Knee pain while sitting

Working 40 hours a week — or even more, when the busy season comes around — helping your kids with their homework, taking care of your dog, cooking dinner, and all that commuting leaves little time to get in your workout. Sure, you could wake up at 4 or 5 a.m. to hit the gym before you shower and leave for work, but when the baby keeps you up until midnight, that’s not possible — unless you want to sleep through your 10 a.m. meeting. If you feel like you aren’t getting the exercise that not only keeps you in shape and healthy but boosts the endorphins and relieves stress, you are definitely not alone.

According to Fitness.gov:

  • One in three adults gets the recommended amount of physical activity each week
  • 28% of Americans aged 6 and older are physically inactive

This lack of activity doesn’t just affect your health; it can have a direct impact on your work performance and employee engagement. According to studies in the American College of Sports Medicine and published in the Journal of Workplace Health Management:

  • 60% of employees said their time management skills, mental performance, and ability to meet deadlines improved on days they exercised
  • 27% of employees reported higher levels of “dealing calmly with stress” on days they exercised
  • 41% of employees reported higher rates of “feeling motivated to work” on exercise days

Clearly exercise is beneficial in so many aspects of our lives, even in our jobs (don’t forget that sitting for prolonged hours is actually harmful to your health). But not all of our workplaces sponsor lunchtime yoga or have gyms on site. Even then, it’s difficult to find the time. However, there are eight exercises you can do right at your desk — some even while you’re sitting down.

Contents

1. Seated Leg Raises

You can do these leg and abdominal exercises even when you’re in a meeting or on a conference call without people noticing. Sit upright in your office chair. Straighten your left leg so that it is parallel to the floor and hold it in place for 10 seconds. Now, do the same thing with your right leg. Repeat both legs for 15 repetitions. One you build up strength, try adding weight to your legs by looping your purse or briefcase on your legs while you do the raises.

2. The Hovering Leg Raise

A variant of the above exercise works out your core. Just like above, sit upright in your chair. But this time, raise both legs so that they are parallel to the floor. Slowly lower your legs until they are hovering an inch or two above the ground. Hold the position for as long as you can, and then release.

3. The Football Fast Feet

Sit in your desk chair with your feet flat on the ground. Rapidly tap your feet in place, just like you would do if you were running in place. Do this for 30 seconds. Pause. Then do it for another 30 seconds. Work this in every half hour or so to bring up your heart rate without breaking a sweat that will embarrass you at your afternoon meeting.

4. Chair Dips

SOURCE: hitchfit.com

For this exercise, you need an office chair that won’t roll away from you. Scoot up to the very front edge of your chair, place your legs out in front of you, and place your hands on either side of your hips, fingers pointing toward your desk. Grasp the edges of the chair with both hands, and use your core and arms to raise your body up off the chair and then down so that your rear goes down toward the floor. Push yourself back up, and repeat 15 times. Do three cycles of 15.

5. Shadow Boxing

Not only will this exercise raise your heart rate and bring in some cardio, but it will also be a good stress release if you had a particularly frustrating day at the office. Raise your fists up in front of your face in a boxing position — while you’re sitting a safe distance away from your computer. Punch your fists forward in the air, as if you are using a punching bag, switching back and forth from right arm to left. Do this for 30 seconds. Pause. Repeat for 30 seconds. Again, like other cardio exercises, work this repetition into scheduled intervals in your work day.

6. Water Bottle Free Weights

For a simple, effective variant on your favorite free weight exercises, take two filled water bottles. Using these as weights, do overhead presses, arm curls, and other simple gym-style workouts right at your desk.

7. The Swiveling Abs

Remember when you were a kid and there was nothing better than a desk chair that spins? Use that fun as a grown-up for a great ab workout. Sit upright in your swivel chair and lift your feet off the ground. Lightly hold on to the desk with your fingers — but ensure that your hands or arms aren’t doing the work here, because it should be all core oblique abdominals here. Use those abs and the rest of your core to swivel the chair from left to right and back again. Do 15 repetitions in three cycles.

8. The Leaning Plank

This exercise requires you do get up from your desk chair, but it can be great while you’re waiting in line for the coffee machine or the microwave, or in those few minutes when everyone has left the conference room after a meeting. This is a variant on a plank exercise, using a very similar form. Step back so that you are at least a foot away from a wall and then lean forward against it using only your forearms for support. Hold this position as long as you can.

For a variant, get into the leaning position and lower yourself until your shoulders almost touch the wall, too, and push yourself back up. Repeat 15 times.

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If you are sitting down and reading this article right now, you should stop! Okay, well don’t stop reading, but you might want to stand up to finish it. I will make sure to give you some exercises to do at your desk later, and you’re going to want to.

Why? Well, if you are like most people today, chances are you are spending too much time tied to your desk buried in emails. Or maybe you’re whiling away the time mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram because you have a fear of missing out

Our modern lives have been engineered so that we can spend most of it sitting down. Unfortunately, sitting is literally killing us.

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 3.2 million deaths can be attributed to lack of physical activity. (1) Our sedentary lifestyles are responsible for increasing our risk of diabetes and heart disease as well as a loss of muscle and bone strength. Perhaps even more alarming is that people who exercise regularly are probably still not getting enough movement in their lives to counteract the deleterious effects of sitting too much. (2)

All That Sitting Is Making You Fat

On average, we spend about 9.5 hours a day sitting. Compare that to the 7.5 hours of sleep we are getting on average, we are doing a lot of sitting.

Then let’s look at the typical work day. Most likely, you commute to and from your job in a car with comfy bucket seats. Or at the very least you may be sitting on something a little less comfortable if you commute by train or bus, but still sitting. You roll into the office and sit down at your desk and stare at your screensaver of a remote tropical beach while listening to voicemails. Meetings, conference calls, and maybe even a little gossip session, probably all done while sitting.

Did you have your lunch delivered so you could eat at your desk and keep working? At the end of the day, you sit down for the commute home where you most likely can’t wait to hit the couch.

See how much and how quickly it can all add up? That’s the reason that hour on the elliptical isn’t going to save you! The impact of all that sitting is an increased rate of obesity. (3)

The good news is that with a little more activity throughout the day, we can actually reverse the inevitable weight gain — maybe even lose up to 20 pounds — associated with such a sedentary existence.

One study looked at the resting metabolic rate (RMR) of obese women. The original assumption was that their RMR was going to be lower than their leaner counterparts. What they actually discovered was the obese group sat an extra 2.5 hours a day. By increasing their daily physical activity alone, they could expend an additional 300 calories a day. (4)

Little changes here and there can go a long way in keeping you healthy and happy.

Also, We Are Sitting Wrong

There are countless ways you sneak more activity into your day, aka exercise hacks. There are exercises to do at your desk, such as chair exercises and stretches you can incorporate into your daily routine. But before we get into the various ways you can exercise at your desk, one of the best ways to eliminate back pain and stiff necks is to make sure you are sitting properly.

Let’s be honest here, for all the sitting we do, we aren’t very good at it. We do a lot of slouching and craning our heads forward. Our heads are heavy, and the further forward we have them as opposed to being aligned with our spine, the heavier they become.

By maintaining a forward head posture, you are constantly compressing all the nerves that lead to those awful headaches at the base of your skull. Being chronically out of alignment causes fatigue and aches and can have consequences as severe as asthma, sciatic nerve pain, disc compression and arthritis.

Making sure your desk chair is the right height can drastically reduce neck and back strain. Your feet should be able to be flat on the floor and your knees and hips at a 90-degree angle. Keep your lower back pressed against the chair to help maintain good posture. One of the most important things you can do to avoid forward head posture is to make sure the top one-third of your monitor is above eye level.

Stretch at Your Desk

These 10 stretches you can do at your desk will keep you bendy and feeling good. Like yoga … at your desk.

1. Rubber Neck
Sit up tall and drop your right ear down towards your right shoulder (you don’t have to touch it!) and hold for a few seconds and repeat for the left side.

2. Reach for the Stars
Interlace your fingers and reach up towards the sky, as high as you can … keeping your palms facing up towards the ceiling.

3. Look Around
Turn your head the left and try and look over your shoulder and hold for a few seconds … repeat on the right.

4. Bobblehead
Drop your chin down towards your chest and GENTLY roll your head from side to side.

5. Shrugs
Raise both shoulders up towards your ears and hold for a few seconds and release. Repeat a few times for good measure.

6. Chest Opener
Bring your hands behind your back, press your palms together, sit up tall and hold for 5–10 seconds.

7. Seated Toy Soldier
Sit up tall and extend your right arm all the way up towards the ceiling. Straighten your left leg out and raise it up as you bring your right arm down and try to touch your left foot. Do 8–10 on each side.

8. Knee Hugger
With a bent knee, lift your right leg up and grab it with your arms and pull it in as close to your chest as you can. Hold for 5–10 seconds and make sure and do it on the left side, too.

9. Reach and Bend
Extend your right arm over your head and reach out as far as you can to the left and gently bend over. Hold for a few seconds and do it the other way.

10. Knee Press
This one stretches out the glutes. With your right ankle on your left knee, gently press against the right knee a few times. Of course, after you’re done with the right side, be sure and give the left side some love, too.

When You’re Ready to Upgrade, Exercise at Your Desk

Stretching is fantastic, and it’s definitely something you should be including in your office workout plan, but what if you’re ready to take things to the next level? Check out the following 10 exercises to do at your desk. Go ahead, mute that conference call you are on, get your blood flowing and challenge your muscles.

1. Walk/Jog/Run in Place

30–45 seconds. 3–5 times. This one is as simple as it sounds. Stand up from your chair and get to it. Anyone can do this one, you are in control of the intensity based on the pace you choose. Want an even bigger challenge? Bring your knees up to waist level.

2. Push-Ups

Now, before you panic at the thought of getting on the floor in your office … don’t! Remember, you are saving your life! Plus, there are options besides the floor. The modifications are to do them on the wall or on the edge of your desk. If you are going to do them against the wall though, make sure it’s not a cubicle wall or you could end up on your co-workers desk. 10 reps. 3 times.

3. Squats

From your chair, stand up, sit back down and repeat 10 more times. Simple!

4. Tricep Dips

Tricep dips can be done pretty much anywhere. Use your desk or your chair if it doesn’t have wheels on it. Position your hands shoulder-width apart on that desk or chair, then move your butt off the front with your legs extended out in front of you. Straighten your arms, keeping a little bend in your elbows to keep tension on your triceps and off your elbow joints.

5. Pretend Jump Rope

Hop on both feet at once, or alternate. Increase the intensity by adding the arm movements you would do if you had a rope.

6. Calf Raises

Stand up behind your chair and hold on for support. Raise your heels off the floor until you are standing on your toes. Slowly lower yourself back to the floor. Do 3 sets of 10.

7. Glute Squeeze

This is an isometric move. Squeeze your glutes as hard as you can and hold for 10–30 seconds.

8. Shoulder Press

Look around the office and find an old phone book or a ream of paper, something that weighs a few pounds. Hold it at shoulder height and then raise it all the way overhead. 10 reps. 3 times.

9. Wall Sit

Another great isometric move. Stand with your back against the wall and slowly lower yourself into a seated position and hold for 10–30 seconds at a time.

10. Lunge

You can keep this move stationary and do it at your desk, or you could go all out and lunge down the hall to the printer and back. With one leg in front of the other, gently lower the knee of your back leg down towards the ground. Like you were going to propose to a co-worker. 10 times on each leg.

Leave Your Desk, Exercise Everywhere

Burning some extra calories at your desk is one thing, but how about getting even more movement throughout the day? These next 10 ideas are pretty ambitious. I would recommend picking one or two to start with and not trying to implement them all at once.

1. Park farther away

There is something strangely gratifying about the ability to get the nearest parking spot to the entrance, but parking at the edge of the lot will help you get a lot of extra steps in your day.

2. Take the stairs

Don’t like making small talk on the elevator? Take the stairs instead. The stairs are a great way to increase your heart rate and tone up those legs.

3. Do it yourself

Having an assistant may be a perk of your job, but if you got your own coffee and walked over to the copier more often you would be spending less time sitting.

4. Stand up

If you have to be on the phone a lot, what better time to stand up and do some stretches. Seriously, go ahead, the other person can’t see you!

5. Take a walk break

Schedule 10–15 minutes a day to just walk. See how many steps you can get on your fitness tracker. If it’s nice outside, go get some fresh air. Put it on your calendar to make sure it happens. Better yet, find someone to go with you and hold hold each other accountable.

6. Live chat

What if instead of picking up the phone or sending an email over to Bob in accounting, you actually went and paid Bob a visit? You get to move more, and I’m sure Bob would appreciate the company once in awhile.

7. Walk and talk

Why not have a walking meeting next time instead of sitting in a cold conference room at a table with stale donuts? And because exercise improves brain function (5), you may come up with some of your best ideas!

8. Commute differently

If you live in a city and rely on public transportation, try getting off the train or the bus a stop or two away from your usual stop and get some extra steps in. If you live close enough to work, skip the bus and hop on your bike or lace up your sneakers and hit the pavement.

9. Get to cooking

When you spend time in the kitchen chopping veggies and looking in the oven you are being more active than you realize. The added benefit of this is preparing your own meals is a much healthier alternative to fast food or something you just throw in the microwave.

10. Walk and fly

If most of your time is spent in airports waiting to go to the next town, use that time to your advantage. Airline travel can be frustrating with all the layovers and delays, but walking around instead of resigning yourself to your gate for another hour could actually relieve some stress. (6)

The Takeaway

You now have an arsenal of tips and tricks you can use to help boost your health and reduce your waistline. The most important thing is to be aware of how much time you spend sitting and get up and do something.

Ideally you should get up from your desk at least once an hour, even if it’s not exercises to do at your desk. Set an alarm to remind you to stop squinting at that Excel worksheet and get up and move. Walking for just two minutes an hour can reduce the negative effects of sitting. You aren’t still sitting right now are you? Get up, get moving!

Read Next: 6 Benefits of Bodyweight Exercises

25 Office Exercises: Easy Desk-Friendly Ways to Get Fit

Modern technology has given us plenty of benefits and conveniences, but with one major drawback: Most of us sit at a desk for for eight (or more) hours a day, five days a week, most weeks of the year.

And unfortunately, the very thing can make us productive, profitable, and successful employees for our company can also harm our health—maybe even permanently.

Too much sitting can be blamed for health ailments such as weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic conditions. One (slightly alarming) study even found that people who sit all day have a 40% increased risk of dying.

While we’re not saying your job is going to kill you, it’s a good idea to take some simple steps to improve your health at work. An easy place to begin: Simply start to move your body a little more at your desk.

At Fitspot Wellness, the company I co-founded, our mission is to help more people become more active at work. And we’ve found that it doesn’t have to take a lot of time or effort to take better care of your health and well-being on the job.

An easy way to start: Simply move your body a little more during the workday. To help you get started, we put together this list of 25 easy, desk-friendly exercises that’ll offset the effects of sitting all day. These exercises don’t require any sort of investment and will help you stay fit and maintain energy throughout the work day. The more you move, the better you’ll feel — it’s really as easy as that.

So, next time you feel like your rear might actually be stuck to your desk chair, try a few or all of these moves below. They’ll help get your blood moving, prevent stiffness and injury, and even build up strength. Pair them with a few of the flexibility exercises, which stretch out your muscles and simply feel really, really good.

Upper Body

1. Triceps Dips

To do this move, you’ll need a stationary (not wheeled!) chair. Scoot to the front of the chair, with both hands facing forward. Place palms flat on chair, bend your elbows straight back, and lower yourself straight down several inches, keeping your back as close to the chair as possible. Then straighten your arms to rise back to start.

Complete 20 dips.

2. Arm Pulses

These work your triceps and help stretch out your shoulders. Stand up at your desk with arms by your sides and palms facing behind.

Pulse the arms backward for 20 seconds, keeping arms as long and straight as possible.

3. Arm Circles

This move gives new meaning to the term “circle back.” Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms extended straight out to sides at shoulder height. Move your arms in a small backward circle.

Do 20 times in this direction, switch directions, and repeat.

4. Desk Push-Ups

First things first: Make sure your desk is sturdy enough to support your bodyweight! Then, take a few steps back, so you can place your hands flat on your desk, a little wider than shoulder-width. Lower yourself down toward your desk, keeping your core tight. Then push back up until arms are straight but not locked.

Try to do 20 reps.

5. Wall Push-Ups

Here’s a modified version of the desk version. Stand a few steps from a wall and lean toward it, placing your hands flat and wider than your shoulders. Lower yourself down toward the wall, keeping your abs tight to maintain a straight line from your head to your toes, then push back up until your arms are straight (but not locked).

Complete 20 reps.

Lower Body

6. Chair Squats

Try to bust these out between meetings, on a call, any time. All you have to do is stand up from your chair, lower your body back down, stopping right before you sit back down. (Keep your weight in your heels to work those glutes). Then stand back up again.

Repeat 10 times.

7. Standing Rear Pulses

If you’ve ever taken a barre this class, this move will feel familiar—but your desk is standing in for a barre. Holding the edge of your desk for support, bend one leg behind you, flexing the foot. Raise your heel up a few inches, then release slightly and press your foot directly back behind you. Continue to alternate between lifting your heel up, then pressing it back.

Do 20 to 30 reps, then switch sides.

8. Pretend Jump Rope

Hop on both feet at once, or alternate if you need to modify. You can up the intensity by moving your arms as if you were holding a rope.

9. Calf Raises

Stand up behind your chair and hold on for support. Raise your heels off the floor until you are standing on your toes. Slowly lower yourself back to the floor.

Do 3 sets of 10.

10. Wall Sits

Slide your back down a wall until your hips are at the same level as your knees and your knees are together at 90-degree angles. Maintain the position for 30 to 60 seconds, then release.

Aim for 15 reps.

11. Lunge

With one leg in front of the other, gently lower the knee of your back leg down towards the ground, 10 times on each leg. Do this move at your desk, or go all out and lunge down the hall to the printer and back. Don’t be surprised if your co-workers want to join in.

Core

12. Seated Bicycle Crunches

This is the good kind of crunch time. Sit in your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Position your hands behind your head and lift one knee toward the opposite elbow, twisting your body down toward it, then return to the seated, straight-back position.

Finish 15 twists, then repeat on the other side.

13. Oblique Twists

If you have a swivel chair, you’re in luck. Use its twirl to your advantage with this oblique abs fix. Sitting upright and with the feet hovering over the floor, hold onto the edge of your desk. Next, use the core to swivel the chair from side to side.

Go back and forth 15 times.

14. Lower-Abs Leg Lifts

This is a super subtle move you can do anytime. Sit straight up, with feet flat on the floor. Lift one leg up at a time, keeping core tight. To make it more challenging, try lifting both up at the same time.

Do 20 reps.

Stretches

15. Triceps Stretch

Now, stretch it out! Raise one arm and bend it so that your hand reaches to touch the opposite shoulder blade. (It’s OK if you can’t actually reach it.) Use your other hand and pull the elbow toward your head.

Hold for 2 to 3 deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.

16. Neck Rolls

Relax and lean your head forward. Slowly roll head in a circle one side for 10 seconds. Repeat on other side.

Do this three times in each direction.

17. Shoulder Stretch

Clasp hands together above the head with palms facing up toward ceiling. Push your arms up, stretching upward.

Hold for 2 to 3 deep breaths.

18. Shoulder Rolls

Raise both shoulders up toward ears, then slowly roll them backward. Repeat, rolling forward.

Do this three times in both directions.

19. Chest Stretch

Clasp hands behind lower back. Push chest outward, and raise chin.

Hold for 2 to 3 deep breaths.

20. Upper Back Stretch

Hold your arms out straight in front of you, palms facing down. Lower your head in line with your arms, and round the upper back while looking down toward the floor.

Hold for 2 to 3 deep breaths.

21. Torso Twist

Place feet firmly on floor and place one hand on the back of your chair. Exhale and twist your upper body toward the arm on chair back, using your other hand to press against your leg for leverage.

Hold for 2 to 3 deep breaths and repeat on other side.

22. Hamstring Stretch

Sit in your chair with both feet on the ground, then extend one leg outward. Reach toward your toes.

Hold for 2 to 3 deep breaths. Repeat on the other leg.

23. Bent-Knee Stretch

Lean back in chair. Hug one knee at a time, pulling it toward your chest.

Hold for 2 to 3 deep breaths, then switch legs. *This can also be done standing up.

24. Wrists and Fingers Stretch

Office jobs mostly have us doing a lot of little things, like typing and texting. That’s why hand and wrist stretches like this one are so important! Standing, place both hands on your desk, palms faced down, fingertips facing your body. To intensify the stretch, lean forward. Hold the stretch until you feel the tension release.

25. Eagle Arms

This is a great stretch for your shoulders and upper back. While sitting, reach your arms straight out in front of you. Bend the left arm upward and sweep the right arm under it. Wrap your right arm around the left until you are able to grab the outside edge of the left arm or until you are able to clasp your palms together. Lift the elbows away toward the ceiling and pull your hands away from your face. Turn your head side-to-side.

Hold for 2 to 3 deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.

Shout out to our wonderful models, Meghan Duffy, Fitspot’s client success manager, and Jason Flake, Fitspot’s director of business development.

Office Ergonomics and Knee Pain

Knee pain is often associated with those who lead more active lifestyles, especially runners and cyclists; after all, one common affliction is called Runner’s Knee for a reason! However, just because you don’t get up at the crack of dawn to go for a jog every morning or devote time on the weekend to training for your next half-marathon doesn’t mean that knee pain can’t be a bother for you too. Because your knees carry so much of the body’s weight and are used so frequently, even people who lead relatively inactive lifestyles still need to take care of their knees. While simply sitting still too much can lead to knee pain and stiffness, staying in the wrong position for extended periods of time can be rough on the knees as well.

Common Causes of Knee Pain In The Office

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 a whole host of ways that office workers may find themselves dealing with knee pain, and here are a few of the most common:

  • Sitting for long periods of time. 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 too long..
  • Injuries caused by kneeling. This kind of knee pain is often colloquially called preacher’s knee or housemaid’s knee, and more technically is either a type of prepatellar bursitis and pretibial bursitis. This occurs when the small sacs of liquid that cushion the knee joint become irritated due to excessive kneeling. If you find yourself digging through files on your knees quite often, this can definitely be hard on your knees.

The Theatre Sign: How To tell If You Are Hard On Your Knees

Did you know there is an easy way to spot someone experiencing anterior knee pain in a crowd? It is called the “theatre sign,” as it’s an easy way to spot someone whose knee is causing them discomfort while sitting for a long time in a movie theatre. Someone experiencing knee pain will often stick their knee out into the aisle, straightening out the joint to take pressure off the kneecap and relieve their pain. Is there someone in your office who always has their leg stuck out in the aisle between cubicles? They probably experience knee pain! Are you the person who always has your leg stuck out in the aisle? It might be time to seek out a solution to the knee pain that is making you uncomfortable!

Treating and Preventing Knee Pain

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.

Knee Pain from Inactivity?

If you’re recovering from a knee injury or managing a chronic condition like bursitis, osteoarthritis, or tendonitis, you may have the impulse to “take it easy” and cut back on physical activity to avoid pain.

But that may not always be the best advice. It turns out, it’s best to stay active and incorporate some kind of exercise into your daily routine—especially if you’re considering surgery.

Why? Because getting and staying strong, especially before surgery, means a faster and safer recovery.

Do’s for knee pain

  • Choose low-impact exercise. Swimming, cycling, or walking on level ground are good choices
  • Try strength training with low or moderate weights. Strong muscles protect joints and build stamina
  • Lose weight if you can. Research shows that losing just 5 or 10 pounds may reduce joint pain significantly
  • Consider working with a licensed physical therapist. They can recommend changes to your routine that prevent pain from increasing and teach you stretches and strengthening exercises that precisely target your hip or knee issues

Don’ts for knee pain

  • Jog or do anything that puts force on your joints
  • Follow fitness routines or do exercises that cause you pain
  • Perform squats, lunges, or deadlifts. These common gym activities put enormous stress on your joints
  • Stay on the couch. It may be tempting to give up exercise entirely, but the right kinds of physical activity can help you reduce pain and feel more like yourself

What about surgery?

First, know that knee surgery is rarely the first option for pain relief, but it can be effective for reducing chronic pain. If you think surgery could be in your future, here are a few things to consider:

  • Doctor and hospital experience. Doctors and hospitals who perform many surgeries each year are more likely to produce better results. Tip: Try to find a hospital that performs more than 200 knee replacement surgeries each year
  • Strength training. Although you may think that there is little reason to strengthen a knee that may get replaced, working out benefits the areas surrounding your joints and will improve your recovery time. Speak to your doctor about exercises that may help
  • Lifestyle and overall health. Even if you’re undecided about surgery, it’s a good idea to address any potential risk factors, like smoking or diabetes, that can affect the healing process. Attend a smoking cessation program, if needed, or speak with your doctor about managing your blood sugar levels

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Knee Pain: Exercises You Can Do at Work

When you have knee pain, it can be difficult to focus on work. But it’s possible to relieve knee pain with some simple exercises you can do right in the workplace. These knee pain exercises are convenient and won’t take much time away from your job duties.

“There are a number of quick knee exercises that a clever person with an accommodating boss can do at work,” says Steven Stuchin, MD, director of orthopedic surgery at NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York City. Try these sneaky moves and easy exercises to manage knee pain at work.

  • Roll back your chair. It can be painful to sit at your desk with your knees bent up. “Simply rolling back your chair so that you can straighten out your legs can relieve leg pain,” says Dr. Stuchin.
  • Lift your legs. While your chair is scooted back from your desk, do some straight leg lifts. This will help strengthen the quadriceps (front thigh) muscles that support the knees, which may ease knee pain, says Stuchin, who suggests adding a leg weight for extra strengthening. No weights handy? Improvise with your purse or a bag with some water bottles in it. As your knees get stronger, gradually add more weight to the purse or bag.
  • Pull your heels. The hamstrings are the muscles at the back of the thighs that support the knees. “Strengthening them can help stabilize the knee, relieving pain,” says Stuchin. Try this hamstring-strengthening exercise: Sitting in your desk chair with your heels on the floor, lift your toes and pull back on your heels until you feel tension in your hamstrings. Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Squeeze your thighs. This exercise will also help your knee stability by strengthening your inner quadriceps muscles. While sitting in your chair, put your fist between your knees and squeeze your knees together. Hold for a count of 10.
  • Stand on one leg. Balancing exercises can be helpful for stabilizing the knee, notes Stuchin. Try this one: While standing at the copy machine, hold onto the machine and stand on one leg. Hold for as long as possible, then switch legs. This exercise can also be done by holding onto the back of a chair.
  • Walk and talk. Prolonged sitting can be excruciating when you suffer from arthritis or runner’s knee. To help relieve knee pain, have phone conversations while standing, suggests Stuchin. Even better, use your cell phone and walk around the office while talking. For more knee pain relief, walk backward. “This will help strengthen your hamstrings and stabilize the knees, resulting in less knee pain over time,” says Stuchin.

Sure, some of these exercises may raise a few eyebrows in the office. But others can be easily disguised. Your boss won’t even have to know that you’re exercising your knees while doing your job. With less knee pain, you’ll be more productive at work. At the very least, you’ll be a happier and healthier employee.

Physio Works – Physiotherapy Brisbane

Article by J. Miller, A. Wong

How to Sit Correctly

  • Sit up with your back straight and your shoulders back.
  • Your buttocks should touch the back of your chair.
  • All three normal back curves should be present while sitting.
  • A small, rolled-up towel or a lumbar roll can be used to help you maintain the normal curves in your back.

Here’s how to find a good sitting position when you’re not using a back support or lumbar roll:

  • Sit at the end of your chair and slouch completely
  • Draw yourself up and accentuate the curve of your back as far as possible.
  • Hold for a few seconds
  • Release the position slightly (about 10 degrees). This is a good sitting posture.
  • Distribute your body weight evenly on both hips.
  • Bend your knees at a right angle. Do not sit with your knees crossed. Keep your knees even with or slightly higher than your hips.
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor.
  • Try to avoid sitting in the same position for more than 30 minutes.
  • At work, adjust your chair height and workstation so you can sit up close to your work and tilt it up at you. Rest your elbows and arms on your chair or desk, keeping your shoulders relaxed.
  • When sitting in a chair that rolls and pivots, don’t twist at the waist while sitting. Instead, turn your whole body.
  • When standing up from the sitting position, move to the front of the seat of your chair. Stand up by straightening your legs. Avoid bending forward at your waist. Immediately stretch your back by doing 10 standing backbends.
  • It is okay to assume other sitting positions for short periods of time, but most of your sitting time should be spent as described above so there is minimal stress on your spine.

What is the Correct Way to Sit While Driving?

  • Use a back support (lumbar roll) at the curve of your back. Your knees should be at the same level or higher than your hips.
  • Move the seat close to the steering wheel to support the curve of your back. The seat should be close enough to allow your knees to bend and your feet to reach the pedals.

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    Fourteen home remedies for knee pain

    The treatment for knee pain will depend, to some extent, on the cause of the problem. However, the following simple remedies can help with many forms of knee pain.

    1. Physical activity

    Share on PinterestExercises to strengthen the upper thighs can benefit the knee joint.

    Exercise can delay the development of osteoarthritis (OA), one of the most common causes of knee pain.

    Being physically active boosts the health of cartilage tissue, whether a person has OA or not.

    Exercise also strengthens the way the body supports the joints. Strengthening the leg muscles is especially beneficial for the knees.

    People with joint pain can benefit from activities such as water aerobics, as this puts little strain on the knees.

    2. Strengthening exercises

    Individuals can work with a physical therapist to identify the best exercises and programs for their needs.

    Strengthening the upper leg muscles—the quadriceps muscles—through exercise can help to protect the knee joint. These muscles are at the sides and front of the thighs.

    Here are some ways to strengthen these muscles:

    • Straighten and raise a leg while lying or sitting down.
    • Place one foot up on a step, then the other, stepping down again, and repeating the step-ups.
    • Sit on a chair and then stand and sit repeatedly for a minute. Do this in a slow, controlled way and avoid using the hands to support you.
    • Hold a chair and squat until the kneecaps cover the toes. Do this 10 times.

    3. Posture and support

    Measures that can help to minimize knee strain include:

    • avoiding low chairs and couches that you “sink” into
    • sitting on a pillow to raise your seating level, if necessary
    • checking that you have a good sitting posture, without slouching or leaning
    • wearing supportive shoes and avoiding those with broken arches, as they can result in abnormal force and wear on the knee
    • avoiding prolonged sitting and long periods without moving, as joints may become stiff and painful without movement

    4. Weight loss and diet

    Share on PinterestA Mediterranean diet can help people maintain a healthy weight and may have anti-inflammatory properties.

    People who have excess weight or obesity have a higher risk of knee pain.

    Carrying extra weight gives the joints more work to do. Losing it helps to reduce long-term knee pain, including pain caused by arthritis.

    Extra weight on your body increases inflammation throughout the body and the knees are affected.

    Eating well helps with keeping weight off.

    A healthful diet means a balanced one that is:

    • high in fruit, vegetables, and fiber
    • low in meat, animal fat, and other fat

    The Arthritis Foundation recommend a Mediterranean-style diet that is rich in fresh produce.

    You should check with a healthcare provider before starting a diet that claims to be good for knee pain, to ensure it will be safe for you.

    5. Medications

    Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory and other medications can help with knee pain caused by arthritis. Some of these need to be given in a doctor’s office, but some can be used at home, either with or without a prescription.

    In 2015, researchers published findings after comparing the effectiveness of a number of drugs used to treat knee pain.

    They looked at the effects of the following on pain and stiffness:

    • acetaminophen (Tylenol)
    • diclofenac
    • ibuprofen
    • naproxen
    • celecoxib
    • intra-articular corticosteroids
    • intra-articular hyaluronic acid

    They concluded that all of these could be helpful, except for acetaminophen. Intra-articular drugs, those injected into a joint, appeared to be the most effective.

    In a study of 1,583 people with osteoarthritis, a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate has been tested for safety and effectiveness.

    The treatment looks promising, as nearly 80 percent of participant reported a reduction in pain of 20 percent or more. People who are interested in this treatment should speak to their doctor about it.

    Some of these medications are available for purchase over-the-counter or online, including ibuprofen and naproxen.

    6. Massage

    Massage, including self-massage, may relieve knee pain.

    The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) recommend the following.

    These should be done in a seated position with the knees pointing forward and the feet flat on the floor.

    1. Loosely closing the hands into fists, tap the upper, lower, and middle thigh 10 times with both hands. Repeat three times.
    2. Sitting with the feet flat on the floor, place the heel of the hand on the top of the thigh and glide it as far as the knee, then release. Repeat five times. Do the same for the outer and inner sides of the thigh.
    3. Press four fingers into the knee tissue and move up and down five times. Repeat all around the knee.
    4. Place the palm of the hand on top of the thigh, glide it down the thigh, over the knee and back up the outer thigh.

    Massaging the thigh muscles will have a beneficial impact on the knee.

    7. Aromatherapy preparations

    Essential oils may help reduce pain.

    A study published in 2008 suggested that massaging with an oil containing ginger and orange improved pain and function in knees with moderate to severe pain due to osteoarthritis.

    In one investigation, researchers found that applying an ointment containing cinnamon, ginger, mastic, and sesame oil had a similar effect on pain, stiffness, and motion as using salicylate ointment.

    A range of essential oils is available for purchase online, including cinnamon, orange and ginger essential oil.

    8. Protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation (PRICE)

    Share on PinterestUse compression to support the knee and relieve pain.

    Rest, ice, compression, and elevation may help treat mild knee pain that results from a soft tissue injury, such as a sprain.

    Protection refers to protecting the knee from further injury, for example, by taking a break from the activity that caused it.

    Rest can reduce the risk of further injury and give tissues time to heal. However, stopping all movement is not advisable, as this can lead to stiffness and, in time, muscle weakness.

    Ice can help reduce swelling and inflammation. It should be wrapped in a cloth and applied for 20 minutes several times on the first day of injury. Never put ice directly the skin, as this can lead to further damage.

    Compression with a knee support, for example, can increase comfort levels. The support or bandage should be firm but not tight.

    Elevation, or keeping the leg raised, will encourage circulation and reduce swelling. Ideally, the knee should be above the level of the heart.

    9. Heat and cold

    Heat and cold can be effective in treating pain in the lower back, and it has been recommended to ease joint pain that results from arthritis.

    • Heat relaxes muscles and improves lubrication, leading to a reduction in stiffness. Use a hot water bottle or a warm pad.
    • Ice, wrapped in a cloth, can reduce pain, inflammation, and swelling.

    Some people may use heat to improve mobility in the morning and reduce swelling later in the day.

    Remember to test any hot item before applying it, especially if it is for an older person or someone who cannot communicate easily.

    Hot and cold pads are available for purchase online.

    10. Climate

    A colder climate is often thought to worsen pain.

    Study findings do not support this, although living in a pleasant climate might make pain psychologically easier. It may also provide easier opportunities to achieve a more healthy lifestyle.

    In 2014, researchers found that — rather than weather itself — sensitivity to weather in older people with osteoarthritis may affect how they experience joint pain.

    People from Southern Europe, women, and those with higher anxiety levels were more likely to report weather sensitivity, and those with higher levels of sensitivity were more likely to report increased pain, especially with damp or rainy and cold weather.

    The results of the study did not support the common belief that pain becomes worse in a colder climate.

    A 2017 study carried out in the United States supported this view. Findings showed no link between rainfall and increased medical visits for joint pain.

    11. Acupuncture

    In 2017, a study involving 570 people found evidence that acupuncture might help people with osteoarthritis in the knee.

    Participants received either 23 true or 23 sham acupuncture sessions over 26 weeks, or 6 acupuncture sessions over 12 weeks.

    Those who had true acupuncture scored higher in pain and function scores, compared with the others.

    Researchers concluded:

    “Acupuncture seems to provide improvement in function and pain relief as an adjunctive therapy for osteoarthritis of the knee when compared with credible sham acupuncture and education control groups.”

    12. Tai chi

    Tai chi is a form of meditative exercise, and the benefits of exercise alone are discussed above.

    A year-long study of 204 participants with knee osteoarthritis concluded that tai chi might have similar, if not greater, benefits compared with standard physical therapy. The average age of participants was 60 years.

    Improvements in primary outcome scores were recorded in both groups at 12 weeks, and these continued throughout the program.

    In addition, those who did tai chi also saw significant improvements in symptoms of depression and the physical aspects of quality of life, compared with those who underwent standard physical therapy.

    13. Medical marijuana

    Recent approval of the use of cannabidiol (CBD), also known as medical marijuana, has provoked interest in it as a solution to a range of health problems.

    CBD is not the compound in marijuana that produces psychotropic effects, but it does appear to have a number of pharmacological effects.

    Animal studies have suggested that it may improve joint pain, because it:

    • inhibits pain pathway signalling
    • has anti-inflammatory effects

    Clinical trials have not proven its safety or effectiveness for use in rheumatic disease, but researchers suggest it should not be ruled out as an option in the future.

    14. Apple cider vinegar and other foods

    According to some sources, apple cider vinegar (ACV) has anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve arthritis and other types of pain.

    However, there is a lack of scientific evidence to support this. The Arthritis Foundation refers to ACV as a “food myth.”

    Other popular advice for arthritis includes:

    • consuming collagen, gelatin, or pectin, and raw foods.
    • avoiding dairy, acidic foods, and nightshade vegetables, such as tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant

    There is no evidence to suggest that these are helpful or even advisable.

    So you’ve got knee pain from running. Whether you’re a complete beginner, or you’re two weeks into your latest marathon training cycle, knee pain is frustrating. We spoke to sports doctor Jordan Metzl, who explains four of the most common causes of knee pain from running, and what you can do about them:

    Why do my knees hurt after running?

    Why do you run? Because it feels good. Because it relieves stress. Because it enables you to eat cake. I get that, because running is also important to me. I’m a 32-time marathoner who knows how frustrating it is to be injured. It’s the reason I became a sports doctor. Ripping my anterior cruciate ligament playing football when I was in medical school was devastating, but it was the single most important event to influence my work. It’s what drives me to help my patients. Almost every day I treat runners with achy knees. Many are freaked out: can I still run? Will I have to switch to swimming? Thankfully, most knee problems won’t keep you off the road for long. Here’s what you need to know about common knee injuries.

    Injury chat

    1. Runner’s knee

    Where does it hurt? Pain under your kneecap that feels worse after running and when you walk up or down stairs.

    What’s going on? When the patella moves out of alignment during running, the cartilage beneath it becomes irritated.

    Treat it:

    • Reduce mileage
    • Cross-train with activities that don’t aggravate your knee
    • Apply ice for 15 minutes five times a day
    • Take an anti-inflammatory
    • Foam roll your quads
    • If the pain continues, see a doctor

    Prevent it:

    • Strength train
    • Foam roll daily
    • Shortening your stride can take pressure off your knees. Aim for 170-180 footstrikes per minute

    2. Patellar tendinitis

    Where does it hurt? Pain below your kneecap and at the top of your shin; it sharpens on the run. Also hurts going up or down stairs.

    What’s going on? The force placed on the knee during running can sometimes put too much strain on the patellar tendon.

    Treat it:

    • Stop running until you can do so pain-free; cross-train instead
    • Apply ice for 15 minutes five times a day
    • A patellar tendon strap can reduce pain
    • If it doesn’t improve, see a doctor

    Prevent it:

    • Strength train
    • Stretch your quads and hamstrings
    • Foam roll daily

    3. Iliotibial band syndrome

    Where does it hurt? Pain on the outside of your knee. It usually comes on five minutes into a run and subsides when you’re finished.

    What’s going on? The iliotibial band (ITB) runs from your hip to your knee, crossing the knee joint. A fluid-filled sac called the bursa sits between the ITB and the outside of your femur, near your knee. When the ITB is tight, the bursa gets squeezed, causing pain.

    Treat it:

    • You can run unless pain forces a change in your form. Reduce your mileage and cross-train
    • Foam roll your ITB on the soft part of your outer thigh
    • If you overpronate, wear motion-control shoes
    • See a doctor if it persists

    Prevent it:

    • Strong glute and core muscles are key
    • Foam roll your ITB daily
    • A shorter, quicker stride can help. Aim for 170-180 footstrikes per minute

    4. Osteoarthritis

    Where does it hurt?

    Pain, swelling and stiffness in your knee during running or even day-to-day activities.

    What’s going on?

    The wearing out of hyaline cartilage (lining of the joint) causes bone to grind on bone.

    Treat it:

    • Keep moving. Activity keeps joints lubricated
    • Take an anti-inflammatory
    • Run on soft surfaces
    • See a doctor

    Prevent it:

    • Strength train

    Recover like a pro

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