The Craft Cabin

Top 5 Crafts for Arthritis

Top 5 Crafts for Arthritis

by Cabin Crew | Sep 23, 2019 | How To’s | 0 comments

Being diagnosed with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or fibromyalgia can be a very distressing experience, particularly when your enjoyment of life is so tied to your hand and how you use them.

Crafting can be such an intrinsic part of our lives that when we are not able to do it, it can have a serious effect on our quality and enjoyment of life. We have a lot of crafters come into the shop that simply are not able to do the things they love anymore and miss that creative outlet.

Crafting is great for keeping the mind active and fingers nimble so here are some crafts that are great for arthritis and modified crafts to keep doing what you love.


Knitting can be very hard on not only the hands but the forearms and shoulders, particularly bigger pieces. If you manage it and are careful you can still enjoy this wonderful craft.

  • Warm-up before-hand. Using these simple exercises can help avoid pain or injury.
  • Use circular needles. Resting your work on your lap as you knit can avoid any added strain, those big pieces can get really heavy!
  • Use light-weight needles like bamboo. They reduce the weight and cause less friction when removing stitches (it all adds up!).
  • Try patterns with different stitches. This small change-up can help your hands.
  • Use bigger yarn and needles. It is easier to pick up dropped stitches and will finish faster.
  • Try a different knitting method. Portuguese knitting is meant to be much gentler on the hands.


Crochet involves a lot of repetitive twisting of the wrist and elbow as well as holding your yarn hand in a particular position for a long time. People of all ages report repetitive strain injury when crocheting a lot but with a few small adjustments pain and tenderness can definetely be reduced.

  • Soak hands in a warm bowl of water to relax muscles. (Doing the dishes doesn’t count!)
  • Use ergonomic crochet hooks. These have fatter rubberised handles that reduce fatigue.
  • Take Breaks
  • Try patterns with different stitches. This small adjustment can help your hands


Cross stitch is meant to be truly suberb for aching hands and can even help with the dexterity and flexibility of your hands.

  • Warm-up hands with gentle exercises.
  • Keep taking breaks for stretches and don’t forget about your neck too!
  • Use a floor standing hoop can help you change positions to avoid additional strain.
  • Using a rubber or leather thimble can help move the needle without having to grip too hard.


If the needle crafts are to hard on the hands or if you want to break them up with another craft then decoupage is the one for you.

You can use tools with this or just your hands and all you really need is some glue, paper and an artistic vision!

  • Use some warm-up exercises.
  • Use chunky handled paintbrushes or sponges to apply glue.
  • If scissors are too uncomfortable, tear the edges. This is a lovely effect.
  • Rember that decoupage doesn’t have to be perfect. Just enjoy!

Clay Sculpting:

Use clay can be very satisfying and you can go as big or as small as you want.

  • Make sure your air-drying clay is wet and soft. It is hard to mould tough clay.
  • Swap hands to give each one a break.
  • Use tools with ergonomic handles or wrap plastic tape around them to give a wider grip.
  • Use stamps or leaves to make impressions instead of sculpting it all.
  • Don’t forget to warm up your hand and soak them in warm water at the end. Clay can be cold to work with.

I hope you enjoyed our Top 5 Crafts for Arthritis and it helps you to keep doing what you love. If you have any crafts that you find work for you we would love to hear about them. Happy crafting xx

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