My hiatus explained... Carpal Tunnel

Hey guys. One may wonder and be amazed if one finds himself on the UGA campus to notice: Thomas hasn't been knitting.

In fact, I haven't knit one single stitch for 2 months.

And it sucks.

Anyway, the fall semester began in August, and I promptly began playing the piano a thousand times more often than I had before. Between knitting, and piano, and computering, and other wrist activities, I began to form carpal tunnel. EEK! I had learned already how to play piano with correct technique to avoid such repetitive motion injuries, but I had become lax. ELBOWS OUT! But it was too late. Ergo, as piano is higher on the priority list (considering it is my major) I had to choose to quit knitting.

But there's good news.

The wrist has gotten much better. I began sleeping with a brace on, and that helped a lot. The rest from knitting has also helped a lot. AND I have some advice for all of you who are as obsessed with I am:

How to Avoid Carpal Tunnel for Pianists and Knitters:
1) Posture posture posture. The nerve that runs through the carpal tunnel connects directly to the nerve that runs through the shoulder and neck. Problems in the wrist usually originate in the neck and shoulders. Choose a chair with good back support. Sit up straight, and don't slouch.
2) How to have good posture: In addition to above, it may feel odd to sit with good posture. Your shoulders should be down and back. In today's society full of upper cross syndrome, we are used to rounding our shoulders forward. It might feel awkward at first, but you will feel the positive difference if you begin to keep your shoulders downward and pushed back a little.
3) Wrist posture: I learned this from piano technique. You want your wrists to remain parallel to the floor. In piano, that means keep your elbows out... In knitting that means...keep your elbows out. It is probably best to sit in a chair with arm rests. Rotate your wrists around so that you are using the up/down movement of your wrist, not the side to side movement.
4) REST! Don't knit for long periods of time. It's hard, I know. However, resting for 10 minutes is better than resting for 3 months.

Other good news: I rediscovered my enjoyment of reading good fiction novels, and I discovered a new obsession with the daily crossword in the campus paper here.


VTandPTguy's picture

Thanks for posting these very helpful comments. I've been feeling some discomfort in my left hand/arm -- and will now be attentive to posture. Good luck with your recovery!

purlyman's picture

Man, I hope I never have to quit knitting. I'd be a sad boy.


daveballarat's picture

Hey Thomas, I've been off the knitting for about the same period. Mine has been due to a lack of time. In desperation I have been trying to knit and talk while on the service bus to work... unfortunately every evening I've had to unpick each time 'cos I'd missed a cable or something ... it really killed my enthusiasm.
New job, new kids, new curriculum, and 2 1/2 hours travel time each day, means no gym and no knitting. So am hoping to fix the situation.
I need to get my sweater finished because suddenly winter is here in Istanbul and I haven't finished my socks either... so once again, behind schedule.
Hiatus hopefully over.
Hopefully you can get back in to it too.

Hey you broke up with your boyfriend last time we communicated... you have a new one yet? I was single then, not now. Am in a multiculturally challenging relationship. It would help if I could speak Turkish because all my new friends although speak English, they prefer Turkish and it would help if they didn't have to stop mid flow to translate for me.
Anyway, for me, back to the prep for next week...

Istanbul, Turkey


Kerry's picture

Dave, how is your new relationship going?

Thomasknits's picture

Yeah, no one new yet. I was at Atlanta pride yesterday though, and though i didn't see anyone knitting, i did see some handknits worn...even a crocheted rainbow scarf.


Pinecone's picture

Thanks for your post. I'm dealing with early Carpal Tunnel too and you're right, it sucks. Thanks also for the recommendations. I hope you have a swift recovering and are soon back among the knitting. All the best, John

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Good to hear from you. Thanks for the heads up reminder to avoid bad posture when knitting. [Shoulder and wrist.] I had to retrain myself many years ago on that. That's why I also do the stretching and relaxation exercises I told Scott about in an earlier thread. It never hurts to have refreshers about is too important to forget. Hope you can get back to knitting on a regular basis soon. -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

I am very happy you are on the mend. And thanks for the advice...I would not want to issues that prevented knitting!

Kerry's picture

Good advice, we all need a reminder occasionally. I hope you are back at knitting before too long.

JDM511's picture

If the numbness or pain does not go away with a change in your posture, make sure that you get it treated. Splints at night can help, or you might have to have some minor surgery (within a week or two you are back to normal). If you don't treat it, permanent damage can occur.

Take care & hope you are back to normal soon


MMario's picture

Somehow I had missed, prior to this, that yourr major was piano. Got any recordings online we can listen to?

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

Thomasknits's picture

No I wish :-(
If you ever find yourself in Athens on a Sunday, you can hear me playing at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship...


MMario's picture

Find someone with a porta-studio! There has to be someone in Athens.....

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

Thomasknits's picture

They had an episode all about a porta-studio on the cartoon Doug, back when I was much younger. Hmm, I guess that reference is lost on most here.
"Bangin on a trash can! Drummin on a street-light! ... One little voice is calling me, calling me."