Knitting can help the arthritic person.
Arthritis is a painful disease which attacks the joints in our bodies. People who have arthritis notice swelling and stiffness in these areas. Due to this discomfort, many think they need to give up activities that are loved, such as knitting. Even when joints are inflamed it is important to keep moving. Knitting is one way to help keep the fingers moving in a gentle way. Keep in mind that if you are in pain, you can put the knitting aside until later.
If you are having a hard time knitting, try a different kind of needle. Working with bamboo or plastic are lighter options in weight and are warmer to the touch than aluminum needles are. Use circular needles instead of straight needles to help move the weight of the material to the lap instead of the hands and wrists.
Knit with wool or wool blends. These materials are more flexible than cotton or other fibers which is easier move around and places less stress on the joints.
Wear compression or fingerless gloves when knitting. Compression gloves add stability to the joints while still allowing the fingers and thumb the ability to move. Opt for fingerless gloves if compression glove are not comfortable, the warmth on the joint will help with the pain.
Use a knitting loom or knitting machine instead of needles. These still allow the knitter to do their craft, just in another way. Use of a knitting loom still requires some dexterity, but it is a different movement that may not aggravate the joints. Push the shuttle across the board to make stitches with a knitting machine; if a variety of stitches are involved, there is some manipulation required.
Staying active has value beyond meeting physical needs. Because people who have arthritis are likely to experience depression, becoming involved or continuing hobbies is important for well-being.
If knitting causes pain, there are ways to minimize it. Do your knitting immediately after you take your pain medication or at a time of day when you feel better. Also using a heat treatment before the activity and taking frequent breaks to stretch your hands and fingers can help.
There are also some knitting aids available on the market such as:
Clamp-It … an adjustable craft tool holder designed for use by individuals with use of only one hand, arthritis, or fine motor or physical disabilities. Clamp-It is mounted on four suction cups, and can be used vertically or horizontally to hold an item in a fixed position.
Knit-One is another knitting Aid designed for use by individuals with use of only one hand. The unit clamps to a table or a suitable chair arm. The user adjusts the top to the desired knitting angle and slides the needle into position for knitting. The device holds the stitches in position on the clamped needle. The yarn can easily be moved along the needle. The kit comes with an instruction booklet, 1 clamp and 3 pairs of handmade steel knitting needles.
Helping Hands Knitting Aid. The new and inventive solution for knitters seeking that extra little ‘Helping Hand’. Its simple and effective design lets you remain in control of your knitting. Padded support for your wrists whilst you knit. Let go of your needles and they stay where you left them. End of the row? Simple, turn Helping Hands over once and your needles swap.
Pen & Pencil Cushion. Helpful for arthritis or other dexterity challenges.Builds up the pen/pencil for improving the grip comfortable to use with knitting needles, too. Helpful in relieving the pain of arthritis, use the Pen/Pencil Cushions when you need a little extra help grasping the knitting needles.
Square Knitting Needles keep your hands from hurting during long knitting sessions they are easier on your hands if you have arthritis, stiffness in fingers, or even carpal tunnel syndrome and are ergonomically a better fit for the human hand.
Susan Bates Luxite 14-Inch Jiffy Knitting Needles are knitting designed for use by individuals with arthritis. These extra-thick, brightly-colored single-point needles are made from Luxite plastic, and are lightweight, durable, and warm to the touch.
Pain isn’t the only limitation. Problems with strength, grip, and range of motion are important factors also. But if you’re willing to modify your activities and learn to use adaptive devices, experts say the benefits are worth it.