What are the various knee problems due to prolong sitting?

All of us are aware of the problems being posted on the spine and back due to prolong sitting but do we know how adversely it affect our knee as well. In particular, office environments can often be hard on the knees. While you might not think it, sitting down all day can actually be a very stressful position to maintain, especially on your joints like those in your back and knees. There are lot of ways due to which long sitting can cause problems in day to day work life such as –

  • If your job calls for you to sit for more than an hour at a time (and most office jobs do), then you will probably experience knee pain due to inactivity. The muscles and tendons can become stiff and painful. Sitting in the wrong position for a long period of time can also cause pain by putting pressure on the kneecap.
  • Incorrect furniture or sitting position. If you are not using well-designed, ergonomic office furniture or your furniture is in the correct position, height or alignment, you may find yourself suffering from knee pain and stiffness from holding your body at an awkward position for extended periods of time. Certain positions are harder in the knees than others, and pain is most often caused by having your office chair set too low, or keeping your knees in a bent position for too long.

Why is sitting, a threat to your knees? and how can prolong sitting cause damage?

Sitting down for long periods can cause knee pain due these common reasons –

  • You are sitting on furniture that isn’t providing enough support.
  • You have an underlying health condition contributing to the pain.
  • You have been sitting for too long in one position.
  • You are sitting in an uncomfortable or awkward position.

Luckily, most of these problems have relatively easy solutions.

Sitting Too Long

When you sit for more than six to eight hours each day, you may feel pain from muscles and joints that stiffen while you stay in the same position. You can prevent pain by standing up and stretching or walking around every half-hour or hour.

Sitting Position

The way you sit can also impact the way you feel. If your kneecap hurts when sitting, you may have your legs crossed or be sitting on your legs, which puts your kneecaps under pressure. Change how you sit to a more ergonomic position, keeping your feet on the floor and your back straight for good posture. Using a footrest can help keep your knees in the right place.


Ergonomics can also affect your pain level when it comes to furniture. A supportive chair can do wonders to decrease your knee pain, primarily when you work. You want a chair that is not too low, which can spark knee pain. Bending your knees for too long can also cause pain. Make sure your chair is positioned optimally at your desk, too, as sitting too far from your computer could also cause pain in your knees and back.

Few exercises that can help with knee strengthening for prevention of knee pain while prolong sitting and standing.

  1. Dynamic Quads strengthening – On the chair, sit straight and one by one extent your leg after every 3-4 hours and complete 10 repetitions.
  2. Seated hip Flexion -On the chair , sit straight and with your knee bend try to lift it one by one with 10 repetitions on each side.
  3. Seated leg raises– Slightly move forward on the chair and sit in a slanting position, now one by one try to lift your leg straight with holding on to the side of the chair. 10 repetitions on each side.
  4. Seated wall squats– on a wall try to keep your back supported and slide down to hold yourself in mini squat position. Do for 5 secs hold and 10 repetitions. Avoid in case of any pain in the knee.
  5. Standing chair lunge – Keeping one leg on the chair try to balance yourself and bend down and forward. relax and repeat for the other side. Do 10 repetition on each of the side.

Precautions for knee pain while doing sitting job.

Since most kinds of knee pain that afflict office workers are caused by some kind of inactivity, getting more active is the best way to correct it!

  • Make sure you get up and stretch at least once every single hour.
  • Adjust your chair, so you are not sitting in a low position most of the time.
  • Try taking a mild, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory before a long day at your desk, to prevent knee pain and swelling.
  • If you are prone to knee pain during the day, make sure you ice it at night and keep it elevated in the evenings. Propping your leg up on a cushion while you relax is very good for it.
  • Regularly perform stretches that are good for your overall knee health, such as stretches that work the hamstrings and quadriceps.

If your job keeps you at your desk for long periods of time, make sure that you take some time after work to get some physical activity and keep your muscles, tendons and joints in good working order. Even a short walk every day can do a world of good. Though office environments may not be conducive to getting all of the activity we should every day, there are lots of little things you can do to turn your sedentary lifestyle into a more active one.

Published by

Dr. Snigdha Sharma (PT)

Consultant Physiotherapist. Physio Active