Crocheting with Disabilities: Overcoming Your Challenges

hands holding yarn

Hello there!  My name is Tasha Margette, the crochet designer and blogger behind Stardust Gold Crochet, and newest member to the Happily Hooked team!  (Sooooo excited about that!)  Many of us live with chronic issues and manage to crochet through the pain, but it's always nice to find a resource for healing, and I hope you find it here.
Overuse injuries and chronic issues are common in crochet because we are constantly rotating our wrists, which can cause strains to the tendons and muscles (yup, yup!).  Happily Hooked Magazine has a wonderful recurring feature called “Crochet Heals,” where our crochet community share stories of their own healing through crochet, whether it be learning to crochet left-handed, overcoming tragedy or loss, or living with chronic pain.  If you already subscribe and love the series, leave a comment below about your crochet healing.  We would love to hear it!

In November 2019’s “Thankful” Issue (subscribe here) Kathryn Vericillo discusses her book, “How Crochet Saved My Life” and how she overcame loss and tragedy through crochet.  It’s stories like these that make Happily Hooked Magazine a must-have in your crochet arsenal, grab a copy here, and after you subscribe, check out our wonderful members' community.
It’s a happy place to get the support you need at every level in your crochet journey.  I hope these member tips help you overcome some of the challenges you face, and keep you crocheting for life.  Self-care is so important, right?

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Let’s get down to the tips and tricks!


My friend Crystal over at the Crochet-a-Memory recently experienced a crochet injury (oh no!) is in a brace for six weeks on doctors’ orders – no crocheting!  Yikes!  For some of us, crocheting through the pain is a daily struggle, but these tips will help.
On a personal note, I suffered chronic shoulder and neck pain too.  I mentioned this to my orthopedic doctor and he almost laughed at me when I said, “could this be from crocheting?”  Okay, y’all…I know it sounds funny, but seriously, crocheting can have you sitting still too long, slouching, looking down too much.  The repetitive motion in the wrists and fingers, and not to mention it also strains your eyes!   (get yourself a headlamp girls, they aren’t just for nerds and miners).
Another challenge for some crocheters is living with a chronic ailment, like pain, fibromyalgia, arthritis, and even paralysis is what to do when those issues flare-up and how to ease the pain.  I reached out to our crochet community to find out what they do to overcome those challenges, with a few tips, tricks and stretches that may help you work through it.
I mean, even if the doctor says, “no crochet,” we all know we’re going to grab those hooks and try our best to crochet!  Right? lol.

Crocheting with Chronic Pain & Fibromyalgia ~

“On days I can’t get out of bed, I prop myself up with lots of pillows, a heating pad behind my back, a pillow on each side to rest my arms on and a lap tray to hold the weight of my project so I don’t have to. I do take lots of breaks and stretch. I have an older wingback chair with high armrests for when I’m sitting, with a footstool to help circulation in my legs, and do hand exercises frequently to keep my hands from going numb. Putting a Lidocaine patch on the base of my neck helps with arm pain and fingers going numb” ~ Tammie Baughman

  • Prop up the pillows to give your muscles support
  • Take frequent breaks
  • Stretch (link below)
  • Get a great chair – like a wing-back with armrests


Crocheting with Tremor’s or Seizure disorders ~

“To help steady my hands to crochet I make the hook heavier by sliding a bunch of small metal nuts onto the end of the handle and tape them in place.  I also sit in a wing-back chair that is just wide enough to tuck my elbows in beside me to steady my hands.” ~ Becky Hope (Essential Tremor)
“I have a seizure disorder that affects my cognition. I need to balance the type of projects I do. If I work on a project that requires a lot of concentration or learning, I need to work on a “no-brainer” for even a couple of days.” ~ Frances Lightner (Seizure Disorder)

  • Use a heavier hook to steady your hands
  • Wing-back chairs are king!
  • To increase cognition, take frequent breaks and “mindless” crochet


Crocheting with Arthritis & Sjögren’s Syndrome ~

“I take LOTS of breaks, limit myself to only a certain amount of time (2 hrs), keep well hydrated, and use compression sleeves on my hands.” – Cindy Whitsett (Sjögren’s Syndrome/Rheumatoid Arthritis)

  • Take lots of breaks
  • Drink *all* the water
  • Compression wrist support
  • Keep your movements mild


Crocheting with Wrist Pain, Strains, & Overuse Injuries ~

“I alternate knit and crochet projects for wrist pain. Take breaks often and do neck and shoulder stretches to keep from getting a migraine.” ~ Laina Mann Malcolm
“I often stop and do stretching, I have fibromyalgia, and my knitting is the Portuguese way.” ~ Catarina Miguel Silva

  • Take breaks often – if the pain persists – take a few days off (I know, it’s soooo hard!)
  • Neck & Shoulder Stretches (link below)
  • Try switching up the project or work on something new that doesn’t use the same motion


Crocheting after a stroke or heart attack ~

“I lost 5 months of my life after my heart attack which led to a stroke.  It was a big thing for me not being able to remember the number of row I am on or what stitch I am on.  So, I write everything down. I had to learn all the crochet stitches again and repeat them over and over.  The stroke caused peripheral blindness, so I make sure to have good light a take plenty of breaks helps reduce pain and headaches.  Posture helps with back pain and most importantly repetition helps with memory” ~ Lanette Onken

  • Repetition helps with memory loss
  • Good lighting
  • Get a good stitch counter and easy to use stitch markers that don’t take a lot of effort to use.
  • Write everything down – even if you use the stitch markers, it’s good to take note of what place you are in your project or pattern.
  • Again, take breaks – listen to your body


Crochet Stretches

Repetitive strain is the real deal and being mindful of your limitations is extremely important.  We want to keep you crocheting your little heart out!  Here is a set of stretches from the repetitive strain website, and of course, before you try these at home, ask your doctor if these are okay for you.
I hope you enjoyed this article and find some helpful tips!  If you have tips of your own, please leave a comment below.  Join the Happily Hooked Member Community on Facebook (included in your subscription) where you can find other like-minded crocheters.  It’s a community full of fun, good advice, and things happy about crochet.

Crocheting with Disabilities Blog Pin

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