Stretches to Beat Hand Stiffness

Sometimes you just get in the zone, right? You're making major progress your current knitting or crocheting project — and oof, 2, 3, 4 hours have passed and now something is starting to ache, from your pinky to your palm. But don’t worry, crafters! Keeping on top of any pains by doing these few, um, handy exercises can prevent pain, promote flexibility, and increase circulation. You'll be able to binge-craft to your heart's content.

Wrist and forearm stretches

  1. Sit a few feet from a table, extend your arms and press your fingers up towards the ceiling, against the edge of the table. You’ll keep your wrist bent, in a “L” shape. Hold for 5-10 seconds, then mix it up by doing the same stretch with your fingers pointed toward the floor. Repeat for as long as you’d like.
  2. Once you’ve got that down, try sitting on the floor and stretching your forearms by placing your palms against the floor.
  3. Now, try this one while standing: use one hand to carefully pull your other hand back toward your body.

Hand stretches


  1. Interlace your fingers with your palms facing away from you, then extend your arms out. Hold this stretch for 5-10 seconds. Rest and repeat.
  2. Using your left hand, grasp one finger at a time from the base of your right hand and gently pull back to stretch. Repeat using your right hand to pull.
  3. Place your hand on the edge of a table, with your palm down. Use the other hand to rotate your thumb clockwise, then counterclockwise. Repeat with your left hand on the table.

Overall hand health

Putting aside the stuff you pick up at the craft store, your hands are pretty much THE most important tool you use while knitting or crocheting. To keep them in fighting shape, keep the following in mind:

  • Every time you sit down to knit or crochet, start with a hand-stretching exercise.
  • When you know you’ll be crafting for hours on end, set a timer for every 30 or 60 minutes to remind yourself to stop and stretch.
  • If you’re still looking for relief, try ergonomic tools. Then you’ll be able to hold your tool in a more natural pose and reduce strain.
  • Try ice or ice baths (10-second dips in ice water) for sore joints.
November 10, 2013
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Stretches to Beat Hand Stiffness