Can knitting cause tendonitis?

Q&A: Can knitting cause tendonitis?

Are your hands feeling weary and tender after a marathon knitting session? You’re certainly not alone in this. This fairly common issue amongst our close-knit community might be the result of something known as tendonitis, an ailment often associated with repetitive hand motions like those we make when we knit.

In this friendly guide, we’ll dig deep into what sparks off knitting-related tendonitis. Plus, we will provide you with some practical, tried-and-tested strategies for keeping it at bay and managing any discomfort you might already feel.

So don’t go anywhere – these essential tips will help keep your crafting experiences as joyful and pain-free as possible.

Main Highlights

  • Knitting can cause tendonitis, a condition characterized by pain and inflammation in the hands, wrists, and arms due to repetitive stress and strain.
  • Common types of knitting related tendonitis include knitter’s wrist and thumb tendonitis (DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis).
  • Preventive measures such as practicing proper technique, taking regular breaks, incorporating stretching exercises into your routine, using supportive tools and equipment, and seeking professional help when needed can help prevent and manage knitting-related tendonitis.

In this article…

Knitting-related hand pain can be caused by conditions like knitter’s wrist and thumb tendonitis (DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis), which can affect the muscles, tendons, and nerves in the hands and wrists.

Knitter’s Wrist

Frequent knitters often experience a condition known as Knitter’s Wrist, characterized by pain and discomfort in the wrist area. Continuous knitting movements can strain the tendons in your wrists, leading to inflammation and swelling.

This repetitive stress injury typically occurs when you spend long hours knitting without taking proper breaks or using incorrect techniques. Dealing with Knitter’s Wrist may require rest and cessation of knitting activities for some time until symptoms subside.

In severe cases, professional medical help might be necessary for diagnosis and appropriate treatment plans such as physical therapy or medication.

Thumb Tendonitis (DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis)

Thumb Tendonitis, also known as DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis, is a common condition among knitters. This type of tendonitis affects your thumb and the side of your wrist. It develops due to an inflammation or irritation of the tendons within the thumb that extend down to the wrist.

Knitting actions like gripping needles tightly and moving our hands in repetitive motions can place excessive stress on these tendons. The result could be pain, swelling, and difficulties in movements involving your thumbs or wrists.

We may even experience a sticking sensation – known as ‘catching’ – when trying to move our thumb.

Good news is – it is treatable! Your healthcare provider might recommend rest for the affected hand, splinting + wearing supportive devices for minimizing movement or specific exercises designed to stretch and strengthen hand muscles.

But if symptoms persist despite these measures, don’t hesitate: seek professional medical advice promptly!

Can knitting cause tendonitis?

Both Knitting-Related Tendonitis and Tennis Elbow can be quite disruptive to daily activities and share some common characteristics, however, they also have distinct differences.

 Knitting-Related TendonitisTennis Elbow
SimilaritiesBoth conditions are a result of repetitive motion and overuse of certain muscles and tendons.Same as Knitting-Related Tendonitis.
 Both can lead to inflammation and pain in the affected area.Same as Knitting-Related Tendonitis.
DifferencesPrimarily affects the wrist and thumb area.Affects the outside of the elbow, hence its name.
 Pain is often constant and can interfere with fine motor tasks.Pain is usually felt when the wrist is extended or the forearm is twisted.

Understanding these similarities and differences can be key in pinpointing the type of injury we’re dealing with and determining the best course of treatment.

Knitting-related tendonitis is primarily caused by repetitive stress and strain on the muscles and tendons in the hands, wrists, and arms. Incorrect technique or posture while knitting can also contribute to the development of tendonitis.

Additionally, overuse of specific muscles and tendons due to prolonged knitting sessions without breaks can increase the risk of developing tendonitis.

Repetitive Stress and Strain

Repetitive stress and strain are common causes of knitting-related tendonitis. When we repeatedly perform the same knitting motions over a long period, it puts stress on our muscles and tendons.

This can lead to inflammation, pain, and discomfort in our hands, wrists, and arms. To prevent this, it’s important to take regular breaks while knitting and practice proper technique and ergonomics.

Stretching exercises before and after knitting sessions can also help alleviate any tension or strain on our muscles. By being mindful of these factors, we can reduce the risk of developing tendonitis from repetitive knitting movements.

Incorrect Technique or Posture

Using incorrect technique or posture while knitting can increase the risk of developing tendonitis. When we knit for long periods of time with improper form, we put unnecessary strain on our muscles and tendons.

This can lead to inflammation and pain in our hands, wrists, and arms. To prevent this, it’s important to practice good ergonomics and use proper knitting techniques. We should make sure to sit in a comfortable position with good back support, keep our wrists straight and relaxed while knitting, and take regular breaks to stretch and rest our hands.

By using correct technique and posture, we can reduce the chances of experiencing tendonitis from knitting.

Overuse of Specific Muscles and Tendons

Overusing specific muscles and tendons while knitting can contribute to the development of tendonitis. When we repeatedly perform the same knitting motions, certain muscles and tendons in our hands and wrists can become fatigued and strained.

This strain can lead to inflammation and irritation of the tendons, causing pain and discomfort. It’s important to be mindful of how much stress we’re putting on these specific muscles and tendons while knitting, as excessive use without proper breaks can increase the risk of developing tendonitis.

By taking regular breaks, stretching before and after knitting, and varying our hand positions, we can help prevent overuse injuries from occurring.

To prevent and manage knitting-related tendonitis, it is crucial to incorporate stretching and strengthening exercises into your routine. Additionally, practicing proper technique and ergonomics, taking regular breaks, and using supportive tools can help alleviate hand pain.

Read on to learn more about these effective strategies for preventing and managing knitting-related tendonitis.

Stretching and Strengthening Exercises

To prevent and manage knitting-related tendonitis, it is important to incorporate stretching and strengthening exercises into your routine. These exercises can help improve flexibility and strengthen the muscles and tendons in your hands and wrists. Here are some exercises that you can try:

  1. Wrist curls: Hold a light dumbbell or a water bottle in your hand, palm facing up. Slowly curl your wrist upward towards your body, then lower it back down. Repeat this movement for 10-15 repetitions on each hand.
  2. Finger extensions: Place a rubber band around all of your fingers. Spread your fingers apart as far as you can against the resistance of the rubber band, then release. Repeat this exercise 10-15 times.
  3. Thumb circles: Make a circle with your thumb by touching it to the base of your pinky finger, then rotate it in a circular motion. Repeat this movement for 10-15 rotations in both directions.
  4. Forearm stretches: Extend one arm straight out in front of you with your palm facing down. Use your other hand to gently pull back on the fingers of the extended arm until you feel a stretch in your forearm muscles. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the other arm.
  5. Hand squeezes: Hold a stress ball or soft object in the palm of your hand and squeeze it tightly for 5-10 seconds before releasing. Repeat this exercise 10-15 times on each hand.

Proper Technique and Ergonomics

To prevent knitting-related tendonitis and minimize hand pain, it is important to practice proper technique and ergonomics. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Maintain a relaxed grip on the needles and yarn.
  2. Sit in a comfortable and well – supported chair.
  3. Position your knitting project at the right height to avoid straining your neck or shoulders.
  4. Take breaks every 30 minutes to stretch and rest your hands.
  5. Use circular needles or ergonomic knitting tools to reduce strain on your wrists.
  6. Pay attention to your posture while knitting, keeping your back straight and shoulders relaxed.
  7. Avoid excessive tension in your stitches, as this can contribute to hand fatigue.

Taking Regular Breaks

Taking regular breaks is crucial when it comes to preventing knitting-related tendonitis and reducing hand strain. It’s important to listen to your body’s signals and avoid overworking your hands and wrists.

By incorporating short, frequent breaks into your knitting routine, you give your muscles and tendons a chance to rest and recover. This helps prevent the buildup of repetitive stress that can lead to painful conditions like tendonitis.

So remember, take regular breaks while knitting to keep your hands healthy and pain-free.

Using Supportive Tools and Equipment

We can prevent and manage knitting-related tendonitis by using supportive tools and equipment. One important tool is a knitting ergonomic kit, which includes specially designed knitting needles and accessories that reduce strain on the hands and wrists.

These tools have features like padded grips and lightweight materials to promote better posture and decrease pressure on the tendons. Another helpful item is a wrist brace, which provides support, stability, and compression to alleviate pain during knitting sessions.

Additionally, using cushioned mats or pillows to rest your elbows or forearms can help minimize discomfort. By investing in these supportive tools and equipment, we can continue enjoying our knitting hobby while protecting our hands from tendonitis.

If you are experiencing persistent hand pain from knitting, it is important to seek professional help. Consulting with orthopedic specialists can provide valuable insights and treatment options to alleviate your symptoms.

Waiting too long without seeking help may worsen the condition, so early intervention is crucial for a faster recovery.

Consultation with Orthopedic Specialists

If you are experiencing hand pain or discomfort from knitting, it may be a good idea to seek consultation with orthopedic specialists. These medical professionals specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions related to the musculoskeletal system, including tendonitis and other repetitive strain injuries.

By consulting with an orthopedic specialist, you can receive expert advice on managing your symptoms, preventing further injury, and exploring treatment options tailored to your specific needs.

Remember, early intervention is important when it comes to addressing knitting-related hand pain, so don’t hesitate to reach out for professional help if needed.

Orthopedic specialists can provide valuable insights into the underlying causes of your hand pain and offer guidance on how to modify your knitting technique or posture to reduce strain on your muscles and tendons.

They may also recommend stretching exercises that target specific areas of concern, as well as suggest supportive tools or equipment that can help alleviate stress on your hands while you knit.

Other Treatment Options

Let’s explore some other treatment options that can help alleviate knitting-related hand pain:

  1. Physical Therapy: Working with a physical therapist can be beneficial in relieving pain and improving functionality. They can recommend specific exercises and stretches tailored to your needs.
  2. Medications: Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs or topical creams may provide temporary relief from pain and inflammation. However, consult with a healthcare professional before starting any medication.
  3. Splints or Braces: Wearing splints or braces can provide support and stability to the affected area, reducing strain on the tendons and promoting healing.
  4. Heat/Cold Therapy: Applying heat or cold packs to the affected area can help reduce swelling and relieve pain. Experiment with both methods to see which one works best for you.
  5. Rest and Activity Modification: Taking regular breaks from knitting activities allows your hands time to rest and recover. Adjusting your knitting technique or posture may also help prevent further strain on your tendons.
Can knitting cause tendonitis?

Importance of Early Intervention

Early intervention is crucial when it comes to knitting-related tendonitis. The sooner you address the pain and discomfort in your hands, wrists, or thumbs, the better chance you have of preventing further damage and long-term complications.

Ignoring or downplaying your symptoms can lead to worsened pain, limited mobility, and even permanent damage. By seeking professional help early on, you can receive proper diagnosis, treatment options, and guidance on how to manage your condition effectively.

Remember that taking action now can make a significant difference in your knitting journey and overall hand health. So don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you’re experiencing any signs of tendonitis from knitting.

Before you go…

In conclusion, knitting can indeed cause tendonitis. It’s important for knitters to be aware of the potential risks and take steps to prevent and manage hand pain. By practicing proper technique, taking breaks, and seeking professional help when needed, knitters can continue enjoying their craft while minimizing the risk of developing tendonitis.

Stay healthy and keep on knitting!


1. Can knitting cause tendonitis?

Yes, repetitive motions involved in knitting can put strain on the tendons and muscles, potentially leading to tendonitis.

2. What are the symptoms of tendonitis from knitting?

Symptoms of tendonitis from knitting may include pain, swelling, tenderness, stiffness, and difficulty moving the affected area.

3. How can I prevent tendonitis while knitting?

To prevent tendonitis while knitting, take regular breaks to rest your hands and wrists, stretch before and after sessions, use ergonomic tools or accessories designed for knitters, and maintain proper posture.

4. What should I do if I develop tendonitis from knitting?

If you develop tendonitis from knitting, it’s important to rest the affected area, apply ice packs to reduce swelling and pain, use over-the-counter pain medications if necessary (under doctor’s guidance), and seek medical advice if symptoms persist or worsen.

5. Can I continue knitting with tendonitis?

It is best to avoid strenuous activities like knitting when you have active symptoms of tendonitis. Give your body time to heal by resting the affected area until you receive appropriate medical advice or clearance from a healthcare professional.

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