Can knitting cause rotator cuff injury?

Q&A: Can knitting cause rotator cuff injury?

Are you a passionate knitter who’s got some unexplained shoulder discomfort? We understand how frustrating that can be. It turns out, knitting can occasionally lead to a rotator cuff injury.

After scratching our heads and doing some research, we realized there’s a link between the two; along with ways to prevent it and manage if such damage does occur. Sounds interesting? Let’s start this journey of discovery together!

Main Highlights

  • Knitting can occasionally lead to a rotator cuff injury.
  • Common knitting injuries include carpal tunnel syndrome, ulnar nerve impingement, and trigger finger.
  • Poor posture while knitting and using large or heavy needles can contribute to shoulder pain.
  • Knitters can prevent injuries by maintaining proper technique and posture, taking regular breaks, and incorporating stretching and strengthening exercises for the shoulder.

In this article…

Knitting can be a relaxing and fulfilling hobby, but it’s important to be aware of the potential for knitting-related injuries.

Can knitting cause rotator cuff injury?

Common knitting injuries

We often associate knitting with relaxation, but this crafty hobby can cause a range of injuries if not done properly. Here are some common ones that knitters may experience:

  1. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: This is a condition where the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand, gets pressed or squeezed at the wrist. Symptoms might include numbness, tingling, and pain in your arm or hand.
  2. Ulnar Nerve Impingement: This happens when your ulnar nerve, which passes through your arm to your hand and fingers, gets compressed. It could lead to discomfort and loss of function in your arm and fingers.
  3. Trigger Finger: Often associated with repetitive gripping actions, trigger finger causes one of your fingers or thumbs to get stuck in a bent position.
  4. Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs): These injuries are caused by overuse of particular muscles or joints. They are common among knitters and can affect various parts of the body such as hands, wrists, necks or shoulders.
  5. Back Pain: Maintaining an incorrect posture while knitting can result in back pain over time.
  6. Neck Pain: Just like back pain, improper posture during knitting sessions could lead to discomfort in the neck area too.
  7. Knitter’s Shoulder: Also known as ‘frozen shoulder’, this condition can occur due to prolonged static positioning of shoulders while knitting.
  8. Bicep Pain: Overusing bicep muscles during knitting might result in muscle strain causing bicep pain.
  9. Rotator Cuff Injuries: These injuries involve damage to the muscles and tendons that stabilize your shoulder joint – sometimes called “knitter’s shoulder“.

Repetitive strain injuries

We need to shed light on the potential risk of Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs) associated with knitting. RSIs often result from prolonged repetitive activities, awkward postures, or overuse of a particular body part.

In the world of knitting, this typically translates into conditions such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or Ulnar Nerve Impingement resulting from extended periods of yarn manipulation.

Given that we usually maintain similar hand movements and sitting positions while knitting, our muscles can become tense and stressed over time—leading to discomfort and pain in areas like the hands, wrists or shoulders.

Incorrect posture during knitting might put undue strain on your neck and upper back which could contribute to additional health concerns like Knitter’s Shoulder or even bicep pain.

Can Knitting Cause Neck and Shoulder Pain?

Yes, knitting can indeed trigger discomfort in your neck and shoulders. Extended periods of time spent knitting often leads to poor posture. This can result in tension accumulating around the lower neck area, eventually leading to pain.

Contorting your body into unnatural positions uses muscles that are not typically active during the resting state.

The onset of shoulder pain may be a sign of repetitive strain injuries (RSIs). These occur when you overuse certain muscle groups without giving them ample rest, as is common with avid knitters.

Continuous movement patterns like those involved in knitting stress out our rotator cuff muscles, which are essential for shoulder stability and movement. If these symptoms persist or become intolerable, it’s advisable to consult with a physical therapist or doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment options.

The Impact of Knitting on the Rotator Cuff

Can knitting cause a rotator cuff injury? This is a question many knitters may wonder about, especially if they have experienced shoulder pain or discomfort while indulging in their favorite hobby.

In this section, we will explore whether knitting can indeed lead to rotator cuff injuries and examine the potential causes of shoulder pain from knitting.

Can knitting cause rotator cuff injury?

Knitting can indeed cause rotator cuff injury. The repetitive motion of knitting, combined with poor posture or technique, can put strain on the muscles and tendons around the shoulder joint.

This can lead to inflammation, muscle imbalances, and eventually, a rotator cuff injury. It’s important for knitters to be aware of their body positioning while knitting and to take regular breaks to stretch and rest their shoulders.

By practicing proper technique and taking care of your shoulders, you can help prevent rotator cuff injuries while enjoying your favorite hobby.

Potential causes of shoulder pain from knitting

Shoulder pain from knitting can be caused by several factors. These include:

  • Poor posture while knitting, such as hunching over or holding the shoulders in a raised position.
  • Holding the needles too tightly, causing unnecessary strain on the shoulder muscles.
  • Knitting for extended periods without taking breaks to stretch and rest the shoulders.
  • Using large or heavy knitting needles, which can put additional strain on the shoulder joint.
  • Knitting projects that require repetitive arm movements, like working on large blankets or sweaters.
Can knitting cause rotator cuff injury?

To prevent and manage knitting-related shoulder injuries, it is crucial to maintain proper knitting technique and posture throughout your knitting sessions. Additionally, incorporating stretching and strengthening exercises for the shoulder can help alleviate any strain or tension in the muscles.

Proper knitting technique and posture

Maintaining proper knitting technique and posture is essential for preventing shoulder injuries. Start by sitting in a comfortable, upright position with your shoulders relaxed. Avoid slouching or hunching over your work, as this can strain your neck and shoulder muscles.

Hold your knitting needles at a comfortable angle, keeping your wrists straight and relaxed. Take regular breaks to stretch your neck, shoulders, and arms to relieve any tension. By practicing good technique and posture while knitting, you can reduce the risk of rotator cuff injuries and enjoy a pain-free crafting experience.

Remember that prevention is key when it comes to avoiding knitting-related shoulder pain. So make sure to adopt these techniques right from the start!

Stretching and strengthening exercises for the shoulder

To keep your shoulders healthy and prevent knitting-related injuries, it is important to incorporate stretching and strengthening exercises into your routine. Here are some exercises that can help:

  1. Shoulder rolls: Sit or stand up straight, then roll your shoulders forward in a circular motion for 10-15 times. Repeat the same motion in a backward direction.
  2. Shoulder stretches: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Reach one arm across your chest and use the other arm to pull it closer to your body until you feel a stretch in your shoulder. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds, then switch sides.
  3. Rotator cuff exercises: Lie on your side with a small dumbbell (or a water bottle) in your top hand. Bend the elbow at a 90-degree angle and slowly lift the weight towards the ceiling, keeping your upper arm parallel to the floor. Lower the weight back down and repeat for 10-12 repetitions on each side.
  4. Scapular squeezes: Sit upright with good posture and squeeze your shoulder blades together as if you’re trying to hold a pencil between them. Hold for 5 seconds, release, and repeat 10 times.
  5. Resistance band exercises: Attach a resistance band to a doorknob or sturdy object at waist height. Hold one end of the band in each hand and pull it apart by squeezing your shoulder blades together, keeping your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. Repeat for 10-12 repetitions.
Can knitting cause Pain?

Before you go…

Yes, knitting can potentially cause rotator cuff injuries. The repetitive motions and strain placed on the shoulder while knitting can lead to pain and discomfort in the rotator cuff muscles.

It is important for knitters to be mindful of their technique and posture, and to take breaks, stretch, and strengthen their shoulder muscles to prevent or manage these types of injuries.


1. Can knitting cause a rotator cuff injury?

Yes, knitting can potentially cause a rotator cuff injury if done for long periods without proper posture and technique.

2. What are the symptoms of a rotator cuff injury from knitting?

Symptoms may include pain in the shoulder or upper arm, weakness when lifting or reaching, difficulty sleeping on the affected side, and limited range of motion.

3. How can I prevent a rotator cuff injury while knitting?

To prevent a rotator cuff injury while knitting, take frequent breaks to stretch your arms and shoulders, maintain good posture with relaxed shoulders, use ergonomic tools like padded needle grips or larger needles, and vary your hand positions and techniques.

4. Should I see a doctor if I suspect a rotator cuff injury from knitting?

If you experience persistent pain or other symptoms of a possible rotator cuff injury from knitting, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

5. Can modifying my knitting technique help reduce the risk of a rotator cuff injury?

Yes, modifying your knitting technique by using lighter weight yarns or adjustable tension devices like circular needles can help reduce strain on the shoulder muscles and decrease the risk of developing a rotator cuff injury.

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