Hand is numb! help!

Hi all,

I’ve been knitting a pair of Pomatomus socks on 2.75 bryspun 5 inch needles. last week one night my left hand went a bit numb in my ring and middle finger as I was knitting so I took a break and it went away. I figured it was how I was sitting.
Last night I finished the foot of the sock (only have the toe left!) and my left hand was numb. my ring and middle fingers and part of my forearm as well. I went to bed at about midnight and now at 11am I can still feel my fingers tingling!
I have knit socks many times before and usually use my 2.5 Addi turbo 4’inch needles and have never had a problem.

I want to finish the toe of the sock and then I’ll knit with bigger needles for a while to see if it helps. (but I still have one Pomatomus to knit!)

Can anyone offer suggests or has anyone had the same issue? I am young, very fit (a pilates instructor) and have no circulation issues that I am aware of so aside from my numb fingers, I think I’m pretty healthy!

Thanks in advance!

That sounds like the beginnings of carpal tunnel, so don’t push it. Take a lot of breaks, massage your hands frequently and do the wrist stretches for RSI prevention. An easy one: put the backs of your hands together and press lightly. I do that about the end of every row.Since your hand is already bugging you, if you can take Advil, Aleve or the other anti-inflammatories (Tylenol won’t help) a small dose is in order.

Once you get your hand back in shape, check your hand position and the way you’re sitting when you knit. If you can switch to Continental, that may also help. All of this may sound over the top, but I’ve seen way too many people have to give up knitting because of sore hands and wrists.

Sounds like carpal tunnel to me too. A had brace at night is helpful as is applying ice at 10 minute intervals in addition to what was mentioned above.

Sounds like carpal tunnel to me, too. There isn’t much that I can add to what the others have said. Carpal Tunnel is caused by repetitive motion, and, well, knitting is repetitive motion. Do you do other activities or type a lot? That can also aggravate it, too.

I have tendinitis in my right wrist. It’s left over from a repetitive motion injury I had at an old job. I am careful to watch how I hold my hands, the needles, and the yarn when I knit and even what type of needles I use. There are certain brands of circulars I can’t use because the tips angle towards each other instead of being completely straight and I’ve noticed that I have to hold them differently because of how they are designed. The way I have to hold them aggravates my tendinitis. My tendinitis is why I don’t crochet much.

Carpal Tunnel!!! GAH!!!

I am an avid rock and ice climber as well as a knitter… I do not need this sort of issue!!! I have only been knitting a year… but almost every night. I wonder if this has caused it? crazy!

I can’t use Advil, as we are trying to get pregnant and you can’t take anti-inflamitories if you are pregnant so it isn’t worth the risk to me.

I will finish the toe of this sock and then take some time off from small needles. Maybe the fact that I am on my 3rd pair of lace socks since July has something to do with it!

I already do knit continental, so not much I can do there.

Thanks for the comments and suggestions.

If it’s the beginnings of carpal tunnel, it’s really tendonitis, and a tennis elbow support will help. It’s a wrap you can find at your local pharmacy or Wal-mart type place that applies pressure to the part of your arm just below your elbow.

Also, using the thumb of your opposite hand to really “dig” and massage that spot on your other arm helps tremendously…I’ll try to describe it. Bring your arms together in front like you’re going to cross your arms, only put the left arm on top and the right on bottom. This should place your right thumb on the top of your left arm about an inch or so below the bend of your elbow. Use your thumb to massage–it will probably be quite surprisingly sore. If you hit the right spot, your left middle finger will start twitching in response to the massage. Keep doing that to work out that muscle and tendon…it helps tremendously. Wear a brace there while knitting.

I’ve been to the chiropractor for this same repetitive motion injury, and that is what cures it. You may have to be careful for quite some time till it completely heals.

The stretching and relaxing things others have mentioned are great, too!

What the others have said. Take frequent breaks, stretch not just your hands and wrists but arms, neck and shoulders too. Most often, numbness in the hands and fingers comes from tight muscles squeezing the nerves, usually in the neck area. Stop, look up and stretch your head back and to the sides. Another stretch is to extend your arms, bend your wrist so the fingers point up and gently pull back on them. That stretches the muscles in your inner arm up to your elbow. Press all along your arms, feeling for tight or tender spots and rub them out. Ice is good for inflammation, but you need heat to relax contracted muscles which will be more in your arms and upper back and shoulders. Also, switch between projects so you’re using different needles and pattern so you won’t be making quite the same movements all the time. Be aware of your shoulders (they shouldn’t be up around your ears) and how tightly you’re holding the needles.

I went to see the doctor a few weeks ago because of tingling and numbness in the small and ring finger of my left hand -it seems I have a trapped ulna nerve.

It’s very similar to carpal tunnel, except that it’s the nerve running behind the elbow which is affected.

Anyway, I’m still waiting for physiotherapy but meantime, have seen a chiropractor for the last couple of weeks. He’s told me that the nerve problem started at the back (centre) of my neck - and when I thought about it, I remember getting a burning sensation going down to my shoulder blade when I got up from using the computer, which started a while before I had trouble with my hand.

He thinks my typing and knitting has aggravated the situation but are not the main cause of it. It seems I’ve spent too long working at my desk while having the computer screen and chair at the wrong height that has kicked off this problem

I think it would be worth your while seeing your doctor about this - like me, it might be that the symptoms you’re having could come from a part of your neck/shoulder area, which should be checked out to prevent further possible damage.

Anyway, I hope you can get things sorted soon.

All the Best

Hi All,

I appreciate all of your feedback. I will be making a doctors appointment tomorrow morning.

As a Pilates instructor, I am pretty in tune with my body and my alignment and sitting posture is quite good so I don’t think that is an issue. I do think that it relates directly to the knitting. However, I just returned from a 2 week trip to Spain where I rocked climbed a lot. I usually climb 2 or 3 times a week, and I climbed 7days in a row (one rest day between days 4 and 5) so perhaps my arms were fatigued anyways, and then getting on the plane and knitting for hours on end on my Pomatamus which to me is a ‘crampy hand position knit’ anyways with all the purling and KBL etc is the cause of all this and with a few days rest it will go away. (please please pretty please)

However, if not, I’d rather nip it in the bud and get it checked out asap.
I’ll keep you all updated as I know more and please keep telling me your stories! :slight_smile:


Yeah, rock climbing would put a strain on the forearm muscles and tendons - the same ones you use for knitting. I think with a few days rest you’ll be fine, just try to incoporate some stretches when you go back to it.

Thanks for the tip, Lisa!

Oh my gosh! I did this on myself and not only was I surprised at how good it felt, but also how much it was sore! Great tip!

I also just read that keeping the hands warm during the activities that bother them will help…

all the more reason to wear my fetching… and knit another pair… :wink: haha. :slight_smile:

Don’t forget to also keep your arms warm. That helps keep the muscles that control the movements of your figers from getting too tight.

I have had carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists. One was reversed with conservative treatment, but the other just got worse and worse, with pain coming on top of the numbness and weakness…it was on my dominant side, so I was really disabled. In the end I had to have the surgery (carpal tunnel release).

It was a piece of cake! Same day surgery, and it hardly hurt at all! I didn’t even need the pain medicine. It was inconvenient during the post-op period not to have full use of my right hand, but that’s it. And it was 100% effective in taking care of the problem. I was wishing I had had it done sooner instead of suffering with the condition, which I did.

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I’m SO GLAD you have a doctor’s appointment! Ask for a referral to an occupational therapist. OT’s specialize in problems with the upper extremeties and are taught to knit as part of their training. The OT will evaluate your knitting and tell you what’s causing the pain and how to alleviate it. Mine made me splints (I have carpal tunnel in the right and arthritis in the left) that REALLY HELP and are MUCH more comfortable than the ones the DR gave me! I couldn’t knit for much of the summer because of the pain, but once I got to the OT, I was back to knitting!

Ooh hey, wait a minute…you’re trying to get pregnant and…I hope you’re in luck and not trouble. Pregnancy, especially early on, can cause or aggravate CT symptoms, supposedly because of the water retention. When you do get pregnant, remember that wrist massage is your friend and the anti-nausea acupressure point is even more so! Ice helps some and heat helps some–my arms insist on warmth when they get sore, so I use a rice bag. Son uses a gel wrist rest and rubs his arms across it when he does too much fine work (model railroading.)

Either way, take care of yourself now before you want to knit a lot of little sweaters and booties!

If you are low in potassium that can cause carpal tunnel syndrome also. You could try taking raw apple cider vinegar in water with a bit of raw honey, or eating lots of bananas.

Many gave good advice for “tennis elbow,” and i would also like to throw in my 2 cents as a Physical Therapist. Any sign of pain means you need to ice, ibuprofen and rest. Rest=NO KNITTING FOR AT LEAST 2 WEEKS! Yes, believe me, I know–I can’t live without knitting that long. However, having had my own course of lateral epicondylitis twice, and NOT respecting my poor left elbow’s pain the second time around, I now have chronic pain for 3 months. The first round, I actually did as I instructed–no knitting for 2 months! I then knit happily for a year with no problem. The second time I noticed the pain, but I HAD TO FINISH THE BABY GIFT! NOT! So, now I am suffering like a fool. So here are my suggestions:

  1. First sign of pain: ice ice ice, ibuprofen as a steady diet for 3 days, and REST REST REST (ice pack on for 10 min at a time, and do it at least 4 times/day)
  2. If you are a fool like me, you can consider PT, or acupuncture–both can be helpful if the practitioner is good, but you must still rest.
  3. The elbow strap recommended helps the symptoms, but if you continue to knit, you are kidding yourself and setting up for some BAAAAAAD pain.
  4. Did I mention no knitting? Rest? Yeah. Do it.
    BTW, even if you don’t have pain, you also should be taking breaks, stretching, changing how you hold the needles, and not knitting for 3 hours straight. Did I mention rest?
    Before resuming your knitting, you need to do some slow, gentle strengthening, which is why PT can be more helpful than acupuncture alone.
    Good luck! and don’t forget the rest.

I have carpel tunnel and the Bryspun needles aggravate my wrist also. Try the Giagoo, Red Lace (I might have spelled this wrong). They’re expensive, but no pain for me and their circular needle do not tangle. Also, great suggestions from everyone else on dealing with carpel tunnel and knitting. I plan on taking some of this advise for myself.

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