Thyroid UK

Sore Thumb Joints

Does anyone who is hypo suffer from achy joints? A couple of days after a 3 - 4 hour knitting session my thumb joints were killing me. I have knitted for years just not that long in one go and never had a problem before. I didn't knit again for nearly four months and have just picked it up again and am now back to square one :( although I have only knitted for a short while each night.

Any advice what I can do - apart from not knitting!


13 Replies

maybe anti inflammatories...I get that really easy now, but not in fingers...shoulder


I had terrible trouble knitting and had to give up for over a year when I was really bad with hypo symptoms.

Most of the time, I am not too bad, but I put that down to the technique I use. I use the longest needles I can get and tuck the working needle under my right arm to hold it, which means that I am not supporting all the weight of the knitting in my hands. This means that the movements are more evenly balanced - the right hand moves the yarn round the needle and the left hand 'pushes' the stitch onto the working needle, then the yarn round with the right, then the left draws the stitch over and off. I did not realise how much less strain this was on my right hand until I got a circular needle and had to use the thumbs to support the knitting.

Circular needles are definitely more difficult for me. Another possibility is the American method where you use the left hand to pass the yarn over, but I can't work like that. The underarm method is a Northern thing, I think, although my Spanish husband said his mother and aunts knitted like that. too. It's a very fast method once you get the hang of it, especially for large areas of stocking stitch or garter stitch.

This is a video of how it works, more or less. I keep my right hand closer to the needles and tension the thread slightly differently but it is basically the same. I can knit a plain sweater for women in about three or four days, an Aran in about two weeks. Best of all, very little pain in the hands.

I don't know if this would help.


I get creaky joints, & some of them hurt at times as well. I`m taking 50mg of thyroxine daily, the right dose according to blood tests. I`m a bit confused as to whether my problems are due to inadequate thyroid hormone or age.


My philosophy is - assume it's the thyroid until proven otherwise. My GP was adamant that the downhill slide which began as I turned 61 was age (Although I had been working 1 year before and had a clean bill of health from my occupational medical ).

This, despite the fact that the downhill slide coincided perfectly with his reducing my thyroid meds from 150 to 100 - 8 weeks afterwards, to be exact. Down to the right dose, according to the blood tests.

Oh no, NO connection.

I am now much closer to optimally treated. (Well, over-treated according to my TSH, but NOT my T3 which the GP ignores.)

Guess what - the 'arthritis' in my knees seems to have healed itself, my cholesterol has fallen from 10.2 to 6.7 without statins, I have lost two stones in weight and I can walk upstairs without cringing in pain. I have started knitting again and my 'depression' has gone, I now actually look forward to going out, instead of being a recluse.

I am 69 now and I am better than when I was 61 - in fact, I'm better than I was at 59, come to think of it.

Not connected with hypothyroidism? pull the other one!

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Yes, very painful hands (especially the joints at the base of my thumbs) and feet. Unfortunately I don't have any helpful solutions :-( Hope you find something that helps ease them soon.


I found Acupunture really helped. It is also the first sign that my dose is off.


My joints 'take turns' to hurt - including thumbs, fingers and elbows.

My feet are always horribly stiff in the mornings.

I've learned to live with it now as when I'm 'allowed' to stay on my meds I feel generally well.


Hi yes I have that on levo too. I can't walk when I get out of bed and knees and feet in agony! Also servere weightloss and fatigue! Due to doctors error I was left over Christmas and new year without medication and after 2 weeks I began to feel amazing!!!!! No pain in joints half a stone at last on and loads of energy without all the hot flushes too!!!! Had to get blood checked again after telling the doctor and was so shocked to discover while feeling so much better TSh 47. 73. Free T4 4. I am refusing to go back on to levo as it has been causing these terrible side effects and it will grind me to a halt if I do! At last I'm being referred to endo after years of being ignored. I know I will be starting to feel ill soon but being on levo is worse!!!!! Something wrong somewhere!!!!


Dear Teyris

It took me a while to twig but for me it is one of my signs that my levels have dropped. Index finger joints and knees (downstairs), I have other signs but these along with those are my flags. As I am Hashimotos my levels fluctuate. I am currently trying to learn how to adjust my meds in order to keep level.

All the best Rosiebones


Just my two pennies worth, which may be helpful.

Long before I started having trouble with mythyroid I gave myself severe tendonitis knitting. It started with pains in my hands, which i ignored, and got worse. I used to knit for hours at a time.

It got so bad that I went to the web and found that tendonitis -RSI - was very common from knitting.

I had 3 Alexander lessons for posture, which changed the way I walked and sat. I was also careful to keep hydrated and stop every hour for five minutes of standing up and stretching.

I don't want to make light of your condition - I'm so sorry about it. I jsut wanted to share what I'd learned the hard way as a fellow knitter. Purls of wisdom?


My hashis husband has trouble with his thumbs and has had trapeziotomys done

i had absolute hell with my thumbs when i was poisoned with aluminium

i would suggest you check all your cooking utensils first and then if they are ok demand your thyroxine is increased back to where you feel well and stuff the blood tests cholesterol should be below 5

i bet your free t4 is not at top of the range and your doctor is relying on stupid tsh test


I agree with the post below about tendonitis. I am a keen knitter, but make sure I take a break regularly, only do about two hours a day and have learnt a number of exercises to stretch the hands, forearm and shoulder. I also play the bassoon, which causes many of the same problems.

Last year I had a course of very painful ( and expensive) physio sessions for tennis elbow caused by a combination of bassoon and knitting.

The thyroid may exacerbate the problem, but I would strongly recommend taking regular breaks, stretching and excercising the arms every half hour or so. There are some good RSI/ tennis elbow stretches on You tube. Also keep hydrated. I find this is the only way to keep going.

Good luck

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mine improved once I started on T3!


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