RA Solutions
Comments 3

Knitting and RA

Last summer I had a strong urge to take up knitting again. I hadn’t knitted in many years and wasn’t sure I remembered how. I bought a book for teaching children how to knit and learned quickly that knitting was like riding a bike, once learned not to be forgotten. I enjoyed the projects. Easy. Big needles. Satisfying. The basket in the picture was one of the projects. Circular needles.

A few years ago I was sent to a  hand clinic for my RA. I learned a series of exercises to strengthen my fingers, hands and wrists. It was the most helpful process I had had for my RA. I still do the exercises. I have added knitting as another way to exercise my hands. I enjoy projects simple and repetitive and I enjoy projects with complicated precise instructions. I usually knit a bit every day.

There are times when I can’t knit. My hands are too inflamed. Sometimes my shoulder is too inflamed. So I just stop for a bit and carry on when I can.

RA is debilitating. All the RA drugs are palliative only. Yet they are important in that they can slow the destructive process. Recently I had a severe episode of hip and shoulder pain. It was scary on many levels. Pain. Mobility. And it was new.  Medrol saved the day for me. I have hydrocodone. But I don’t take it for this. Medrol is the miracle drug and it is at 8 mg over my normal of 4 mg a day. Remember 4 mg Medrol is equal to 5 mg prednisone.

With a disease that is a permanent part of life learning to manage is very hard to do. Yet it is an important part of surviving the ups and downs of a painful and debilitating disease. As time passes and my experiences with RA increase in number, I see that I am managing and I am happy that I can.

I am currently making Easter baskets for my family. They are small, colorful and charming. The bottoms are detailed and artistic. Satisfying and productive.


  1. Helpful to know the conversion factor of Medrol to prednisone. Thanks. And I never learned to knit and think I’m hopeless now! Good for you.


  2. Anonymous says

    Hi Mary,
    My name is Regina. I have RA as well and my company is Knitfittery. You can find me on facebook. I love teaching people a new skill that they can take anywhere with them, that has no limitations but their own imagination. I guess i teach very different to that average knitting teacher, I was taught to knit growing up in school in Ireland and it was very strict so I wanted to take a very different approach that would make knitting a fun learning process.
    I love that you don’t let an illness define you and you take a skill like knitting to help allieve the pain and stiffness that comes with RA to help you . Its a great approach! I wish you the very best on your knitting journey and the very best with your RA.
    Knitfittery has a free event going on right now ,” knit a squeak to show you care” if you are interested. Thought i would share.

    Take care,


    • Thanks Regina. Teaching people to knit is a noble calling. Teaching them in a fun way is a bonus. My grandfather was a Finnegan but a few generations away from Ireland.


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