Have you ever felt knee pain or discomfort when sitting? You might be wondering whether the pain is something that will pass quickly or the sign of a larger problem. It can be a sign of both depending on what causes the pain, your positioning, and the symptoms. Many people find themselves sitting for a long time due to work, events, travel, or recreation such as watching TV or playing computer games at home. Sitting for more than 6 to 8 hours a day can cause your muscles and tendons to stiffen, leading to discomfort and pain. More so, sitting in a wrong or awkward position can make the problem worse. It is recommended to visit a doctor for knee pain treatment if the pain persists and prevents you from moving around.
The two most common causes of knee pain while sitting are Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), also known as Runner’s Knee, and osteoarthritis. PFPS is a condition that describes pain in front of the knee and around the patella or kneecap. It is associated with knee joint overuse and knee-hip muscle imbalance. While it is common in people who participate in sports, it can occur in non-athletes as well. PFPS can make it difficult to squat, jump, climb stairs and perform other daily activities. But you may notice that your knee hurts, especially after sitting for a long time. Osteoarthritis is the joints’ chronic inflammation that may also cause knee discomfort when you stand up after prolonged sitting.
Your doctor will need to know what’s causing your pain so they can treat it correctly. He or she will likely refer you to a physical therapist to improve your range of motion and speed up your recovery. Luckily, knee pain caused by PFPS and osteoarthritis can be relieved with conservative treatment such as activity changes, RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) method, and physiotherapy-approved exercises.
The RICE method is used in treating mild or moderate soft tissue injuries a mnemonic acronym or rest, ice, compression, and elevation. It can relieve pain and swelling and promote healing and flexibility. Rest the knee and take a break from doing any activity causing the pain. Apply ‘ice’ or cold pack on the sore area for 20 minutes several times a day to prevent or minimize swelling. Lightly compress or wrap the knee in an elastic bandage while leaving a hole in the area of the kneecap. Do not wrap it too tightly as it can cause more swelling. Finally, elevate your knee just above the level of your heart when sitting or lying down, as often as you can.
For knee pain relief, avoid doing the activities that make your knee hurt until the pain is resolved, such as climbing the stairs, running, jumping, or sitting for too long. If you are used to working out, it could mean switching to low-impact activities that put less stress on your knee joint but still keep it flexible. Examples include using an elliptical machine, swimming, water aerobics, yoga, or riding a stationary bike. It would also benefit overweight patients to lose weight as it will help reduce pressure on the knees.
The design of the chair you are using, particularly at work, can impact your knee pain. If you sit for long periods, your chair should be appropriately designed and positioned with your desk. Otherwise, you could be holding yourself in an awkward position that can result in knee pain over time. Choose an ergonomic chair that is designed to support the natural curve of the spine. Adjust the height of the chair in a way that your feet can comfortably rest flat on the floor. If you work with a computer, the monitor should be directly in front of you, with the top of the screen at eye level.
Exercise may seem counterintuitive, but it is better for your knee than keeping it still. One of the best things you can do to relieve knee pain is to strengthen the muscles that support your knee and keep them flexible. A physical therapist can help identify specific exercises that are safe and effective for your condition. Together with your therapist, you will strengthen exercises to work out the muscles in the leg and make the knee joints stronger. Also, part of the program is flexibility exercises that increase range of motion to restore knee joint function.
Knee pain associated with PFPS or osteoarthritis can be fully relieved by simply adjusting to your routine or activity level and physical therapy. It is essential to maintain conditioning of the muscles around the knee. It’s best to talk to your doctor or consult with a physiotherapy center Dubai to recommend modifications based on your knee pain. The experts at Scandinavian Physiotherapy Center DMCC can guide you on your journey to recovery. Book an appointment today by calling +971 4 551 6126.