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Message Board > Quilters' Corner > Quilting hand injury ( Moderated by Sharon1952)

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Quilting hand injury
rubbecca

rubbecca
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Date: 7/30/13 5:01 PM

I recently was doing FMQ on individual quilt blocks. I was wearing machiner's gloves. I'm new to FMQ and I really wanted to finish my blocks so I would quilt for long periods. Now I think I injured my right hand. There's tenderness on the area between my thumb and index fingers. Luckily I'm done with the FMQ part of the quilt and the rest is attaching the sashing and binding. Would the pain go away if I take a break from FMQ? I don't want to stop sewing completely as I would like to sew a couple of outfits for my kids back to school. Anyone else experience some pain from FMQ in the past? I can also switch to doing machine embroidery to give my hand a rest.

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In reply to rubbecca <<


Date: 7/30/13 7:32 PM

My LMT told me if I develop tenderness in that spot to gently squeeze it for a minute to let the muscles relax. Gently, mind you. Let me know if it helps. It does for me. Be gentle, at first when doing this. I do not want you to be injured any more.

------
I am a Quilter at heart. I love to play with fabrics, patterns and colors. Recently I have discovered I enjoy doing applique. I love making pictures. Using a sewing machine is much easier than counted cross stitch or oil painting for me. I enjoy landscape quilting as well. I am working on my first applique project in the spring of 2014.
Bernina 630, my main machine
Pfaff 2036, my class machine
Babylock Molly
Bernina 1200DA serger
Unique Sewing Cabinet 450L

AminaHijabi
AminaHijabi
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thumbsup 1 member likes this.
Date: 7/30/13 8:01 PM

sounds like an overuse injury. You're not used to FMQ and it can be straining on the hands.

hand exercises

You can also try gently squeezing a ball, releasing, then squeezing again. Make sure your sewing station is at optimal high for comfortable sewing. your arms should be relaxed and at a comfortable angle. In general this means that your sewing table will be lower for machine quilting (or your chair higher) than it is for sewing clothing. You're doing this activity for extended periods, so the ergonomics aren't significantly different than they are for extended typing

computer station ergonomics

Think of the position of the keyboard in that diagram (link posted above) the same as the location of your sewing machine station in terms of the angle of your elbows, relaxed shoulders etc. If you don't have things at the correct height, your shoulders will get cramped and there is a much greater risk for hand injury since you will put too much pressure on your hands to compensate for tired shoulders.

If you feel yourself gripping the quilt too tightly and manhandling it too much in quilting, consider a machine quilting aid like the

quilt halo

it does confine your quilting to the small space (initially) but it also trains you to keep your hands in the correct position and relax. Once you're used to the halo you'll find that quilting without it is easier (at least it has been for me)

Sorry for the long post. I have chronic tendonitis due to my job being 100% computer based and playing piano improperly when I was a teenager. When I finally got a good piano teacher in my 20's my hands started to feel better, but the damage was done.
-- Edited on 7/30/13 8:02 PM --

sings2high
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Date: 7/30/13 8:05 PM

Any repetitive motion can overwork a particular muscle group. So think about your hand positions for the FMQ and figure out some activity that uses your hands in a different direction or motion. Make sure you take breaks from the FMQ by switching to the alternate movements.
I alternate periods of FMQ with periods of hand stitching. I always have several projects on tap. Right now I have a finished quilt top ready to be layered and FMQ'd, a machine pieced top still being pieced, an English-paper-pieced hexagon quilt still in the baste-to-paper stage, and a quilt being hand-quilted in a hoop. So no matter what kind of hand or machine work I feel like doing, I've got a project to pick up and run with.

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Adaire
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Date: 7/31/13 9:13 AM

I don't quilt but have had the same problem with hand sewing and knitting. Two years ago, I broke some bones in my foot and after it healed, my orthopedic surgeon recommended "Biofreeze". It is a gel in a tube and is not for sale in drugstores but Amazon sells it very reasonably. Once I discovered how great it was for my foot, I started using it on my hand when it would get tender. It really helps a lot! There is a strong odor at first but it dissipates almost immediately (2 or 3 minutes) and the relief lasts quite a while. Just be sure to wash your applying hand before you touch your face or eyes. You might give it a try as it is inexpensive. Hope it helps you.

rubbecca

rubbecca
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CA USA
Member since 2/25/08
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Date: 8/1/13 9:52 PM

Thanks for everyone's advice. I'll order the Biofreeze and try that as well as resting my hand and massaging it. I started to wear my bowler's wrist brace which gives my hand support and prevents unnecessary wrist movement. The main area of pain is that tender spot between the lower thumb and index finger.

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Rebranded Kenmore 19233/Janome DC 5100
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In reply to rubbecca <<


Date: 8/2/13 12:16 PM

You could call around to Chiropractic offices and see if anyone close by has some. A lot of them sell it to patients and maybe to walk in customers. If you want it quick, I'd make phone calls before ordering it. You will get relief much sooner.

------
I am a Quilter at heart. I love to play with fabrics, patterns and colors. Recently I have discovered I enjoy doing applique. I love making pictures. Using a sewing machine is much easier than counted cross stitch or oil painting for me. I enjoy landscape quilting as well. I am working on my first applique project in the spring of 2014.
Bernina 630, my main machine
Pfaff 2036, my class machine
Babylock Molly
Bernina 1200DA serger
Unique Sewing Cabinet 450L

rubbecca

rubbecca
Advanced Beginner
CA USA
Member since 2/25/08
Posts: 131
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Date: 8/6/13 10:25 AM

Update: I finally made an appt. with a massage therapist and had him work on my injured hand. My Biofreeze order arrived the same day. I have another appt with the massage therapist and a chiro tomorrow. Could take another 7 - 10 days to fully heal. No more marathon machine quilting for me.

I did finish my quilt though as the rest of the work was connecting the blocks to sashing and doing the binding. Here's the quilt that I sacrificed my body for:

My Finished Quilt
-- Edited on 8/6/13 10:28 AM --

------
Janome Sewist 509
Rebranded Kenmore 19233/Janome DC 5100
Janome MyLock 644D
Janome CoverPro 1000CP
Brother PE 700II

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In reply to rubbecca <<


Date: 8/7/13 12:33 PM

Very nice. How can you sew on black? I just can't get enough light to sew much with black. The block designs are very different from each other. Love the colors you used.

I hope the LMT can help heal your hand. I find they do wonders for my shoulders and hips when I over do things. I wish I had gone to one when I had tendonitis for 6 months in each hand and forearm. As it was, it took me nearly a year to get completely back to normal. This was in 2006. I used to do counted cross stitch, but gave it up right after that. Now I do quilting and have as much fun, but it is the machine doing the work for me and not my body so much.

------
I am a Quilter at heart. I love to play with fabrics, patterns and colors. Recently I have discovered I enjoy doing applique. I love making pictures. Using a sewing machine is much easier than counted cross stitch or oil painting for me. I enjoy landscape quilting as well. I am working on my first applique project in the spring of 2014.
Bernina 630, my main machine
Pfaff 2036, my class machine
Babylock Molly
Bernina 1200DA serger
Unique Sewing Cabinet 450L

rubbecca

rubbecca
Advanced Beginner
CA USA
Member since 2/25/08
Posts: 131
Login to reply to this post

Date: 8/8/13 11:23 AM

Thanks for your compliment, Learn to Sew.

I had no problem quilting on black fabric as long as I used the gray thread. On one of the blocks, I stippled with black thread. Though it hid my mistakes well, it didn't make that block pop so I added a little bit of quilting with gray thread.

So I saw a different massage therapist yesterday and he did a better job for me than the first one, although it was more excruciating. He really worked the muscle tissue.

My chiro also used cold laser therapy on my inflamed hand. The cold laser therapy unit can detect where the inflammation is and then repairs the cells.

My hand is finally starting to feel better. I plan to see the chiro and his massage therapist again next week.

------
Janome Sewist 509
Rebranded Kenmore 19233/Janome DC 5100
Janome MyLock 644D
Janome CoverPro 1000CP
Brother PE 700II

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