What’s the cause of knee pain when driving? And what can you do about it? Dave Duffy explains.
In some ways, you might think it a little strange to suffer knee pain when driving. You’re not putting any great load through your knee. You’re not running or jumping on it. For much of any journey your left leg won’t be doing much at all (and absolutely nothing at all if you drive an automatic). So where does the pain come from?
Usually, assuming you have no known injuries or existing conditions, driving-associated pain occurs because the knee spends a prolonged period in a position where pressure is loaded through the back of the kneecap at the patellofemoral joint.
One simple way to alleviate the pain is to stretch your leg, straightening it to relieve the forces being put through it. That’s not always an easy thing to do mid-journey, so if pain is a recurring problem, you might want to plan your journey with sufficient rest breaks to enable you to get out of the car, have a stretch and a quick walk around the vehicle before the pain becomes a real issue.
What happens when driving knee pain becomes a problem?
We’ll all experience an occasional bout of driving-related knee pain at some point in our lives, especially during long journeys. But what happens if you drive for a living?
If you work in sales or drive a lorry, knee pain while driving can be a major problem, made worse by the fact your knees will spend a lot of time in the same position. The pain may still be associated with the patellofemoral joint, but when driving is your living it’s better to know for sure than to assume. So if knee pain is a regular occurrence, seek a diagnosis. That can help rule out alternative possibilities like ‘driver’s knee’, a type of patellar tendinitis common in truck drivers. And it can ensure that any stretches, exercises or medication are right for you.
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