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A Makers Guide to Taking Better Care of Your Hands

hand holding and embroidery hoop

As I've entered my mid 30s, I'm realizing that my hands don't hold up to embroidery like they used to. When I first got back into this craft I could embroider for hours to days on end. My hands felt fine.

This year, my hands ache when doing daily things around the house. The colder the weather, the worse they seem to get. After much procrastination, I went to the doctor and was informed that I have a bit of carpal tunnel and tendentious. Two things no one who works with their hands ever wants to hear. While I can't restore my hands to their former glory, my doctor did recommend a few tips and products that I've found helpful.

I've been doing a lot more stitching for my shoe embroidery book (on thicker material no less) and my hands have been thankful I'm taking better care of them. Also, let me say this up front, if you are experiencing hand pain, make an appointment with your doctor. I am not a doctor, nor do I have medical training. These are things I have found helpful when trying to take better care of my own hands.

5 Ways to Take Better Care of Your Hands

carpal tunnel stretches


Stretching is the #1 thing I do every day, multiple times a day. These daily stretches helps condition my hands from the repetitive use or computer work or a needle and thread. While may hands still ache, this helps them ache less. Here's stretches for tendonitis and for carpal tunnel from MyHealth.Alberta.ca

two hands wearing compression gloves

Compression Gloves

These fingerless gloves help improve circulation of your hands. In colder months, I wear these almost daily. Do I look silly in them, yes. Do they help? Also yes. They're not a cure all, but when I'm laying in bed at night with aching hands, these provide some relief. I own and use this pair of Copper Fit compression gloves. You find them and similar options on Amazon.

voltaren arthritis pain gel

Diclofenac Gel

Aka arthritis pain gel. After visiting my doctor, he recommended that I try a topical gel for my hand pain. You can get a prescription, but he mentioned that over the counter options like Voltaren, work just as well and would probably be cheaper. Did I feel extremely old buying this at my local grocery store? Yes, yes I did. Does it work? Somewhat. I find I use my compression gloves more than this gel, but it's a good option to have on hand (pun intended).

Thimbles and Needle Grippers

Stitching through thicker materials can be taxing on you hands. As I'm working my way through my shoe embroidery book, I'm reminded of this more and more. After trying out a variety of thimble and needle gripper products, these are the two I have found to be most helpful for me. The Clover leather coin thimble is malleable enough to move with your finger, yet has a hard (coin) to push the needle through the fabric without gouging your finger with the needle. These silicone needle grippers make it easier to grip the needle and pull in through the fabric.

shoe embroidery with a shar pei puppy snuggling on the sofe

Taking Breaks

I will admit, this is 100% something I am not good at. But I am trying. And so should you. Give yourself a break both physically and mentally. Using your hands in a repetitive motion for hours on end is not good for them. Thankfully my pups, Henley and Landen, are great about reminding me to get up and do something else.

I hope you find these tips helpful for your hands. They're helping mine and I wanted to pass these insights along.

Happy stitching!


***I am not a doctor, nor do I have medical training. If you are experiencing hand pain, please consult your doctor.***

***Thanks for reviewing my recommendations. This post contains affiliate links. Should you purchase something listed, I may receive a small portion of the sale.***


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