Have you ever been crocheting and suddenly felt a tingling sensation, pain or numbness in the hands or wrists? These are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. So what is carpal tunnel? How can I avoid it while crocheting? Here you’ll find all you need to know about carpal tunnel and crochet!
What is Carpal Tunnel?
Carpal tunnel syndrome gets it name from the carpal tunnel which is a narrow passageway of ligaments and bones located in the wrist and the palm of the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by a pinched nerve called the median nerve. The median nerve runs the entire length of the arm, goes through the carpal tunnel and ends at the base of the hand.
The median nerve is responsible for the movement of all our fingers except the pinky. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when there is excess pressure on the median nerve in the carpal tunnel.
The primary symptoms are pain, numbness, tingling and weakness in the hand and arm. Individual anatomy, a possible underlying illness and of course- repetitive hand and wrist movements like crochet can all cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
Who Can Get Carpal Tunnel?
Almost anyone can get carpal tunnel syndrome! But it does affect some groups of people more than others. People who are very active with their hands either at work or for hobbies suffer from carpal tunnel more often.
Manual activities like knitting, sewing, crocheting and even typing can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Additionally, carpal tunnel is thought to be more common in women because women usually have smaller hands and thus their carpal tunnels are smaller increasing the risk of pressure on the median nerve.
The probability of carpal tunnel also increases with age and is very uncommon in those under 20. In conclusion, the group most affected by carpal tunnel are middle aged to older women who do lots of work with their fingers, hands and wrists.
Will Crocheting Cause Carpal Tunnel?
Crocheting can cause carpal tunnel! The repetitive motions of the hands and wrists needed to crochet can be very intensive, especially the movements of the dominant hand holding the hook. Therefore, crocheting increases your likelihood of getting carpal tunnel syndrome.
As mentioned above there are many factors that contribute to getting carpal tunnel syndrome such as individual anatomy, age and how much you crochet or do other manual activities. In short, crochet can cause carpal tunnel but it depends on every situation and individual.
What To Do If You Feel Like You Are Getting Carpal Tunnel in Crochet
If you start to feel pain, tingling or numbness in the hand or wrist while crocheting it is probably a sign that you are getting carpal tunnel syndrome.
One strategy to combat carpal tunnel is by using ergonomic hooks. Ergonomic hooks are designed with the hand’s anatomy in mind and can alleviate extra stress on the hands. Ergonomic hooks have a special design that is more comfortable to grip and decreases the intensity of the wrist movements. Definitely try switching to ergonomic hooks if you’re not using them already!
Ergonomic crochet hooks are one of the best solutions to prevent and help with carpal tunnel when crocheting.
Another thing to do if you feel like you are getting carpal tunnel is to take a break and stretch the hands, fingers and wrists. If you are prone to carpal tunnel, it is very important to maintain a good posture and to keep your hands warm/ and in an upright position (above the wrists).
Should I Stop Crocheting?
Carpal tunnel is NOT a reason to stop crocheting! Try taking a break for a few hours or even a few days. You can also try icing your hand, or get a wrist brace! Switching your hook to one that feels more comfortable is also very important in order to avoid carpal tunnel.
Some people find wooden ergonomic hooks to be the best while others prefer hooks with a rubber grip. There are so many tools and resources to help with carpal tunnel when crocheting so don’t give up and find what works for you!
Can crochet cause carpal tunnel? Yes. Crocheting definitely increases your risk of experiencing carpal tunnel but it is not the only factor. Carpal tunnel syndrome is very common in people who crochet, especially those who crochet a lot!
Although it can be very uncomfortable, there are many things we can do to combat it. By switching your hooks to more ergonomic designs and materials as well as stretching and taking frequent breaks you can avoid carpal tunnel and simply enjoy your crochet!