Crochet Hand Pain – 5 Ways To Alleviate the Problem

Crochet has been purported to have many health benefits – I can tell you from my own experience that it is one of the ways that I relax and unwind after a long day.

But don’t just take it from me! There have been several studies about the health benefits of crochet:

However, as with any repetitive motion, there is a risk of strain or even injury if proper steps aren’t taken.

There are a few things you can do to help mitigate crochet pain. Today, let’s look at five tools available for crochet-related hand pain relief.

Ergonomic Crochet Hooks and Grips

One of the most common ways to deal with crochet-related hand pain is to make adaptations to the hooks that you use.

Smaller hooks can be hard on your hands so simply choosing projects that use larger hooks can help. Other options are:

Ergonomic crochet hooks are specifically for the purpose of reducing crochet-related hand pain. There are many different brands and styles, so you may need to try out a few different styles to find the right one for you.

There are also lots of custom options for ergonomic hooks, too – here are a few of my favorites!

  • This purple cow-themed hook by Just Craft Along on Etsy is the perfect combo of style and function!
  • I love the look of this ergonomic hook from PJB Boutique on Etsy!

Adding polymer clay handles to your hooks. This makes the hook fatter and easier to grip. Here’s an excellent tutorial from Yay for Yarn on how to make your own – and they’re so cute!

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Pencil grips on crochet hooks. Just adding a pencil grip to your hooks can help make it easier to hold them and put less stress on your hands.

The Right Yarn

If you frequently experience pain when you are crocheting then you might find it worth your effort to play around with different types and weights of yarn.

Some people find that bulkier, smoother yarn will be easier to work with, requiring less effort from the arms and hands and therefore less likely to cause or exacerbate pain.

However, sometimes working with a large hook and larger weight yarn can also exacerbate pain! It all really depends on what you’re more comfortable working with.

A Pillow

Many people have told me that it helps to rest their hands on a pillow or a rolled-up towel or blanket as they crochet.

This helps change where the pressure is placed and relaxes the hands so that they don’t build up tension that causes pain.

Idea: Crochet yourself a pillow that you can use to place your hands on when you crochet future projects!

Rest, Stretch, Exercise

As I mentioned before, crocheting is a repetitive motion that can cause inflammation over time. Crocheting involves rotation of the wrist and movement of the fingers in a repetitive way, which can cause RSI (repetitive strain injury), tennis elbow, or even carpal tunnel.

This can also be exacerbated if you sit with poor posture, or spend most of your day in front of a computer (as many of us do post-pandemic) in a hunched position.

If you find you sit with poor posture, it can be hard to unlearn! You can invest in an ergonomic chair cushion to help alleviate shoulder, back, and leg pain.

It also helps to do body scans and be more mindful of how you sit and hold your body.

Every so often, check in with yourself – are you holding tension in the muscles of your arms, shoulders, or back? If you have a hard time remembering to check in, set an alarm or timer on your phone to help you be more mindful.

If you crochet for long periods of time, it also helps to rest! If you plan to work for an hour, build in a 5 to 10-minute break. Get up, stretch, grab a cup of coffee – give your hands a break.

While you take a quick break, you can also complete some of these wrist exercises designed to help alleviate carpal tunnel pain.

Your Preferred Painkiller

I think it’s important to take all of the actions that you can to prevent and repair the problem that you’re having with pain rather than masking it.

That said, some people do find that chronic pain requires them to take a painkiller, such as aspirin, in addition to the other actions they are taking!

However, if you’ve reached the point where you’re experiencing pain related to crocheting, it may be time to seek help from a professional, like your primary care physician or your chiropractor.

Do your hands, wrists or arms ever hurt from crocheting? What do you do to reduce the pain?

21 thoughts on “Crochet Hand Pain – 5 Ways To Alleviate the Problem”

  1. Whenever I switch from knitting to crochet, I experience some ache in my left hand. I just know that after a day if it hasn’t gone away, I need to give my hand a rest for a while. I love ergonomic hooks, but since I hold the hook in my right hand, not so sure that helps with the left. Just less poking in my palm.

  2. I am interested in any ideas that people want to share to help with wrist and hand pain that occurs when knitting and crocheting. I have a hand injury and am not able to work on things that help sooth me when I am stressed.

  3. I have rheumatoid arthritis and severely splayed fingers on both hands. I don’t have much pain from my right hand holding the hook, but from my index finger on my left hand from holding the yarn. I have learned a modified hold wrapping the yarn around my pinky, under the next finger, and over the middle finger, using my index finger to hold my work as I crochet. Much less stress on that joint.

  4. I really love this video b/c  it REALLY REALLY WORKS on getting rid of shoulder/neck/arm tension. If you look for “Intro to the Essentrics Workout” on youtube this is what I use almost every day.  There’s another one she does for hockey players, but it’s great for us crocheters and anyone who sits all day long as it works the upper legs and hips.  No floor work at all!  They’re only about 12 minutes long each.

  5. my little finger and next finger go numb when I crochet for long periods of time.  My chiropractor says it is coming from my elbow.  Massaging my elbow helps, but sometimes I just have to put my crochet away for a few days.  I  tried crocheting without bending my elbows so much – haha  – I couldn’t do it.  So, I try to take long breaks – like 30 minutes or more – every hour – and that reduces the problem.  Doesn’t make for fast projects, but we do what we have to do.

  6. I just wanted to mention that I used to get horrible hand and arm pain from crochet and knitting despite stretching, using crafter’s gloves, ergonomic hooks, you name it. I was astounded at how quickly this problem resolved when I began doing Bikram Hot Yoga once or twice a week early last year! Between that and taking more frequent breaks, it is rarely a problem anymore. :)

  7. Thank you for this article. I’ve been suffering severe finger, hand, wrist, elbow, arm, shoulder, pectoral, and back pain since the end of October. I’ve attributed this to knitting and using an iPad and iPod. At times drawing, writing, carrying my toddler, pushing stroller, cutting paper, prepping food for meals, even driving has hurt!
    I’ve noticed that laying on couch and watching TV with my head turned at a 33-45 degree angle frustrates the pain. As does laying in bed reading. The pain is mostly on my right side, tho my left side sometimes suffers, too.
    Beyond frustrating.
    My doc advised me to “not do what’s causing the pain” and has prescribed an anti inflammatory. I’ve only knit about 1.5 hours since the end of October. I’m planning to schedule a second follow up appt next week as the pain continues, even tho I’ve extremely reduced my knitting time and reduced the other activities as much as possible. He took blood to screen for several diseases (arthritis, etc), but that bloodwork came back normal.
    I do practice yoga once per week, but found certain poses to be non-tolerAble.
    Recently I wondered if switching back to crochet would help my problems (I crocheted for years before learning knitting). Also I’ve thought about trying. To teach myself to crochet left handed (or knitting in the English style) would help. Have also considered starting to embroider or cross stitch (but think the super small needles would be problematic).
    I haven’t tried the crocheters gloves, but I will look into that.
    As a 36-yo with a healthy yarn stash, a creative mind that won’t be quieted, a growing kid to wrangle, and a modern life to lead, I’m truly hoping to fix this problem. (And wishing that my recent hours-long knitting sessions had been broken up with stretches and rest periods.)
    Ill follow this post with interest to hear others’ tips and stories.

    • Thanks for sharing Beth. It sounds like you’re doing the most important thing which is to pay attention to what your body is telling you and see what aggravates the problem. I need to follow up with Linda to find out if she learned any more from her research into this topic since I first posted it. I’ll definitely continue keeping everyone aware of what potential fixes I find!

  8. I am experiencing numbness in my ring fingers from trying to crochet all of my Christmas presents in time. After doing some research I have read on several websites that taking B12 will help. I sure hope it does.

  9. I just wanted to mention that I used to get horrible hand and arm pain from crochet and knitting despite stretching, using crafter’s gloves, ergonomic hooks, you name it. I was astounded at how quickly this problem resolved when I began doing Bikram Hot Yoga once or twice a week early last year! Between that and taking more frequent breaks, it is rarely a problem anymore.

  10. Using a cloth wrist brace helps support the wrist and keep the muscles in your wrist and hand from over extending. In this way it also helps to stabilize the muscles and is a very effective tool for a lot of crocheters I know. (The brace helps protect against repetitive motion injuries if used on and off throughout the duration of your project. Think of it like an ice pack! 15 minutes on, 15 off., repeat, adjusting time as necessary.)

  11. Does anyone know of any tools or technics to help with keeping tension on the yarn? I am a young woman who has fine motor difficulties. I recently learned to knit using a loom & always wanted to learn how to crochet. Ergonomic crochet hooks & pencil grips are great ideas when it comes to holding the crochet hook, but I’m struggling to find plausible solutions to help with keeping yarn tension (given my fine motor impairments).

  12. I would also be interested in tools or techniques for keeping tension on the yarn and holding the yarn. Due to a nerve problem I lost the use and feeling in three and a half fingers on my left hand. I have not been able to crochet since because I haven’t found a way to hold the yarn and keep the tension on it.

  13. My right thumb bruised down to the joint. Actually turned black an blue. Don’t know what to do except quit Kroger for a while.

  14. Glad I stumbled across this! My mom has extensive pain from crochet, to the point she took 6 months off from doing it. These days she’s slowing easing back into it. For her just taking breaks and shaking her hand out seems to really help. I’ll look into the ergonomic crochet hooks now.


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