had any pain in the muscle below the thumb? I get that when I knit too long. When crocheting, I relax more:)

  13. Colleen McCaffrey says:

    I don’t mind the pain so much (I have Fibromyalgia and arthritis so I always hurt.) What really boothers me is that my hands go numb and it is really hard to crochet if you can’t feel the yarn or the hook.

  14. Pat Harris says:

    It’s funny that I’m reading this today. I started a new project last night which requires a N hook. I’ve never made anything using this hook before. I’m not sure if it was the uncomfortable feeling of using this hook of if I was trying to hold on the stitches. All of a sudden, I got the worst pain in my left thumb and it ached all night long. I guess I won’t be doing any crocheting for awhile. The thumb still hurt.

  15. Rebeca says:

    Wow, thank you for the advice, I really need that!!

  16. DAR says:

    I’ve been crocheting for 42 years and have the fingers to prove it. : )

    Do they do finger transplants yet…..sign me up !!!!

  17. barb in tennessee says:

    Y’all are gonna think this is pretty peculiar…….but I crochet because of the chronic pain that is due to rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and the other “cousin” inflammatory conditions that seem to come along,adding to the “fun”.
    There is just something soothing about the rhythm of the crochet hook as it makes row after row following the pattern. Also, I’ve found that sitting in an old fashioned rocking chair is comforting to my aches and pains.
    Sure, there are times that my hands and fingers don’t want to work properly. Changing to a different size hook sometimes takes care of that. Guess we all have lots of works in progress.Things that we can always drop, and then pick back up.

    There is just something magical about a hook and a piece of yarn that turns into something special…..like those little tobbogan caps for the NICU, the edgings on flannel blankets for those sweet babies to take home when they leave, or lapghans for those who get cold during their chemo-therapy. Makes you appreciate what you have, and what you can do.

  18. Adelina says:

    I too have many of the ailments mentioned above, from the numbing arms to the aches all over. I too have arthritis and all of it’s cousins that cause chronic pain. But like Barb in TN I crochet to relieve the pain because the motion is very soothing, crocheting helps me to take my mind off the never-ending pain I live with and in the end the projects I complete make it worth it so there is a pay-off both ways! But I have noticed that with this new “ergonomically” styled crochet hook that it begins to hurt and annoy the palm of my hand and I have to reposition my hand. Sometimes this works but mostly it doesn’t and I spent so much for the needles thinking they would be better for my hands because it has become so difficuly to hold the needle comfortably. However, while reading I have found a new idea from Michelle Jones, I think your idea is better than the product I just bought to do exactly the same thing and it didn’t work out real well for my H-J needles, thanks everyone for all of your input, I was experiencing the very same things mentioned here and now I don’t feel so alone….back to crocheting for now, enjoy what is left of the holiday weekend and remember—BE SAFE!! (“,)

  19. Maria says:

    I’ve been crocheting for approximately 30 years. I always made those pretty doilies with the cotton #10 thread or #30 and very small hooks. Now it too find it a little hard on my hands. I’ve been croching more with yarns but still make projects in the cotton threads with the smaller needles. I too use magnifing glasses which really help a great deal. When I’m work on a project and sitting for long periods of time, I tend to suffer with pain all over, so, what I do now is every hour or so, I stop for a few, walk around, stretch and do something else then I go back to my crocheting. That has really helped me a great deal with dealing with discomfort during crocheting. I pray that I will be able to crochet way into my 100′s if I’m around that long. Thank you everyone for sharing and happy crocheting to all!!!

  20. Lisa Church says:

    Yes, I have developed what I call “crochet finger”, which is a throbbing ache in my right index finger above the first knuckle. Sometimes it wakes me up with a nasty twinge. This is how I know I’ve been overdoing the crochet. I’ve actually been crocheting for 15 years now, but this pain is a new development. Old age, I guess!

  21. Lisa Hayes says:

    I also have rheumatoid arthritis in the middle finger 2nd knuckle of my right hand. I don’t think it’s from the crocheting, but it hurts when one least expects it to. I take 2 generic tylenol twice daily and it seems to help it, and if I have the time, put some kind of capsaicin or other kind of cream or lotion on it to make it feel better for awhile. It doesn’t occur all the time, but when the humidity and the barometric pressure rise, that’s when all my joints ache more often than not.

  22. Paula Sloan says:

    My wrist is the main thing that bothers me, however there are times when my thumbs feel as if they are going to lock up. I have worn a half glove/band to help my wrist, but it doesn’t seem to do much for it. I’ve taken Ibuprofin for pain and even gone as far as to take percocet. I’ve also used hot/cold patches or rubs, but nothing seems to help. I either have to work through the pain or take a couple of weeks off to let things have time to settle down.

  23. Katie says:

    I have fibromyalgia and after trying to meet a large crochet deadline for an order, I developed duQuervain’s tendonitis (think carpal tunnel of the thumb). Did I say I also play musical instruments? With PT, I learned some massge and movement techniques. I also learned to switch projects and if you absolutely must crochet all the time, switch hook sizes. There are hooks that have handles that are built up, Also, I use Handeeze (sp?) craft gloves — turned inside out so the seams don’t irritate my hands — both for crochet and for clarinet.

  24. Gina P says:

    I worked on a large crochet shawl last year, the largest crochet project I had ever done as I just taught myself in the summer of 2010. Before I finished, my wrist hurt and I thought I had overdone it. It kept hurting even after I finished and gave it a rest. It has been hurting since April 2011. After a couple of months, I noticed a lump. I had thought it was a ganglion cyst and tried to crack it by banging it up against the wall as when you read about them, in the past, they used a large Bible to “pop” them. I couldn’t break it up by hitting it hard ( and oh that hurts like the dickens!!) and finally had to go to the doctor. It keeps on getting bigger and bigger and now it’s 3 inches around my wrist on the up and underneath, but starting on the side. It’s HUGE. I have to go for an MRI tomorrow as when I saw the doctor, no fluid would come out of it when he stuck it with the syringe over and over. I just hope this comes out cleanly as I love to crochet and knit and don’t even want the down time from cutting it out..But I need to as my wrist hurts all the time. I have other chronic pains and the medicines I take for that have helped with this pain. Otherwise I think I would have gone crazy a few months ago. I just hope it’s not all tangled up in my tendons as it’s pretty large now and hurts all over, causing pain up my arm and into my hand and thumb. Wish me luck in that I’m not out of crocheting too long!
    I guess I just wanted to share this so others can look for lumps as they may be there. He said Ganglion cysts are most common but this isn’t what I have unfortunately.

    • Anna says:

      *gasp*

      Oh, dear Lord! Please, NEVER try to “pop” a ganglion! (I get them on the back of my hand, they come and go for me, but my sister had one surgically removed in her youth). And your doctor should NEVER had stuck it with a syringe even once, never mind over and over.

      *leans against wall, fainting in horror*

      I hope the MRI is able to determine what this lump is, and I hope a biopsy has been ordered as well. Any odd lumps and bumps need to be checked out as soon as possible.

      Wishing you the best of test results, Gina.

  25. Michelle says:

    I have pain in my left hand ring finger knuckle. I know it is the way I hold the yarn and the tension, but I can’t seem to break the habit. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to retrain your brain? I found a tension hook on Joann’s website and wondered if anyone had tried before?

  26. Evelyn says:

    I have had severe pain in my elbows mainly my left elbow. I broke my left wrist or fractured rather years ago, but every bone in it was fractured. Now I am upset because I cannot crochet without pain when I go to bed it aches. I am worried I crocheted so long (4 hour sessions) at night that I have damaged it. Any suggestions?

    Evelyn Hager

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