Good Ergonomics to Help with Repetitive Stress Injury

By Tameko Barnette – 9 Comments

Even with crochet, we run the risk of injury due to the repetitive movements. Ergonomics is not just for corporate office cubicles anymore. We, crocheters, need some help in that area as well.

Repetitive Stress Injuries are happening more and more with crocheters and other crafty folks all over the country, including carpel tunnel issues. Many times, we associate these issues with typing on a keyboard all day, but these conditions can occur under a variety of circumstances.

But the question is – how do we improve this condition and others associated with repetitive movements?

Here are a few things to consider:

Ergonomic Crochet Hooks – these are great. I am hearing about them more and more in crochet magazines and online. The handles have a comfortable hold as you crochet, so you do not feel like you are working too hard to loop, yarn over, etc. The main areas of interests are the fingers, hands, and wrists, so the ergonomic crochet hooks can assist with these areas. A couple of good brands to look for are Clover Soft Touch and Clover Reflections.

Hand and Wrists Exercises – if you recall, I wrote a previous post on hand and wrists exercises for crocheters. This is an important step, which is why it bears repeating. Check out the link for detailed instructions on exercising your hands and wrists: Easy Exercises for Crocheters

Taking Breaks – this is very important. Now, come on, be honest, when you get into a fun project or a time crunch situation such as birthday or holiday coming up soon, you become so focused that before you know it, you have spent over an hour or so on a project without stopping. If you find that you are having Repetitive Stress issues and/or Carpel Tunnel issues, you should consider taking several breaks while working on a project over an extended period in one sitting.

Posture – this is something I have noticed in my own crochet experiences. I have been paying more attention to how I am sitting in my chair or in bed while crocheting. What does this have to do with your hands and wrists? How we turn and twist our bodies in one way can affect us in another way. Particularly, we can create back, neck, and shoulder issues by how we sit while crocheting. This is not something I have heard a lot about in the craft community, but it is a fact. So, sit up straight keeping your neck and head aligned with your spine as you crochet. It makes a huge difference.

While we enjoy our crochet projects, we have to take the time to pay attention to our bodies. We do not want something we love to become our worst enemy, so it is imperative to take the necessary steps for prevention and care.

Do you have any suggestions for easing repetitive stress injury? Do you have a story to share concerning this issue? If so, please leave your comments below. We’d love to hear from you.

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  1. Varsha suraiya says:

    I have shoulder pain due to repetitive injury so I sit in a straight back chair with arm rests and make sure to support my elbowsI had frozen shoulder so now I crochet with breaks of 20 min.Sometimes I also take a break for a week as I love to crochet new designs I do not want to stop crochet so I find short breaks help superbly! Try it.

    • Adelina says:

      I too have struggled with shoulder pain, arm pain and thumb pain because of crocheting without breaks. I have used a heating pad to help ease the pain and relax the muscles and it works. I have had to take extended breaks because I just don’t know when to stop…LOL!! I have also tried different types of needles to crochet with and I like the Clover Leaf ergonomic needles to start and then I switch to a needle designed by a crocheter with M.S. and I can continue my work. I am very bad when it comes to taking breaks….something I still need to work on…LOL!!

  2. Nancy Scher says:

    I am an OCC, also known as Obsessive Compulsive Crocheter. 🙂 That said, I can relate to the above comments; the pain from repetitive movements can affect your entire side or even your entire body. That’s because everything is connected. I use The Feldenkrais Method, it’s a way to re-educate your movement patterns. It’s like we don’t even know how we are causing the pain to continue, unaware that we have something to do with it. Feldenkrais seems magical, but in reality it’s just good awareness and good sensing. You can find it on Youtube, to check it out, but finding a practitioner is the way to go.

  3. Cindy E says:

    I use pain patches when I need. The salonpas patches a very reasonable & work very well. I just found a generic brand at the Dollar Tree, tried them & they are just as good. 20 for $1. Salonpas are 40 for $5 at Walmart.

  4. chanda schooley says:

    thanks! this is great info!

  5. Varsha suraiya says:

    coupla yoga exercises work wonders!Ask an expert.

  6. Sandy L. says:

    if you do not want to buy all new hooks you can also make your own grips for your hooks.i use foam and duct tape to create the shape i need and if it slips i use a layer of no slip rug backing under the foam.this way you can also create some rather unique hooks as well.

  7. Wineplz says:

    or if you’re not as crafty as Sandy (as I am…not crafty, that is), I’ve found pre-made grips to put on your existing hooks.

  8. Cindy says:

    I was just diagnosed with a left shoulder bone spur because of crocheting. My lazy boy keeps my arms crowded, with no room to move.
    Get a good comfortable chair!!!

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