You know the aches and pains of working a desk job too well. It’s common to experience back, neck, and shoulder pain from prolonged sitting.
But what about your knees? Do you sit for so long in one position that it hurts your knees?
If so, you’re not alone: a lot of people have issues with their knees as a result of desk work. Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to ease the stress on your knees from working at a desk.
Why do our knees hurt when we sit?
When you sit, the muscles around your knees contract in order to stabilize your knee joint. This causes your knee muscles to tighten and puts pressure on the surrounding ligaments and joints. Over time, this can cause knee pain, discomfort, and even lead to knee pain.
There are a couple of reasons why this happens. First, when you sit, you engage your quadriceps, which are the muscles at the front of your upper leg.
Sitting encourages these muscles to contract, which means that the muscles at the back of your upper leg (your hamstrings) aren’t being used as much.
Over time, this can lead to imbalances in strength and tightness in the muscles of your legs.
What can we do to ease knee pain from sitting?
As with any kind of pain, prevention is always better than dealing with the aftermath. How can you prevent knee pain from sitting?
- Stretch before you sit: This can help prevent knee pain by loosening up your lower legs and relieving some of the pressure on your knees.
- Stand up and walk away from your desk for a few minutes every hour or two: Even walking around the office for a few minutes can help ease the pressure on your knees.
- Get an ergonomic chair: An ergonomic chair can help maintain better posture and distribute weight more evenly between your lower legs and your back.
Standing desks and other adjustable desks
Standing desks or adjustable height desks are becoming more and more popular. Many studies have shown that standing while working is better for your overall health, but can standing all day ease knee pain?
It depends on your pain and the type of knee pain you have. For example, if you have arthritis, standing all day may not be a good idea. In that case, you might want to consider an adjustable height desk and perhaps even a sit-stand desk. A sit-stand desk allows you to sit or stand while working.
If you have general knee pain, however, standing while working may help ease the pressure on your knees. There are also many other things you can do to ease knee pain while standing, like taking regular breaks (shocker, huh?), keeping your feet and legs active, and wearing comfortable shoes.
Knee supports and cushioning
Knee supports and knee cushions can ease the pressure on your knees from sitting. They can help support your knees and keep them from falling asleep or feeling tingly. Some knee supports and knee cushions can also help realign your knee when you press it down on a desk or table. Knee supports and knee cushions are especially helpful for people with knee pain.
However, you should use them only when necessary. Over-relying on knee supports and knee cushions can actually put more stress on your knees, potentially causing more harm than good. If you feel a lot of pain in your knees when you’re sitting at your desk, consider using a knee support or knee cushion.
Footrest, heel lifts, and ergonomic chairs
Footrests, heel lifts, and ergonomic chairs can all help ease knee pain. A footrest can help keep your feet and ankles from swelling, which can cause knee pain.
An ergonomic chair can help distribute weight more evenly between your lower legs and your back. And a heel lift can bring your legs up a little higher, which can relieve some of the pressure on your knees. You should always talk to your doctor or a physical therapist before using a heel lift.
Stretch! Don’t forget to stretch.
The knee is a very complex joint, made up of many different muscles and ligaments. When we sit, the muscles around our knees tighten, which puts pressure on all of the surrounding ligaments and joints.
That’s why you should make sure to stretch your calves and quads regularly. A good rule of thumb is to stretch your lower legs for 30 seconds every hour you’re sitting. You can also stretch your hamstrings by placing one leg behind you while sitting.
It can also help to stand up, place your hands on the edge of your desk, and gently lean forward. This will help to stretch out your lower back and hips, which can also help ease the knee pain.
Knee pain is a common complaint among people who spend a lot of time sitting.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can ease the pressure on your knees while at a desk.
To prevent knee pain, you should stretch before you sit, make sure your chair is ergonomically correct, and take frequent breaks from your desk. You can also use knee supports and knee cushions when necessary.
If you want to prevent knee pain, make sure that you’re taking the necessary steps to stay healthy while sitting at a desk.