Chronicling the steps to creating a SUCCESSFUL life.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

I inherited two things from my parents:  Rheumatoid Arthritis from my dad and a love of crochet from my mom. 
Crocheting intricate doll dresses and tiny doilies became increasingly difficult to the point I had to have surgery to repair joint damage in my right hand. After my surgery and several months of physical therapy, I was ready to take to the crochet hook, again. I had to make adjustments to my crochet techniques, essentially learning my craft all over again.  I began using an ergonomic hook, which made all the difference.  However, if I go a few days without crocheting, I notice more stiffness in my hands and they are far more achy and painful. 
By following these tips, I am able to 
  • Warm up. Soak your hands in warm water and lightly stretch them before starting your project to reduce stiffness.
  • Switch it up.  Move between crochet projects so you don't put excessive, repetitive strain on your hands. For example, I will alternate between a project that requires tight stitching, such as a doily or other thread crochet project, and something looser, like a crocheted afghan.
  • Loosen up. The more forceful your grip, the more you compromise your joints and hands. Be intentional about a more relaxed grip. 
  • Pick projects carefully. Very large projects such as oversized sweaters and afghans can get heavy and might be hard to manage. If you’re making a gift for a birthday, allow yourself plenty of time to complete it so that you don’t strain your hands while rushing to finish.
  • Rest. RA can flare in response to certain triggers, and one of those is overwork. I definitely pace myself rather than overworking my joints.
  • Try heat. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it does for me. I use special gloves designed to help support the joints and keep my hands warm.
  • Take medication for pain and stiffness. Talk with your doctor about the best drug options for you. You might want to take medication before a prolonged period of work on a project.
  • Get support.  Reach out to the local arthritis association groups, through which you’re likely to find other people coping with the same problems.
Above all, don't allow your illness to rob you of your love of crochet. 

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