Health & Knitting

Published on October 11th, 2017 | by Rosie


Knitting and Arthritis

For the majority of you reading this blog, knitting is a major passion. A way to unwind. Your daily pleasure, perhaps. For someone suffering with the pain and discomfort of arthritis, you’d think that knitting would be one of the least likely hobbies that they’d be able to continue with. However, these days there are many ways and reasons to help people with arthritis to carry on knitting, and comfortably. If you’re not so sure, don’t stop reading just yet.


How can I stretch my hands before knitting?

Here are a few stretches you can do to help prevent pain before, during, and after knitting:


Through studies carried out by Stitchlinks, their research shows that many consider knitting as a distraction, focus and alleviation from pain, low mood and stress. Knitting is seen as a simple yet effective form of meditation and stimulation, which anyone can dip in and out of and quickly see the results for themselves. This in turn motivates progress and empowers the knitter. Plus it distracts and relieves them from even more of their aches and pains. So here are a few tips to help make things a little easier.

  • Hold your hands in warm water for a while before picking up the needles.
  • Knitting in short bursts and not overdoing it, will build up your overall stamina.
  • Some very gentle hand exercises may help alleviate some of the joint pain, if practiced frequently over time.
  • Try using alternative needles to metal. Bamboo and birch would be much better as they are lighter and warmer to the touch.
  • Stick to using wool and wool blends because they’re easier to manoeuvre due to their elasticated properties.
  • Knit flat on a circular needle so that the weight of your knitting doesn’t put strain on your wrists.

knitting aid

For those looking for an implement to help, The Knitting Aid is a wooden, cushioned and specifically designed invention to relieve the discomfort and awkwardness from knitting. This product is also suitable for those who have sustained loss of movement in one arm. Keeping the supplied knitting needles in position when a break is needed, is just one of the perks. It’s also designed so that it can be flipped it over in order to start a new row, rather than change needles.

So if you or someone you know loves to knit but reluctantly feels like giving in to arthritis, then please don’t give up just yet. Give our ideas a whirl, but be good to yourself. We’d love to hear about your experiences, and what you think of the points we’ve raised.

About the Author

loves changing her hair colour, buttons and the rain. As a relatively new knitter with an Interior Design background, she loves to make cushion covers using chunky yarn. Especially colourful ones.

Last updated: November 15th, 2017.

9 Responses to Knitting and Arthritis

  1. Judy says:

    Thank you these tips have made my day!

  2. Brigid says:

    I switched from Continental to Portuguese knitting style because of my arthritis and it has made all the difference. I can now knit for hours without pain.

  3. Gill says:

    This gives me hope. Have almost given up trying to knit. I learnt 70 years ago and it became a way of life. Will try the exercises and advice. Thank you.

  4. Wendy says:

    Thank you for this, will be a great advantage to me if I do get diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis as I am currently being tested for x

  5. Debbie M says:

    Thank you for these tips, I have rheumatoid disease and I find that knitting does help my joint pain but I can’t knit for very long before the pain starts again. Never thought about using wool and also not metal needles, they do seem to make my pain worse. I will surely do these warm up exercises before beginning tonight. I’m so glad I happened on this site.

  6. Sandra says:

    That’s so helpful I have arthritis in my wrist so I’m hoping this will be helpful information thank you so much

  7. Grete Evans says:

    Changing to circular needles made a huge difference to me – I can knit for a good while without strain.

    Another thing I’ve recently found useful is half finger gloves – keeps your fingers warmer so they don’t stiffen as much. Love the look of the Knitting Aid – when my hands get worse or I really need to use straight needles, that could be a winner!

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  9. Mrs. Keri Colburn says:

    First let me say,
    Hello and introduce myself,
    I’m a 47 yr old female whose been back and forth from crocheting from age ( 5) or higher and then, be4 my mom passed away, she taught me how to knit.
    I’ve given up both since I’ve been diranoted ( sorry) for spelling with carpal tunnel and twigger fingers on not just 1 hand, it now BOTH.
    And talking about being in pain.
    But anyway. I’ve just started knitting early this morning around,
    2-5 since my hand was and still is Throbbing.
    I’m waiting to hear when I’m going to be put on the list for surfy.
    When my hands get realllly. Cold, I run warn water over them. I hope alllll of y’all have a happy and healthy holidays.

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