How to Knit With Arthritis

Updated April 17, 2017

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 is a lighter option in weight and is warmer to the touch than aluminium 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.

Limit the amount of time knitting. Place the knitting aside if your joints start to hurt. The work can be picked up again later.

Knit with wool or wool blends. These materials are more flexible than cotton or other fibres 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.

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About the Author

Kimberly Napier has been an educator since 1997, frequently writing for the classroom. She has also been knitting and crocheting for more than 40 years. Her online writing covers the areas of education, crafts and cooking. Napier holds a Master of Education, as well as a degree in horticulture.