Well, it may not be everyone’s definition of a tragedy, but when I tell you about it I am sure that you will agree with me that it IS a tragedy.

Both my thumb joints — the carpometacarpal joint, to be precise — are painful. And guess what irritates them? Knitting!


You may remember that I had this problem with my left thumb last winter after knitting a pair of mittens out of bulky yarn on US#9 needles. Well, now it’s bilateral.


Of course, I currently have about six projects OTN and another six in my head waiting to be knit, not to mention a couple Christmas presents in process. Those are all gonna be on hold.


Given that my left carpometacarpal joint never completely healed after last winter’s injury, even though I gave it four days — FOUR DAYS! — without knitting, I suspect I may be on the injured reserve list for awhile this time if I expect to ever knit again.


I searched YouTube for another way to hold my needles so as not to stress my thumb. What I found seemed to indicate that I could save my left thumb but altering its position, but the right one has to grip the needle the way that I already do.

I wonder if I could crochet instead…



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14 Responses to Tragedy!

  1. Rhonda says:

    I have this pain from crocheting (because of the way I hold the fabric between my thumb and middle finger. I don’t have this pain knitting continental. Good luck.

  2. Kat with a K says:

    There should be a dislike button for this post, because I am disliking this news LOTS!

  3. Silvernfire says:

    Oh yeah. *That* joint. I don’t know about you, but crocheting stresses my left carpometacarpal joint worse than knitting does. Bulky knitting stresses it worse than knitting with lighter yarns, too: I am limiting myself to only two rows at a time on the super-bulky project I’m currently working on.

    This book is not out yet, so I can’t tell you if it’s any good, but I took both of Carson Demers’s ergonomics classes at Yarnover. I remember he suggested switching between projects of multiple weights (I’m alternating that super-bulky project with a lace weight project).

  4. Carole says:

    Oh, man, that blows! But time out sounds like a good idea so that you don’t permanently injure yourself.

  5. Diane says:

    On no, unfair! Without knitting you’re going to get in trouble for sure!!

  6. gayle says:

    Well, i could certainly add a few words to your List of Words to Say Vehemently. Crochet might be worth a try, since the grip is different. Or, you know, quilting… 8)
    In the meantime, REST those weary thumbs. Now is a good time to plan projects and rework your queue so you’re ready for happier thumb days. (And now I’ve got a princess singing “Thumb day, my knits will come…” stuck in my head. Argh. )

  7. I sometimes have to go down to a very small needle size and fingering weight if that happens to me. SORRY

  8. k says:

    Yes. Both thumbs. Plus a creeping case of carpal tunnel (alliteration!). I have holiday ornaments to knit, to say nothing of the Wonder Woman Shawl and a saddle-shoulder cardigan.

  9. Deb in PA says:

    Rest, ice and bengay (or whatever you use). Mine flares up when I’m knitting socks a lot. I knit continental, so it’s not too bad, but rest is the best thing unfortunately. The good thing is that you’ll have time to read your backlog of books.

  10. Mary Jo says:

    I am so sorry to read about your pain. I totally understand. Another problem may be computer time. Can you type, use you iPad and other devises? You may need to dictate posts. I suggest a cleaning lady weekly to help rest your hands. Stick a straw in your bottle of wine so you don’t have to grip a wine glass stem. Also, ice several times a day, especially if you start thinking about doing something involving work. Good luck.

  11. highlyreasonable says:

    Well, crap. This is indeed a tragedy. I’ve got one-sided thumb pain if I knit a lot, and I’ve found that with ice, ibuprofen, and Aspercreme (it’s an external otc salicylate rub that works really well for me) I can knit again within a day or two. Here’s hoping your pain is short-lived. (Love the cleaning lady and straw in the wine bottle suggestions!)

  12. Becky says:

    I hear macrame is making a comeback…

  13. Nicole says:

    Oh no! I had elbow pain a while back (also aggravated by knitting) but I was able to shift the way I held my needles to not hurt as much. Thumbs sound much trickier to get around. 😦 Feel better soon!

  14. Mary Lou says:

    May I suggest acupuncture and a knowledgable body worker on top of rest? Email me if you need a recommendation. My guy knows lots of people.

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