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Tips for Getting Back to Knitting after an Injury

Do you remember when I severely cut my thumb?

Three months later, I still only have partial sensation on my right thumb. And I’m right handed. The doctor told me that it might take a full year for the nerves to completely heal.

But you won’t catch me complaining… it could have been much worse. Did you know more than 500 Americans lose a limb every day? My numb thumb is a piece of cake.

Tips for Getting Back to Knitting/Crocheting

There are still some things I can’t do. I definitely notice that my hand is ‘not normal’. But I’d like to share a few insights that will help you get back on the path to knitting/crocheting as quickly as possible after an injury.

Talk to your doctor

This may sound obvious, but your doctor is the best one to advise you on treatments/therapy you should be doing to recover after your injury. Don’t hesitate to mention that you have a needlework hobby! A doctor may automatically ask about your line of work… and forget to ask about other goals you may have.

doctor illustration

It’s completely okay to say, “I crochet as a hobby, do you have recommendations for improving my fine motor skills?” Vanessa from MMAAC recommends bringing a notebook with you that contains questions you have for your doctor.

Accept the ‘New Normal’

For now, I can’t lift items one-handedly (at least, not reliably!) and I find myself relying more on my left hand. I’m very fortunate that for the most part, I can knit and crochet similarly to how I did before.

If that isn’t true for you, it might be time to have a talk with yourself about your expectations. You can only do what you can do, and lamenting over your loss of ability is only going to cause heartache.

Set Reasonable Goals

Think about where you’d like to be (remembering what’s reasonable!) and create concrete steps you can do to get there. Physical therapy may be a component of this.

goal setting

Can you crochet for 5 minutes a day? Do it consistently, and you might find yourself at 10 minutes. Baby steps.

Research Alternative Techniques

There’s more than one way to knit! If an injury is plaguing you, look into other techniques that may be more comfortable. Is your Tennis Elbow making knitting a pain? Perhaps knitting continental (holding the yarn in your left hand) is less painful.

holding crochet hook like a pencil

Or maybe try holding your crochet hook a different way? Or swap to an ergonomic hook? There are lots of possibilities!

Reach out to Chat

Don’t be afraid to be open about your injury- you never know when a game-changing suggestion will come your way! There are a number of Ravelry Groups dedicated to particular injuries… you never know where you’ll find a great suggestion that will help!

Have you had an injury?

Did it affect your knitting/crocheting? Any recovery tips you’d like to share?



  1. sam chamblin SAYS...

    I hurt my shoulders in the army and I can only crochet for about an hour at a time then I have to take breaks. I always write down where I am on the pattern and use a row counter. If I stop in the middle of the pattern I write that down as well because I some times forget.

  2. Amy Williams SAYS...

    I can totally identify I burned my left thumb badly last year in the middle of a project. Very hard to continue working while healing. Glad to say I’m back in business and have made 6 crocheted hats this winter as well as scarves and cowls and finished my knitting project which was put on hold due to injury. Hang in there!

  3. Rachel SAYS...

    First of all, I hope that your thumb continues to heal. What a timely post. Several weeks ago, I developed an odd form of eczema on my left index finger, which has made knitting continental impossible. I was really sad for a few days, then decided to learn pit knitting/lever knitting. Boy, was it a struggle at first, but I more or less have the hang of it now and am very thankful I found a way to keep knitting. I still can’t use that one finger, which does make holding and maneuvering the left needle more difficult, but I make it work. My finger has been far from fun, but thankfully it’s more an inconvenience than anything, and on the bright side, it inspired me to learn a whole new way to knit! (FYI I’m right handed. If this had happened to my right hand, I would need disability accommodations for school, etc).

    • Cella SAYS...

      Hey maybe learning to knook would help you? It comes in a little kit..& only uses one needle/hook combo that has a hole in it you tie a thread to so your work slides over it instead of having to hold or maneuver it awkwardly or worry about dropping stitches lol. It’s how i first learned to knit & even though I now know the ‘normal’ way I still much prefer it. I have tendinitis & my hands cramp or fall asleep almost instantly if they’re held above heart level so knitting can be super painful.

  4. Mariana SAYS...

    This topic really hits me 🙂
    I’m a Dentist that loves to crochet and knit, so I use my hands an elbow all day long…
    Almost a year ago, I had an elbow surgery for a compressed ulnar nerve, this was caused by chronic tendinitis. I had every day therapy for 2 months, then I went back to work, but I had to wait to grab my hook for another 2 months.
    I’m crocheting since July, but I had to slow down my production, I had to rest and stretch more, and if I do amis, I can’t do them as fast as I did them before. The good news is that I DO CHOCHET AND KNIT!!! I just have to do it taking more care of myself.
    Big hugs from Chile

    • Anonymous SAYS...

      I broke elbow mine have screws and wire hopeful to crochet again

  5. Mary J. Achilles SAYS...

    I had surgery on my left thumb joint. After my 6 weeks of healing, I still had quite a lot of soreness when I tried to knit. I was told to just knit for 10 or 15 minute intervals until the strength came back. Happily, I am back to knitting as I used to.


  6. Julie/Tanknit SAYS...

    I crocheted a childs hat a week prior to the Ravellenic Games, and my left thumb joint flared up. I was able to finish knitting one small toy for the games, but my sock project had to be cut short due to my flared thumb joint. I let it rest and I did knit a little here and there. It is still aching, and I figure arthritis is probably settling in. I am not sure what I can do for that, but it worries me that I may have to cut out my needlework hobby in the near future.

  7. Liz SAYS...

    After I started making amigurumis I made so many of them that my right hand started hurting. I thought I’d “ride it out” and continued instead of resting, and ended up getting tendonitis in my thumb.

    It took nearly 4 months to completely heal, but now crocheting doesn’t hurt it at all, so while it healed it must have adjusted itself somehow.

  8. Stacey… I cut my hand at the base of my middle finger in November and lost all feeling in my whole finger… I had surgery that day to put the nerve back together… Just this week I finally have almost all the feeling back… I totally understand your suffering and it was so difficult to crochet and as the nerve started to heal it was very touch with the yarn crossing it! I wasnt sure if I would have total recovery,,, but I am so thankful I do!!! Praying the same for you!!

    • Oh, my goodness! Sounds terrible! Happy to hear you’re on the mend!

  9. MsKat SAYS...

    I few years ago, I had “tennis elbow” -says the chick who has never held a tennis racket. It was a repetitive stress injury from folding too many clothes at my part time job and counting too much money at my full time job. I had exercises to do, and could not knit or crochet for a couple years. It took a really long time to get back to 100%. Had to change how I did things at both jobs as well. Now, though, I am ok.

  10. I cut my left middle finger really badly 7 months ago (had 7 stitches) and still can’t stand it to be touching anything at all. I now knit and crochet with it sticking straight out so it doesn’t touch anything. Hope the sensation comes back in your thumb!

    • That sounds like a great solution!

  11. When I had a rotator cuff tear, I had to adjust and use bigger needles and bulkier yarn. I normally knit lace and socks. But it hurt too much. My orthopedic surgeon said so long as it didn’t hurt, I was fine.

    Right now I am dealing with a torn ACL so it will be interesting spinning. Lucky for me, my favorite wheel although a double treadle, I can work it easily as a single treadle. But I see more knitting and crocheting in my future during this injury.

    Key is listen to your body.

  12. Missyarnbird SAYS...

    Ouch. I do remember when you sliced your thumb. It made me so sad for you. I hope your doing OK. Please tell me if it is OK. I’ll keep you in my prayers too. Also, I’m hoping to tell my family, so just to let you know, lots of people pare thinking about you.


  13. There is a lot of great advice here. A few years ago I severed a tendon in my pinky finger. I still have stitches under my skin and my finger gets really stiff if I crochet too long. I definitely have to set limits to avoid getting too sore. It’s annoying but at least I’m still able to!

  14. Kim Anderson SAYS...

    I broke my radius & ulna (both forearm bones) by my wrist – they were shaped like a Z! It’s been 6 weeks of staring at that half turned sock2 heel, & i’m telling myself it’ll be great PT… in another 2-4 weeks… I’m kinda antique so repairs take longer. One thing i remember from teaching swimming & doing experiential psychotherapy is that your muscles, tendons & nerves will actuate when doing small, actually miniscule motions while rehearsing the task! Also, doing things with the uninjured limb will actuate parts of the injured limb! It’s a very low stress form of PT, getting ready for the real McCoy! So i am using my injured hand to play with the finished sock, & noticing how my bones & muscles feel after using only the uninjured arm. (No wonder i am sleeping 9+ hours a night, it’s a lot of extra work!) I’m not sure i will finish crocheting the rug anytime soon, but i hope i can finish sock2 by the time the snow flies in 6-8 months!