“My lower back can feel extreme pain when machine knitting, along with the uncomfortable cramps I experience in my hands.” Elaine Lipp, currently studying Fashion Design with Knitwear at Central Saint Martins shares. Knitting with unyielding concentration, hunched over, repeating each stitch with surgeon-like precision, strains the shoulders and back, forcing the body into an unnatural position. Knitting can be a lengthy process, which can overuse and strain the upper muscle groups, leading to further musculoskeletal problems. More students are now discovering they are prematurely suffering from symptoms that afflict people twice their age, with little knowledge of the future consequences. Excessive knitting can put you at a greater risk of repetitive stress injuries, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and even arthritis in rare cases. While knitters are so absorbed in their creation, pulling, twisting, and stretching their fabric, they often forget the distorted position their bodies are in, straining the muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
When knitter’s back begins to surface, casual knitters have the comfort of taking an extended break. Yet for students studying on a Fashion knitwear course, searing pain becomes trivial in the race to meet impending deadlines.
When knitter’s back begins to surface, casual knitters have the comfort of taking an extended break. Yet for students studying on a Fashion knitwear course, searing pain becomes trivial in the race to meet impending deadlines and crossing the finishing line with a complete garment. Amongst Elaine Lipp’s anxieties, the most salient concern is the possibility of her back worsening and the interruption this may pose to her future career. “I struggle with lower back pain which I manage with yoga,” Lipp continues, “but I am concerned about the long term effects on my back, so I am planning on training my back muscles to combat any possible pain.” Across the capital at London College of Fashion, many knitwear students are also facing bouts of knitter’s back as Carolyn Clewer, Pathway Leader for Fashion Knit at the college states; “After many many hours at the domestic knitting machines, the students fight with backache, amongst difficulties that arise throughout the design process.”
If you are experiencing any symptoms associated with repetitive strain injury: numbness, pain, stiffness, cramp, and swelling, it is extremely important to seek treatment.
Gillian Yeh – a knitwear student from London College of Fashion – has attained numerous sores associated with fashion design. “My eyes are often fatigued and blurred after a long day,” Yeh says, “carrying heavy loads of material to university inflicts pressure on my arms, I often have to use a pain relief patch.” As innocent as needlework and fabric cutting may appear, just like knitting, overdone this too can provoke troublesome injuries. Substantial materials like Leather, require a great deal of force to cut and could possibly flare-up symptoms of repetitive strain injury. Intricate sewing – particularly under poor conditions – can lead to severe eye strain, resulting in burning eyes, headaches, and a sore neck.
If you are experiencing any symptoms associated with repetitive strain injury: numbness, pain, stiffness, cramp, and swelling, it is extremely important to seek treatment. Left untreated, repetitive strain injury can lead to constant pain and permanent damage. Knitters back can be dominating and debilitating, persevering through the pain as a student will inevitably narrow the duration of a thriving career. So, now it is crucial to protect your developing form and listen intently to every ache, sting, and stabbing your body sustains.