Are you experiencing knee pain when sitting down?
Knee pain due to bending or flexing the knee joint can be a symptom of various health issues, such as bursitis, arthritis, runner’s knee, and tendonitis.
On the other hand, knee pain when sitting can also be a simple case of sitting in the wrong position, a bad chair, or sitting for too long.
Most people experience knee aches if they do a squat with bad form or sit cross-legged for a long time. You can expect this because the knee is under extended stress. But if you have pain in your knee when performing a simple bend or while going into a sitting position, you should seek some medical help from a professional.
In this article, we will talk about sitting and knee pain, how to deal with it, and how to prevent it.
Sitting Long Hours
Lack of physical activity and prolonged sitting can lead to knee pain. The tendons begin to stiffen, leading to lower knee mobility, flexibility, and thus pain when sitting.
Most people sit for long hours during work, meals, cultural events, or at home watching television or spending time in front of a computer.
Sitting daily for 6 to 8 hours is bad for your health. Experts recommend moving around and stretching your body every 30 minutes to an hour.
Being familiar with the poor consequences of prolonged sitting, many people have decided to give standing desks a chance. But don’t overdo it; 2:1 or 3:1 is the optimal sitting-standing ratio.
Awkward sitting positions such as crossed or bent legs put your kneecaps under stress, which can result in aches. Sitting ergonomically is the best prevention here.
Ergonomic sitting positions include:
- Providing support for your back.
- Having a comfortable sitting cushion.
- Sitting with knees bent at 90 degrees, so your thighs are parallel to the floor.
Knee pain can be a sign of the illness, as mentioned earlier. Arthritis usually strikes people older than 50, and the common symptoms are stiffness and pain in the knees, but you can also expect discomfort when standing up after sitting.
It is a pretty common condition, with more than 20% of the US adult population suffering from it.
Treatment for arthritis and bursitis usually involves medication, such as cortisone injections, anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen), Tylenol, or physical therapy.
On the other hand, the runner’s knee is a result of damage in the knee cap and can occur due to inborn abnormalities of the knee, knee injuries that later put additional stress on the knee, too much exercise, etc.
In most cases, this condition is temporary and can improve simply through rest, knee support, and physical therapy.
Finally, tendonitis can occur due to the inflammation of the knee-supporting tendons. Those are hamstring, patellar, and quadriceps tendons, and they cause pain on the back of the thigh, in front of the knee cap, in the knee base, or above the knee cap, respectively.
The way the chair you’re sitting on is designed can dictate whether or not you’ll be experiencing knee pain.
Long sitting hours in a chair with hard seating, no back support, or too low a chair can easily result in knee pain.
A good office chair should have an appropriate ergonomic design and be positioned optimally from the screen and at an optimal height for your desk. Your chair should also have other important ergonomic features such as armrests and adjustability.
How to Stop and Prevent Knee Pain When Sitting
Here are some good practices designed to help you stop knee pain when sitting down and prevent its occurrence in the future.
Stretch Your Legs Regularly
If you’re doing a sedentary job, try to be conscious of the negative consequences of prolonged sitting, even on the days when your knee isn’t hurting. Consider setting an alarm or another reminder to stand up more often.
If possible, add some stretches to that walk, warm up your joints, stretch the tendons, and use your legs around the office.
Use a Standing Desk
Another great and widespread solution to long sitting hours these days is the standing desk. If you decide to try this fantastic invention, make sure to respect the sitting-standing ratio mentioned above (2:1 or 3:1 in favor of sitting). Also, consider using a chair that can adjust to a wide variety of your desk’s heights. With a little bit of DIY work, you can enhance your chair’s height, even to the standing desk level.
Avoid Sitting in Awkward Positions
Try to be mindful of how you’re sitting. Avoid positions that put your knees under prolonged stress. Cross-legged positions, kneeling, sitting on the heels, or sitting weirdly in your chair (e.g. on your bent leg, or with both heels residing on the seating, and knees bent and near the shoulders) can result in unnecessary knee stress. Find a comfortable position that lets your arms, legs, hips, and back take a natural position and remain as relaxed as possible.
Use Ergonomic Furniture
The chair is the most critical piece of furniture for avoiding knee, back, neck, and other pains. An investment in a good ergonomic chair, such as a Herman Miller chair, is an investment in personal health and comfort.
You can also invest in each ergonomic feature separately, such as back support, ergonomic seat cushion, armrest, etc.
Other things to consider are ergonomic mouse and keyboard, proper desk height, monitor distance, and room lighting.
Seak Knee Pain Treatment
Last but not least, if knee pain is still with you even after you’ve changed your sitting habits, improved sitting furniture, rested your knees, and implemented more physical activity, movement, and stretching into your daily routine, perhaps it is a good idea to pay a visit to a professional and find out what’s going on.
Knee pain when sitting down may appear, from health issues to our sitting habits or improper furniture. There’s a lot we can do on our own, such as making sure that we have enough physical movement and stretching during the day, sitting in a comfortable position, and on furniture that supports instead of burdens those body parts that are the most sensitive to long sitting hours (back, neck, knees).
However, sometimes the pain caused by physical illnesses requires medical attention and treatment with adequate medication or physical therapy. If you’re experiencing prolonged pain even after taking preventative measures, consider seeing a professional.