How to Hold your Hook and Avoid Pain from Crochet

October 17, 2017

Have you been told to hold your hook as a pencil or maybe as a knife? This might be wrong for you.

How to Hold Your Hook and Avoid Pain

Then, how to hold the hook? And how to avoid pain, if you want to crochet a lot?

If holding the hook in one position works for you, then maybe you can just carry on. but I see a lot of newbies asking how to hold the hook and a lot of experienced crocheters getting hurt from crocheting.

There are several things you can do to avoid the pain:
  • change how you hold the hook
  • sit up straight and relax your shoulders
  • have breaks
  • exercise and stretch
  • get/make a hook handle
  • Most importantly: Don't ignore if your body tells you it hurts.
Some of these points are pretty obvious, though it's probably alright with a reminder. I would also like to add some comments to more of these points.

A physiotherapist once tried to explain to me what happens when we crochet. If I remember it right, some of it is considered 'static movement', even though you move your arm a little all the time. On top of that, you are also repeating the same thing over and over. Both can be pretty hard on your muscles and provoke tensions in your hand, arm and shoulders, plus give you symptoms like pain, numbness and worse.

Change the Grip

The best way to hold your hook is by changing your grip once in a while. Not by holding it in one way and keeping it like that. So, don't favor one way to hold it over another.

I've gotten pretty good at changing my grip and most of the time, I don't have any symptoms from crocheting, though I sometimes don't crochet for days (yes, annoying!) and sometimes crochet a lot for several days in a row. - I still get into trouble doing other things, like pulling up weed for hours or sit in front of the computer reading crochet group posts too much.

So, changing your grip once in a while is one thing you could aim for. It gives your muscles a break in turn and prolong the time you can crochet, without hurting yourself.

Practice, Breaks and Posture

You might be surprised how difficult it is to change the grip. But this is almost like learning a new stitch. You can learn it, if you want to and if you practice!

Practicing a new stitch or how to hold the hook

Practice, whenever you have a project, where a little difference in tension doesn't matter  - maybe while doing a swatch? Practice a short while and change back to your primary grip, when you start feeling tired. Over time you'll get better and you might notice interesting details, like:
  • some stitches work better using one grip over another
  • a grip isn't just a grip. Try stretching some fingers, you normally don't stretch. And move the hook a little forward or backwards.
And have breaks! Lay down your project and have a break maybe as often as every 20-30 minutes. Get up and move, shake and stretch everything before getting back to work. Pet the cat, make coffee, whatever works for you.

...And make sure you sit well, when you get back to your project. Have a pillow in your back or under your arm, if it helps you.

Exercise

If you start feeling pain and discomfort, find exercises on Google that fits you. Search for hand or wrist exercise and stretches. 'Carpal Tunnel syndrome' are also effective keywords to use in a search.

Google search for exercises and stretching

Hook Handle

Another thing that works for more crocheters is to use a hook with a handle. Holding something tiny and light is harder to your hand and fingers, than holding something with more volume and a little more weight.

You can buy hooks with handles at the stores, but if you already have a lot of hooks you like, then you can also make your own handles from polymer clay or simply wrap rubber bands around the hooks. What I like about the rubber bands, is that you can change your handle as you please, which gives you endless possibilities of being kind to yourself. And it doesn't cost much.

Make a hook handle with rubber bands

Most importantly. If the pain doesn't go away, see a doctor. Don't accept the pain, or you risk it being permanent.

Take care of yourself and you will enjoy crocheting even more and for even longer.


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