The pain that I had was on my right hand between my thumb and index finger. It felt like a tendon was on fire every time that I opened my hand or moved those fingers. The pain shot down those fingers and my hand tended to cramp up. My hand was burning it hurt so much and I couldn't use it even to do everyday stuff like typing on the computer or cooking.
I went to the doctor and she said that it was the beginning stages of tendonitis in my thumb. She said that it was caused by me having my hand in a particular position for an extended period of time. If I kept it up doing marathon knitting sessions then I would end up with carpel tunnel syndrome.
This is the treatment that I did for one week:
- I wore a long bandage around my hand and I couldn't move it. This bandage forced me not to move it because I did try and do regular things.
- Every day, I iced my hand twice with a bag of peas for about 30-45 minutes. This really did help.
- I didn't move my right hand to do anything, even regular things like typing, opening doors, etc. I really had to let it rest for one week. Of course, this means that I stopped knitting. I couldn't write either.
- I took Advil whenever I felt pain which was only for the first three to four days. No more than 3 per day!
- I removed the bandage.
- I gradually added everyday things like opening doors, typing and cutting vegetables. If my hand hurt while I did it, I switched hands.
- I iced my hand once a day (if I needed it). The icing really helped.
- I did hand exercises from this website and this one twice per day. I also massaged the area between my thumb and index finger.
- I slowly started to get my hand used to normal everyday things like typing, cutting vegetables, etc. I found writing particularly difficult so I avoided writing for an hour straight. After about 10 minutes, I did a few hand exercises to avoid keeping my hand in the same position for an extended period of time.
- I continued doing hand exercises.
- After any activity that used my right hand, I did a few hand exercises to keep my hand moving.
- I started knitting again but only for 30 minutes at a time.In those 30 minutes, I found myself doing a hand exercise every 20 minutes or so.
- I listen to the pain. If my hand started to get tight or hurt, I stopped, did some hand exercises and did something else.
- I learned not to have marathon knitting sessions (4-5 hours straight or more).
- I knit for 30 minutes at a time, twice a day on the bus.
- I keep my hand moving instead of keeping it in one position for a long period of time.
- I still do hand exercises whenever I feel like my hand is cramping up.
- I changed my knitting needles. I noticed that I pulled the stitches more with a bamboo circular with a rubber connector cord than a thinner, plastic connector cord. So, I got rid of all of my circulars with rubber cords.
- If I sit down in the evening to knit a blanket, I do between 4 to 6 rows (depending on how long it takes to do a row) then I stop. This is between 30-45 minutes at a time. I know that it will take me longer to finish bigger projects, but I do not want to return to the pain that I had.
- I train my hand to take more. I could only do two rows on a blanket at a time before my hand started to cramp up so I stopped. Then I trained it to do three, four rows. I listened to the pain in my hand and stopped but that doesn't mean that I will never knit again.
I also had the misfortune of noticing that after I had this hand pain, sometimes other activities that taxed my hand gave me some hand pain. You may notice this too:
- Using scissors for cutting anything, especially if the thing being cut is thick
- Using a one-hole hole punch
- Writing for extended periods of time
- Opening a difficult door with my hand around the door knob
- Pulling on a large rope with my right hand
- Picking up heavy bags with my right hand
- Using a mouse on a desktop computer for an extended period of time