Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
Tags: arthritis | flare | knitting | hands | joint | pain

Can Knitting Make Arthritis Worse?

Wednesday, 01 Aug 2012 09:17 AM

Question: I have arthritis in some of my joints, including my fingers. I like to knit for several hours each day. Will this cause my arthritis to flareup?


Dr. Hibberd's answer:
Patients with arthritis of the hands often mention that knitting and sewing have become difficult, if not impossible, but it's best to keep at this activity. Knitting will not cause your arthritis to flare, in fact, the repeated use will often prevent advancing complications from existing arthritis. There are very few research findings on this subject. However some tips that have been suggested are to try alternatives to metal needles, such as birch or bamboo needles, which are lightweight and warmer to the touch. Try sticking to knitting with wool or wool blends, as wool is elastic and more forgiving than cotton and other fibers, which makes them easier to manipulate. Also try knitting flat on a circular needle. Even if you do not need to make a tube, the circular shape allows the weight of the sweater to fall in your lap, not off your wrist. Do not knit continuously, and take frequent breaks.

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Knitting will not cause arthritis to flare.
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