Essential Ergonomic Stretches for Knitters!

Do you ever get so involved in a knitting or crochet project that you forget to take breaks?  Then when you do eventually get up you are stiff and sore? That is not good! We need to take care of our bodies that we love to use as non-stop knitting/crocheting machines.

The time to start caring for our most important knitting tool (our bodies) is before we develop any injuries.  It’s much more pleasant to be proactive rather than spend time recovering when we can’t indulge in our favorite activity.

Carson Demers, a physical therapist, an ergonomist, and an avid knitter has come to our rescue by authoring an extensive book just for us.  Knitting Comfortably, The Ergonomics of Handknitting is exactly what we need to keep us knitting happily into our twilight years.

This is a thorough book, explaining the hows and whys of knitting ergonomically.  Amidst the valuable information in this book, Carson gives us many practical suggestions and describes how to prevent repetitive motion injuries.

Today we’re going to go into just a few of the stretches from Carson’s book that will make us more comfortable as we lovingly create our handmade items.

First a few forearm stretches…..

Wrist Flexors


Hold one hand out in front of you with your hand flexed as if to say ‘stop’.  Gently bend that hand back with your other hand. You will feel the stretch in the underside of your forearm.  Then of course repeat on the other side!

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Wrist Extensors

Hold your arms out in front of you at shoulder height and parallel to the floor.  Make soft fists and bend your wrists down toward the floor. Then turn them out to the sides and you’ll feel a stretch along the tops of your forearms.  Keeping the same arm position, bring your arms behind you as you lift your rib cage and feel the awesome stretch while you take a deep breath!

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Now a few stretches for your thumbs and fingers…..

Finkelstein Stretch

Hold your hand out as if ready to shake someone’s hand.  Touch your thumb to your palm near the base of your little finger.  Gently close your fingers around it. Now bend your wrist down. You will feel the stretch along the side of your wrist and thumb.  Don’t forget your other hand!

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Thenar Eminence Stretch

Your thenar eminence is the group of muscles at the base of your thumb.  Hold your hand in an L shape with your thumb pointing down and the back of your hand facing you.  Put your hand in this position on your thigh with your fingers pointing towards your inner thigh and your thumb pointing towards your torso.  Gently push your thumb into your thigh and straighten your elbow. Try to keep your shoulders down! You’ll feel the stretch in your thenar eminence.  This can be the hardest of these stretches and may feel awkward at first.

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Now celebrate doing these stretches with…..

Jazz Hands

Hold your hands overhead, fingers outstretched, and quickly twist your forearms back and forth.  You’ll feel the stretch in your forearms.

These stretches and much more interesting and detailed information can be found in Carson’s book, Knitting Comfortably, The Ergonomics of Handknitting.

Go forth, stretch, and take breaks at least every 20 to 30 minutes to keep knitting happily for a long, long time!