3 Ways to Prevent Hand Cramps When Crocheting


Crocheting has lots of health benefits. However, it can also cause some problems. All crochet crafters have probably experienced hand cramps while working on their projects. It’s a pretty common problem especially when you get too involved in a project and you won’t stop until you feel the pain in your hands.

Some people may wonder if crocheting is terrible for their hands. The answer is no. However, crocheting will require self-care to prevent hand pain when working on a crochet project.

Repeating the same motion several times without giving yourself a break can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Using thin hooks and holding your crochet hook too tightly can also contribute to the dreaded crocheting pain.

Yes, it can sound scary, but you can definitely prevent these snags by adjusting your technique, taking breaks, and exercise or stretching.

Ways to Prevent Hand Cramps When You are Crocheting

Keep in mind that crocheting should not cause you any pain. If you are feeling even just a little discomfort, take a rest and stretch, or you can adjust your technique. Any hobby or craft that uses fine motor skills can also cause the same fatigue and pains.

1.    Correct Posture and Hand Position

Figuring out how to alleviate hand pain can be as simple as going back to your crochet basics. You have to listen to your body. If you are feeling uncomfortable, change your position – from the style of your hook to how you hold your wrists, it all matters. If you feel achy or stiff when you get up, you can try these techniques:

  • Keep Your Wrist Straight – Observe your wrist while you crochet or even if you are not crocheting. Is it flexed, or straight? If your wrist is flexed, it can be hard to straighten it up. You can try using a wrist guard or brace to help keep your wrist correctly aligned.
  • Perfect Posture – The perfect posture us a balance between being rigid and slouching, which can be hard to find. However, once you do find it, you will notice a great relief from pain in just about any part of your body. Do not press your elbows into the chair or tense your shoulders while you crochet. You have to sit straight. Don’t lean too forward, though, for this will hurt your neck. You can try using pillows or adjust your support to find the perfect position.
  • Hook Holding – You have to be aware of how you hold your hook, for this can be a primary reason for hand pain. Several crochet hooks are made to help with hand pain through their shape, thickness, and cushion. You can try other brands and see which of them offers the most comfort for your taste. What you can also do is add a pencil grip to your hooks. You can opt to buy ergonomic hooks, as well, that are specially created to fit the shape of your hands naturally.

2.    Take a Break

Taking a break is one of the most important things you can do to prevent crochet-related pain. Taking a rest will actually make you more productive. Taking a break once in a while will keep you fresh, and you will not be wrestling with the pain afterward.

  • Prevention is Key – Do not wait until you feel your hands in pain to stop working. You may feel unstoppable on some days, which may tempt you to dive yourself too much into a project. You have to bear in mind that it will not be worth the hand cramps that will catch up to you. You can schedule breaks every hour or so to make sure that you stay fresh, strong, and healthy.
  • Rest Your Hands – How long a break should last and when to take it will vary from person to person. Whether you take an hour or 30 minutes will depend on how you feel and on your body. You have to give your hands rest and time to recover from doing repetitive movements and being in the same spot for a long time.
  • Get Up and Move It – During breaks, don’t just sit around; get up and move. You can walk around the house so increased oxygen will start flowing in your body, your blood will pump, and your energy will be revitalized.

3.    Build Strength and Endurance

The muscles in your wrist and hands are just as equally important as your biceps and triceps are. When you build up your capability to crochet longer, your tendency to feel your hand cramping is less likely to happen.

You can introduce exercises and stretches that will concentrate on your strength. When your fingers are more flexible and are accustomed to working through all sorts of motions, they will be more reliable and stronger.

  • Start Small – You can start with shorter periods and smaller patterns to prepare yourself for larger projects. You have to train yourself with good posture and grip. When the time comes for you to finish a big project, you’ll be well-prepared.
  • Stretch – Before you start crocheting and during breaks, stretch your hands. You can spread your fingers, roll your wrists around, shake your hands to get your blood flowing, or spreading your fingers then making a pinching motion many times. You can also do the fist motion and release.
  • Flex Against Fatigue – Exercising is still one of the best ways to prevent hand cramps and fight fatigue. Wrist and hand exercises are as important as stretches. You can do wrist curls using hand weighs or a stress ball to make your hands and fingers stronger. There are many ways you can flex your fingers, such as doing push-ups for your hands. You can also try putting your hands flat on the table and then spread or lift your fingers repeatedly. It will get your fingers used to repeated motions, and you will be able to handle wider movements.
  • Stretch Your Whole Body – Don’t just exercise your hands; you have to move your whole body, as well, especially your back and shoulders. Just because the pain you experience is in your hands does not mean that other parts of your body are not contributing to that feeling of discomfort. You can try to rotate your head as if it’s on a swivel, link your hands and stretch them out, or roll your shoulders. They are just some of the several ways that can help relieve tension from staying in one position for too long.
  • Try Cooling or Heating Pads – They can also help in relieving pain just like they would if you have back pain.

Ways to Exercise Your Fingers and Hands

If your hand cramps get in the way with your crocheting or other tasks, the right exercises will help get your hands and fingers back in motion. Exercising your hands and fingers can also help strengthen them and increase your motion range.

Make a Fist

You can start with this simple stretch exercise for your hands and fingers.

  1. Wrap your thumb across your fingers and make a gentle fist.
  2. Hold it for thirty to sixty seconds, release, and then widely spread your fingers.
  3. Repeat the stretch exercise with both hands for at least 4 times.

Finger Stretch

This stretch will help improve your hand’s motion range and relieve pain.

  1. Lay your hand palm down on a flat surface.
  2. Straighten your fingers gently as flat as you can against the flat surface without forcing your joints.
  3. Hold it for thirty to sixty seconds, then release.
  4. Repeat the stretch exercise at least 4 times for each hand.

Claw Clench

This stretch will help improve the motion range of your fingers.

  1. Hold your hand out and make sure your palm facing you.
  2. Bend your fingers so your fingertips would touch the base of the finger joints. Your hands should look like a claw.
  3. Hold the position for 30-60 seconds and then release. Repeat the stretch exercise for at least 4 times for each hand.

Strengthening Your Grip

This exercise will help make it easier for you to hold things without dropping them. You can use a softball for this exercise.

  1. Hold the softball in your palm. Squeeze the ball as hard as you can.
  2. Squeeze for a few seconds and then release.
  3. Repeat the exercise 10-15 times on each hand. You can perform this exercise 2- 3 times a week. Remember to rest your hands for 2 days in between sessions. If your thumb joint is damaged, avoid this exercise.

Strengthening Your Pinch

This exercise will help strengthen your finger and thumb muscles.

  1. Pinch some putty or a soft foam ball between the tips of your thumb and your fingers.
  2. Hold the position for 30-60 seconds.
  3. Repeat the exercise 10-15 times on each hand. You can perform this exercise 2- 3 times a week. Remember to rest your hands for 2 days in between sessions. If your thumb joint is damaged, avoid this exercise.

Finger Lift

This exercise will help increase the flexibility and range of motion in your fingers.

  1. Place your hand palm down, flat on the table or any flat surface.
  2. Lift one finger gently at a time, then lower it.
  3. You can lift your fingers and thumbs all at once, as well, then lower them.
  4. Repeat the exercise eight to twelve times on each hand.

Thumb Extension

This exercise will help strengthen your thumb muscles and make it easier for you to grab and lift things.

  1. Put your hand palm down and flat on the table. Use a rubber band and wrap it around your hand. Place it at the base of your finger joints.
  2. Move your thumb away gently from your fingers as far as possible.
  3. Hold the position for 30-60 seconds and then release.
  4. Repeat the exercise 10-15 times on each hand. You can perform this exercise twice or thrice a week. Remember to rest your hands for 2 days in between sessions.

Thumb Flex

This exercise will help increase your thumb’s motion range.

  1. Have your hand palm up, out in front of you.
  2. Extend your thumb as far as you can, and away from your other fingers, and then bend your thumb across your palm and make sure it touches your small finger’s base.
  3. Hold the position for 30-60 seconds.
  4. Repeat the exercise at least 4 times for both thumbs.

Thumb Touch

This exercise will help increase your thumb’s range of motion. It helps with activities such as picking up a fork and spoon, crochet hooks, or pens.

  1. Hold your hand out and in front of you, and your wrist should be straight.
  2. Touch your thumb to each fingertip, one at a time, forming the shape of an “O.”
  3. Hold each stretch for 30-60 seconds. Repeat the exercise 4 times for each hand.

Thumb Stretches

This exercise will help strengthen your thumb joints.

  1. Hold your hand out, and with your palm facing you. Bend the tip of your thumb down gently toward your index finger’s base. Hold the position for 30-60 seconds, and then release. Repeat the exercise 4 times for each hand.
  2. Hold your hand out, and with your palm facing you. Stretch your thumb gently across your palm with the use of your lower thumb joint. Hold the position for 30-60 seconds, and then release. Repeat the exercise 4 times for each hand.

The Flashback

This exercise will help strengthen your hand muscles and increase their range of motion.

  1. Grab some Play-Doh and begin building.

Wrist Extension and Flexion

  1. Place your forearm on a table. Use a rolled-up towel as a padding for your wrist. Make sure your hand is hanging off the table’s edge, and your palm is down.
  2. Move your hand up until you feel a stretch.
  3. Return to your starting position
  4. Repeat the same movements with your elbow bent and your palm facing up.
  5. Repeat the exercise a few times for each hand.

Wrist Supination/Pronation

  1. Sit or stand with your arm at the side. Bend your elbows 90 degrees with your palm facing down.
  2. Rotate your forearm so your palm faces up and down when you rotate your forearm again.
  3. Repeat the exercise a few times for each arm.

Wrist Radial/Ulnar Deviation

  1. Support your forearm with a rolled-up towel as padding on a table or you can use your knee. Make sure your thumb is in the upward position.
  2. Move your wrist up and down as far as you can.
  3. Repeat the exercise a few times for each hand.

Hand and Finger Tendon Glide

  1. Begin with your fingers extended straight out.
  2. Make a hook fist, then return to the straight hand position.
  3. Make a full fist, then return to the straight hand position.
  4. Make a straight fist, then return to the straight hand position.

Wrist Rolls

  1. Create a soft fist with your hands.
  2. Roll your wrists in circles around ten times in each direction.
  3. Bring your inner wrists together, and your fingertips should gently touch each other.
  4. Begin to roll your inner hands to your outer hands, making a circle toward the away from you.
  5. Your inner wrists will touch, then your outer wrists will also touch while your fingers are following the movement.
  6. Repeat the exercise at least 10 times.

Finger, Wrist, Shoulder Stretch

  1. Interlace your fingers together, and then stretch your arms out with your palms facing away from you.
  2. Concentrate on lengthening your inner elbows while your shoulders are pressed down.
  3. Hold the position for 20 seconds, then reach over your head, with your fingers still interlaced and your palms facing the sky.
  4. Draw your arms back with your shoulders still pressed down. You have to keep your core muscles engaged so your ribs won’t move forward.
  5. Don’t forget to breathe.
  6. Do each stretch two times for about twenty to thirty seconds.

Exercise Tips

If your fingers and hands feel stiff and painful, you can try warming them up prior to exercising. Doing this will make it easier for you to stretch and move. You can use a heating pad or soak your hands in warm water for around 5 to 10 minutes. If you want a deeper warmth, you can rub oil in your hands, then put on a pair of rubber gloves, then soak your hands in warm water for some minutes.

Final Thoughts

It is crucial that you also take care of your hand when you are crocheting. You also have to be aware that hand cramps can also be caused by an underlying condition. When the exercises and tips mentioned don’t seem to work, it would be best to consult a physician. The pain you feel in your hands might need medical intervention.

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