I have been knitting constantly. Passionately. Lovingly. Obsessively?…….for months and months. However my body is telling me to slow down. Through my own self diagnosis I have developed what I like to call “Knitter’s Hand”. Now firstly, I will point out, that as far as I am aware there is no such condition in the text books. No no, it is a name I have attributed myself, to what is I am quite certain a common physical complaint which may develop after knitting too much! I have not required a doctor to tell me this! Indeed it is not so serious I need a doctor at all. Just diversional therapy!
For me it has affected my left hand, but more specifically the muscles controlling my thumb. Highly likely it is a Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) brought on over the last few months whilst completing my last large knitting project. If analysing this more deeply (sorry once a Physiotherapist always a Physiotherapist!!) I would say the muscle overuse has been due to holding teeny, tiny needles whilst repeatedly pushing the stitch from left needle to right needle with my overworked thumb. When you are a ‘Righty’ like me – an expression here by which I mean right handed (not someone who just happens to believe they are right about everything!), you begin to realise just how much of a ‘stabiliser’ your left hand is. Naturally, the opposite would apply if one happened to be a ‘Lefty’ – an expression by which I mean left handed (not a person who supports left wing politics)! Of course you’re on to a winner if ambidextrous.
There is a tremendous amount of strength required in being the ‘stabiliser’ and one only notices this when there is a deficit in that strength. The knock on effect of my “Knitter’s Hand” has made the everyday activities, like washing up (oh boo hoo now can’t do it), opening a jar and even holding a media device such as a tablet, just a little more tricky.
And so I am acknowledging my body, and giving my wee hands a break. Don’t get me wrong, I am itching to get those hands on a ball of wool, however I understand how allowing them to really rest and recuperate (perhaps with some massage and stretching…..there I go again), in due course they will be back raring to go all guns blazing. Ironically, knitting teaches us to be patient, to slow down. Nothing is completed quickly or in an instant. Here it continues to teach us that we still need to down our needles from time to time, giving our mind and body a real holiday from the activity.
My “Knitter’s Hand” though is a real nod to my time as a Physiotherapist. Those were lovely years, where I met extraordinary people, in both colleagues and patients. It is where I have made friends for life. It also reminds me of all those medical conditions which have almost been mocked in their given nicknames. Many will have heard of a ‘Frozen Shoulder’ for instance, but it is just one of many. “Knitter’s Hand” on the other hand (pardon the pun!) is of course unrecognised, but certainly describes my predicament. I can also think of a few other afflictions which would suit a nickname. The “Stubborn-as-a-Mule Head”, a condition I can relate to where the poor person is unable/unwilling to back down! And then we’ve all come across those people with a real humdinger of an ailment, whereby they have absolutely no control over their tongue thus speaking before thinking. I think you’ll agree “Shoot Your Mouth off Tongue” is most sad and undesirable!
So where will my diversion therapy take me. With tennis season upon us I could perhaps partake in a few games. Umm no…..could get Tennis Elbow. Ok my husband would love it if I threw myself into housework. Umm no…..could get Housemaids Knee. And Trigger Finger….well, you don’t want to ask! No, I think I know where I’ll be……