The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Painful Hands

lynne.up's picture

Painful Hands

I love to knead bread but my hands now hurt a lot.  Anyone have suggestions on how I can return to blissful kneading? 

Also, thank you all for maintaining a website that is so pleasant to read and without bile.

sheri_b's picture

Is your pain caused by drying and cracking of your fingertips (eczema)?  I wrote about that a couple weeks ago, and two other readers have the same problem.  Or is your problem carpal tunnel from kneading?  What is the nature of your pain?


lynne.up's picture

Sorry, I should have been more specific.  My joints ache and sometimes it hurts to grasp something.  I don't want to take any chemicals for it.  If anyone has a homeopathic remedy, I'd appreciate hearing about it.

Yerffej's picture

I have known people with arthritis who have benefited from ingesting aloe vera gel.


clazar123's picture

Use stretch and fold rather than kneading to give your hands a rest.

Alternating heat and cold are always good for any inflammation.It is more effective than just cold alone. Apply 10-15 min each-hot than cold than hot.....for several cycles. Takes a lot of the inflammation right out.See a doc to figure out what is causing it and what the best thing to do for it may be.


PaddyL's picture

I've got the same thing and now I've been told it's carpal tunnel on top of arthritis.  Unfortunately, I can't take any of the meds prescribed for this problem, and though I love kneading almost more than anything else connected with bread, I've had to let the KitchenAid do most of the work for me.  I make up for it by kneading a tiny bit when I take the dough out of the bowl, just to get the feel of the dough, then I try to get the bulk of the satisfaction out of the resulting beautiful bread.  Good luck with your hands.

lynne.up's picture

Thank you for your suggestions!

frazzled's picture

my sympathies here I have arthritis in my hands and have started to rely on my bread machine to knead for me. I am a potter so it is  adouble annoyance to me!! hot cold treatmemt is good but do see your doctor to stop you causing  further damage and nto ignore it like I did for years!

mimifix's picture

Hi Lynne. I totally understand what you're going through; I had carpal tunnel in both hands. But I didn't pay attention and thought I could tough it out, which made everything worse. This led to five hand surgeries. 

I suggest you use a mixer for the kneading; then (gently) caress the dough as much as you want. Stay away from any hand movements that need power or are repetitive. And don't handle any vibrating equipment, such as a lawn mower, vacuum, etc. If the pain wakes you up at night, sleep with the hand supports that have metal splints.

Anti-inflammatory pain meds can help. Ask your doctor about low-dose, longterm usage. And be thankful you have hands. (That's what I tell myself.) Eventually the pain subsides, but you must take care of those hands.




Teshie Cianca-Hampton's picture
Teshie Cianca-H...

Hola Lynne, sorry for your painful situation, start taking Tumeric by capsules, or in tea or in foods (tumeric in powder), it has been used in India for centuries, Ayurvedic medicine; daily I mix it with ginger powder, and I use it in all my cooking, it gives everything a beautiful golden color, and is delicious. BTW is an anti-inflammatory. So Salud, Cheers the Panama Connection in Dover Delaware, Good Luck and Blessings, hope to hear from you again

Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete

Hi Lynne,

I couldn't agree with Mirni more. Get yourself a Kitchen Aid or I think as we know them here in Australia a mix master with a dough hook accessory for kneading. I use my bread baker for kneading only these days and then do the rest myself, autolysing,shaping, folding, raising etc. I won't buy another bread machine when it dies. Only a mix master with the bread accessories.

When I recently carried an excessive amount of weight (App.50 kilos or USA measurements 126Lbs excess) I ended up with arthritis in my left knee. My doctor put me onto "fish oil" capsules so I was not using anti inflammatory chemicals long term. I was suspect of it but I did it and took 2 capules 3 times a day. Mind you the occassional pain killer won't hurt you. Just don't live off them. After about 2 weeks they kicked in and I havent looked back. You don't need a medical prescription and are available at health food shops. They took away a lot of the inflammation and pain in my knee.  Science research has also proven that they are good for the heart for people with cholestoral and heart conditions as it keeps the blood healthy and breaks down  bad fats in your blood system.

I am not saying it is your solution but it worked for me. Talk to your doctor with all the good suggestions mentioned and see what might work for you.

Wish you well............Pete.

008cats's picture

some types of arthritis are degenerative, which means if you don't get effective help it can get worse.

a medical consult will tell you the facts; then you can decide what substances to ingest.

I have osteoarthritis in my lower back and tend to it daily so that I can continue to walk and bend forward at the kitchen counter.

idiotbaker's picture

Hi Lynne,

I'm a physical therapist.  Have you had your hands evaluated?  Is your kneading surface at the right height so that you can get your body weight over your hands.  Do you keep your wrists in a neutral position while you put force through them? Just some things that may help. Using the KA is a good one too.


mahina's picture

lynn, i feel your pain! i, too, was lying awake at night with throbbing hands after happy baking sessions. my son gave me a heavy duty mixer for kneading, and the pain just stopped after a few days.

others have suggested using stretch and fold techniques, and that might be great, too. just stop that kneading, and see if you're better. then, if not, try doctors, pills, etc.



jlewis30's picture

It seems silly, but when my wrists hurt (I have some mild carpel tunnel) I use my elbows when kneading. I use my hands to fold and my elbow to smoosh. Don't judge! =)

PaddyL's picture

I've had to do that myself!

jlewis30's picture


I have a habit of making large batches of bread at one go, like enough dough for 8 large Italian loaves. Not only do I have to use my elbows in self defense, but the first time I learned how much it sucks to have the blob emerge from my proofing bowl and crawl across the counter while I am at the store >.> What part of "doubles in size" slipped my mind...