I had developed what I thought and even my doctor thought was arthritis. I stopped knitting and crocheting for quite a while. But since I am interested in trying new things and I was learning about an allergy I had as a child, I thought I would just eliminate one food and see after a while if I was still in fact allergic.
The food was dairy. I did without it for months and all the stiffness in my hands went away, but the stiffness was also in my knees, ankles and back. My hands were so bad I could not open a round door knob. My husband went and changed out our conventional door knobs for European lever style because I could do that. I now live free of that sort of pain, though I can still get a flare up with my back, but instead of once every three months, it is more like once in five years!
After the stiffness went mostly away in my hands, I went back to knitting but would encounter residual soreness. So decided to experiment with learning different knitting techniques. That started with Entrelac and discovered the wonders of knitting backwards. I had been an English knitter, actually not throwing the yarn but Flicking, it is a sub category of English/American and is more efficient. Knitting backwards for English knitters is like Continental Combined but going the wrong direction, so it fascinated me to be able to learn a similar technique but go forward with it.
I have finally migrated to Continental Combined, which suits my hands the best and I get even tension. And the purl is so-o-o much easier. I knit for my own pleasure, and get good results. If you like it and it doesn't hurt, who is to say it is wrong? I love it.
At first, I still could not crochet, but now I can, even have done rugs and purses in cotton.
My doctor asked about my hands because he could remember my large knuckles and the pain I endured. My hands show no trace of arthritis. But it really was not arthritis, it was an allergy to milk, not the lactose, but the casein. Casein is not well digested and as we age, it accumulates in our joints. We do not have a digestive enzyme to really digest this milk protein but cottage cheese is what I actually can eat sometimes. Doing without ice cream is harder but Trader Joes has some good substitutes if I really can't stand it.
As there are now many good tasting plant-based milks, one can find one or several if they have a notion to try and see if their arthritis is an allergy also. At first I really missed cheese such as on pizza. But in the end, I never miss having the pain.
I have discovered the wonders of coconut and coconut oil.
Recently I had my Gallbladder out, so any cheese, even my occasional cheating, will cause IBS. And no, knitting can't help that. But coconut oil is easy to digest and replaces oils I should not use. I can use olive oil, but prefer eating green and black olives.
I am of Scandinavian ancestry, mostly. And these countries eat the most dairy because of short growing seasons. They also have the highest incidence of osteo arthritis. There is most likely an association with dairy causing the pain. There is one more problem, the Scandinavians also have a lot of cases of Alzheimer's, my dad was Norwegian, and he died of it. Does it have a dairy component? It is possible. But it turns out that knitting isn't just good for the hands, it is wonderful for the brain, produces serotonin which makes us feel calm and whole. At least if my brain gives out, I'll be happily knitting and not be a grump about it.
I have since given up feeling deprived for giving up dairy. I am glad of what I can do now and all the fun things I've learned to cook and find, I am glad more to be well, than missing any food which I am sensitive too.
One thing I am not. Brief. I apologize.