Do you feel knee discomfort or pain when sitting? You are not alone. In the US, at least one in four adults experience chronic knee pain. Indeed, knee pain is rather common. However, what is probably more mind-boggling for you is why you would experience knee pain while sitting down, even when you’re not exhausted, or you haven’t been overusing your legs.
You might also be wondering if this pain is something you can not worry about or a sign of a more serious problem.
Knee pain can signify both, which is why it is necessary to find its cause so that you can get proper and timely treatment. In today’s blog, we talk about knee pain when sitting and what could be causing it.
What Causes Knee Pain When Sitting?
There are four main reasons why you could experience knee pain when sitting down:
1. You have been sitting too long.
Sitting down for six straight hours or more a day can cause your leg muscles and knee joints to stiffen. This could happen during long flights or working hours. Those with mobility limitations may also be confined to a sitting position for many hours.
To prevent knee pain resulting from sitting too long, try to stand up and stretch or walk around at least once every hour.
2. You are sitting in an awkward position.
The way you sit matters as much as how long you stay seated. Sometimes, you may not notice that you’ve been sitting in an awkward position as you focus on what you’re currently doing. For instance, you may have your legs crossed for quite a while, or sit on your legs. Sitting in an uncomfortable position puts pressure on the kneecaps.
When sitting down, always remember to stay in an ergonomic position, with your feet on the floor and your back straight. You may also consider using a footrest to keep your knees in the right position.
3. Your furniture is non-ergonomic.
Ergonomics play a vital role in how you stay comfortable. This is particularly important if you’re working long hours. For example, if your chair does not provide ample support or causes you to sit in an awkward position, you may experience knee pain while sitting.
You want a chair that’s not too low because bending your knees for too long can cause pain. Your chair must also be optimally adjusted or positioned according to the height of your desk. Sitting too far or too low from your computer table can also cause knee pain and, often, back pain as well.
4. You have an underlying condition.
The worst cause behind knee pain when sitting is an underlying condition that can also manifest itself in other ways. Below are the most common conditions that can bring you knee pain even when you’re quietly seated.
- Osteoarthritis. This condition is common among aging people. It results from the wear and tear of joints. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage and soft tissues that protect and cushion the joints erode, making any movement painful. Furthermore, without the soft tissues to protect the knees, they may lock in place, especially when you sit down for a long time, and become more prone to injury.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. This is another form of arthritis, but unlike osteoarthritis, which is more related to aging, RA is an autoimmune disease. In RA, your own immune system attacks the joint tissues, over time causing inflammation and injury over time. As a result, people with RA find it difficult to rotate or bend their knees. After sitting down for a while, it can be challenging to extend the legs as you stand up.
- Runner’s knee. Also known as patellofemoral syndrome, runner’s knee causes pain near the knee cap due to soft tissue damage. It can be caused by a number of issues, including overexertion during exercise and having an abnormally shaped kneecap.
Do You Need to Go to a Doctor for Knee Pain When Sitting?
If you experience knee pain when sitting, it’s highly recommended to visit a doctor, especially if the pain keeps you from moving around and doing daily activities comfortably. Moreover, it’s particularly important to visit a doctor if:
- You experience new knee pain
- Your typical knee pain has worsened
- Your knee pain has persisted for several days
- You had an injury
- You don’t know what may be causing the pain
- Your pain is severe or you worry that it may signify a serious condition
How is Knee Pain When Sitting Diagnosed and Treated?
Treating knee pain when sitting will depend on the cause of the pain. To diagnose it correctly, the following tests may be required:
- Physical exam. The doctor will feel your knee to check for swelling or potential irritation or injury. They may also ask you to walk and bend and stretch your knee to observe its motion.
- Lab tests. After a physical exam, the doctor may request lab tests to determine whether you have an infection, an autoimmune disease, or other illness that may be causing knee pain.
- Imaging tests. Finally, imaging tests including X-ray or MRI will likely be done to help your doctor visualize the condition of your knee bones and joints.
After these exams and tests, your doctor will be able to provide you with the appropriate treatment recommendations and procedures. These will include:
- Lifestyle changes. Depending on your condition, you may be advised to maintain a more active lifestyle and a healthy diet to promote bone and joint health. For instance, performing low-impact exercises, such as swimming and yoga, can help keep the knees flexible without straining it too much.
- Medications. Your doctor may also prescribe over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen or other NSAIDs.
- Surgery. In more serious situations, your doctor may recommend that you consider having knee replacement surgery. This is particularly helpful to patients whose knee caps are already damaged and have extensive tissue or bone damage.
Get the Right Diagnosis and Treatment From Our Trusted Spring Hill Orthopedic Doctor
If you’ve been experiencing knee pain while sitting, you don’t need to endure it. You can get the right diagnosis and appropriate treatment from our board-certified orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Imad E. Tarabishy. He has the experience and qualifications to perform knee arthroscopy in Spring Hill, as well as other orthopedic procedures, including:
- Iovera procedure
- Knee replacement surgery
- Hip replacement surgery
- Carpal tunnel release
- Trigger finger release
- And more!
Furthermore, he is also a certified mako surgeon in Spring Hill, FL, giving him the qualifications to perform mako robotic surgery.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about our services. You may also reach us by calling 352-596-8558.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.