Why Sitting On Your Knees May Hurt, and Whether That’s Bad for Your Health
The knee joint is one of the most commonly injured joints in the human body. Many people have been hurt or even killed due to their knees being too tight or not flexible enough. Even if your knees are fine, they may still feel like something is wrong with them. There are many reasons why someone might suffer from knee pain.
One of the main causes could be because they’re sitting incorrectly.
Knee Joint Problems: Sitting Too Much, Not Enough, or Just Right?
Many people sit all day long without any problems. However, some people tend to get uncomfortable after just a few hours of sitting down. If you’re one of those people then it would make sense that your knees might be feeling sore and stiff after such prolonged periods of time.
However, there are other people who sit for extended periods of time but don’t experience any discomfort at all. These people might actually be doing themselves a disservice by sitting too much or not enough. They may be hurting their knees just by doing so!
So what exactly is going on here? What does it mean to sit correctly? How do you know if you’re sitting right?
Let’s take a look at each situation and see which way is better for your knees.
If you’re reading this article then chances are you already know that you might be sitting incorrectly. It may come as no surprise to you. Chances are also good that you stand or walk around quite a bit during the day. Even so, your knees still might ache after you’ve been sitting for awhile.
There are two main reasons for this.
The first reason is fairly obvious and it has to deal with how you sit. If you have bad posture then your knees can’t be in the most comfortable position. This problem is compounded if you’re sitting on a hard surface such as a wooden chair. The constant pressure from the chair forces your body to adapt into a less than desirable shape.
It’s not just humans that have this problem either as animals do as well.
Have you ever seen a cat or dog with sore looking legs after being in a crate for too long?
It’s because of bad posture and extended periods of inactivity.
The second reason why you might be uncomfortable is due to the amount of time you spend sitting. Whether or not your position is good, your knees won’t really be able to handle sitting for eight hours straight. It doesn’t matter if your feet are elevated and you’re not leaning too much on your back; your knees and legs will hurt after a few hours. Luckily, there are some things you can do about this.
Fortunately, there are ways that you can sit correctly (and comfortably) so that your knees won’t be in pain any longer. You don’t even need to purchase any special equipment since you probably already have everything you need. Let’s take a look at what you can do.
First and foremost, make sure your feet are flat on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Don’t cross your legs or have your knees pointing inwards.
The next thing you’ll want to do is to keep your back straight. This means keeping your shoulders pulled back and head held high. Don’t slouch! Once again, don’t lean too much on anything (such as the back of a chair) since this will only force you into a bad position.
The thing you’ll probably want to concentrate on the most is your hands. The way you position your arms has a direct effect on how your legs and back align. Make sure your arms are resting on whatever you’re sitting on with your elbows bent at a right angle. Your forearms should be perpendicular to the floor and parallel to each other.
Now place your hands on the sides of your thighs with your thumbs pressing into the middle of your thigh muscles. Your hands should be applying pressure on the muscles but not so much that it hurts.
The next thing you’ll want to do is tuck your toes under and lift your feet off the floor. Only lift them high enough so that your heels are no longer touching the floor. You want to keep this position for as long as you’re going to be sitting down. As you can see, this form of sitting promotes good circulation which keeps your legs from getting stiff.
As you’re sitting there with your legs in the air like an infant, you might feel a little silly. This is to be expected but just remember that the less your legs hurt, the sillier you’ll be able to feel. You might even get into a contest with someone else to see who can sit the longest.
The great thing about this method is that it doesn’t really matter what you’re sitting on so it’s perfectly fine if your chair has no back or is just a wooden bench. You can even sit on the floor. It’s not really comfortable but it works really well and is much better for your back.
Of course, there are other ways to make sure your knees and legs feel good while you’re sitting down. It’s all about finding what works for you.
Just as you want your environment to be free of distraction, you also want a chair that allows you to be comfortable. As we just discussed, sitting on the floor is probably not the best idea since it’s hard to concentrate with your legs falling asleep. A wooden chair with no padding may be more comfortable than the floor but it still won’t do much in terms of comfort.
The best chairs to use are usually padded with a back. The back is mainly for comfort but it also keeps your spine in good alignment. A hard wooden chair with no back would be better than just sitting on the floor but it still wouldn’t be ideal.
Chairs with arms are a no-no since they force your body into an awkward position which doesn’t allow you to move around very well. Chairs with wheels are also a bad idea since they promote movement which would only distract you.
As far as padding goes, the softer the chair the better. The point is to be comfortable so you don’t get stiff while using the chair for long periods of time. If a soft cushion is not enough then a pillow may do the trick.
The only problem with this method is that it’s really not suitable for all areas. If you’re in a library or somewhere else where chair choice is limited, these tips may not work for you. In fact, they may not even be practical in your own home if you don’t have enough space.
The only option left is to improvise and find something that works. The most important thing is to keep your body as comfortable as possible so you can stay in the same position for long periods of time without getting stiff.
The Eyes Have It
If you happen to be sitting in front of a computer, there are some additional things you can do to prevent eye strain. The main thing is to make sure your computer screen is at the proper eye level. You can do this by either raising or lowering your desk chair or by sitting on a regular chair and adjusting the height of your chair.
You also want to make sure that you’re not looking down at the screen nor looking up at it. Both of these positions can cause neck strain and in some cases even cause headaches.
You want to look at your screen straight on which may mean raising or lowering your chair. Play around with the height until you find a position that allows you to look straight at your monitor. You should also be looking at the screen at about the same level as the center. This means you shouldn’t be looking up or down when looking at it.
This all may sound a little complicated but it really isn’t. You just want to find the position that allows you to look at your monitor without straining your neck in any direction.
If you’re using a notebook computer, the same rules apply except you have even less room to work with so adjustments are more crucial.
Posture Is Everything
Your posture also plays an important role in how comfortable you are while sitting in front of the computer. The way you’re sitting right now may not be the most comfortable position for you to be in while you read this article.
The first thing you should do is make sure your chair is adjusted to its fullest height. This will allow you to sit up straight without hunching over. Don’t lean forward or lean backwards. And keep your elbows at a ninety degree angle.
You should also make sure that your feet are flat on the floor if you’re using a desk chair. If you’re sitting on a regular chair then your legs should form a ninety degree angle as well.
Keep Your Eyes Off The Screen
Another thing most people don’t know is that you shouldn’t be looking at your computer screen for long periods of time. Every fifteen minutes or so, you should look away from the screen and glance at something farther away, such as a picture on the wall or even a window. In addition, you can increase the amount of vertical space in your line of vision to reduce eye strain.
Increase Your Space
The final tip I have for you today is to increase the distance between yourself and your computer. I don’t mean move it away from you, although that may be a good idea as well. What I mean is that you should get up and move around every now and then. Go get a glass of water or go to the bathroom.
Remember, if you find yourself sitting at your computer for more than four hours at a time, then you should get up and move around for at least five minutes. This will allow the blood to flow back into your muscles and prevent cramps. It will also keep your mind focused which will prevent headaches and other eye strain symptoms.
I hope these tips will help you out in some way. If you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to let me know.
Thanks for reading and have a great day!
Sources & references used in this article:
Health beliefs before and after participation on an exercised-based rehabilitation programme for chronic knee pain: doing is believing by R McKenzie, P Van Wijmen – 1985 – Spinal publications New Zealand
Assessing chronic joint pain: lessons from a focus group study by MV Hurley, N Walsh, V Bhavnani, N Britten… – BMC Musculoskeletal …, 2010 – Springer
Adolescent flexibility, endurance strength, and physical activity as predictors of adult tension neck, low back pain, and knee injury: a 25 year follow up study by R Gooberman‐Hill, G Woolhead… – Arthritis Care & …, 2007 – Wiley Online Library
… criteria, special considerations, and epidemiology: a report from the restless legs syndrome diagnosis and epidemiology workshop at the National Institutes of Health by LO Mikkelsson, H Nupponen, J Kaprio… – British journal of sports …, 2006 – bjsm.bmj.com
Dangerous grains: Why gluten cereal grains may be hazardous to your health by RP Allen, D Picchietti, WA Hening, C Trenkwalder… – Sleep medicine, 2003 – Elsevier
The significance and consequences of having painful and disabled joints in older age: co‐existing accounts of normal and disrupted biographies by J Braly, R Hoggan – 2002 – books.google.com