Can knitting cause tendonitis in thumb?

You may have DeQuervain tenosynovitis, a common treatable condition that results from inflammation of the tendons in your thumb. Have any of you ever had to deal with a tissue-related injury? I was diagnosed with De Quervain's tenosynovitis (also known as mom's thumb or texting thumb, but mine is almost certainly due to tissue) and I've tried to reduce the amount I weave, but it doesn't seem to help me. Using your thumbs to work by hand, such as crocheting and knitting, can cause the joint where the thumb joins the hand to wear and tear. This joint is called the carpometacarpal joint, or CMC.

The CMC is the joint that allows the thumb to move in all kinds of directions while using a crochet hook or a knitting needle. The CMC joint is sometimes referred to as a “universal joint” because of the wide range of motion possible. If your hands get tired and stiff constantly after each knitting session, the ergonomic quick-knit method may be just what you need to make your fabric comfortable again. If only I had a crystal ball that could tell me if taking a break would help in the long run, or just knit a couple of days a week.

Some styles wrap the stitch backwards for efficiency, requiring the knitter to compensate for each stitch backwards by reorienting each stitch so that it doesn't twist. It really sucks if you have to leave it permanently, so it would definitely give your body a chance to heal (and find any other movement that might exacerbate it in your daily life) before making a decision because sometimes all it needs is a few weeks of serious non-woven time. Braces can help keep the wrist straight, and learning different techniques and knitting styles can also be beneficial, as it allows for more types of positioning on the wrists and hands. If you try to remove the fabric from your head for two weeks, you will give up and do it again, so don't try to stop knitting everything related to knitting, just stop knitting.

While tendonitis and tendinosis can manifest in almost any area of the body, weavers have their own special brand of tendinitis; known as tenosynovitis, or more specifically Quervain's tenosynovitis, this injury is characterized by inflammation of the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist. You can also try changing the knitting styles so that you may hold the yarn with your other hand to give the dominant hand a rest. I have been a weaver since my teens, but not until I finished my second novel, The Immortalists, my sporadic hobby became a full-fledged obsession. Although not caused by knitting and crocheting, these yarn crafts can exacerbate arthritis in your hands or other joints (for example, if you sit too long).

When my hands became stiff and tired from knitting, I found that much of that fatigue was caused by the movements I used to make my stitches. FWIW, I have tendon and joint problems and I can no longer do two-color work, since it's too hard for my right hand. Not only that, but learning to knit in general can be difficult for most, so successfully mastering the art of knitting can make you feel very proud. Most weaving styles can get fast with years of practice, but they often use unnecessary, non-ergonomic movements.

Good daylight is certainly the best light to work with, but many knitters only have time at night to sit and knit or crochet.

Jane MacDonald
Jane MacDonald

I am of the author and owner of I Love Knitting. I first learned to knit when I was around five years old, and stop doing it when I hit my teens! I than picked it back up when I had my first child, and have since taught all three of my children to knit.

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