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Why Your Knees Hurt After Just Sitting Still For a Few Hours

Sitting for Long Periods of Time Can Cause Knee Pain — Here’s How to End the Aches


Thanks to a Schitt's Creek marathon, you haven't moved from the couch in hours — but your knees feel like you just ran an actual marathon.

Since 26.2 miles never happened, you might be wondering why these aches appeared.

TV binges are a fail-safe way to zone out, relax, and unwind, but sitting in one place for prolonged periods of time doesn't always have the same effect on your joints.

"Sitting in one position for a long period of time puts a lot of contact pressure on the patella (knee cap). This type of pain is especially common in females who are more likely to have soft or slightly damaged cartilage in the front of their knee," Dr. Sabrina Strickland, an HSS orthopedic surgeon, explains.

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One solution is fairly simple and probably pretty obvious — make movement a priority.

Dr. Strickland suggests setting a timer to move every 30 minutes, as well as completing quad and hamstring stretches a few times a day.

"For the quads, try reaching back and pulling your heel toward your buttock," Dr. Strickland says. "For your hamstrings, prop your heel on an ottoman and lean over your leg — you should feel the stretch from your buttock down to the back of your knee."

If you plan on being seated for a while, Dr. Strickland suggests propping up your foot for periods of time so that the knee isn't rested in one position all day.

Knee pain can be caused by more than just sitting still, so if you regularly deal with this type of pain — especially after exercise — reach out to your doctor for a specific diagnosis and set of instructions.

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