3 reasons why you may experience knee pain from driving

knee pain from driving

Knee pain while driving is a common complaint for many adults. Whether you drive long distances for a living or just find yourself behind the wheel more than usual during the holiday season, you may have noticed a tinge in your knee after driving for a long period of time.

There are a few reasons why you may be experiencing knee pain from driving, including:

  • Osteoarthritis — The breakdown of protective cartilage around the knee joint can cause the bones of the knee to rub together, which can be painful. This pain can also be triggered by constantly moving between the brake and gas during stop-and-go traffic. 
  • Knee joint strain — In situations that are not stop-and-go traffic, you may experience pain from knee joint strain. Driving for a long time means that you are likely to keep your knee in one position without much ability to move or stretch. This can cause strain on the knee joint and lead to irritation or inflammation. This can be exacerbated by being tall; taller drivers have to bend their knees more aggressively when riding in a vehicle.
  • Chondromalacia patella — Similarly to osteoarthritis, this condition targets the protective cartilage in the knee. Specifically, there is a pocket of cartilage immediately underneath the kneecap that helps prevent the bones from grinding together when the knee bends. Sitting in a vehicle for a long time creates pressure on this pocket of cartilage, causing it to wear down. When this happens, you may experience knee pain from driving or sitting for long periods of time. 

Fortunately, physical therapy can help relieve the symptoms of knee pain from driving that is caused by all three of these conditions. Through a series of manual therapy, guided exercises and stretches, and various other modalities, our physical therapists can help you return to your normal quality of life — which may include driving more comfortably for longer periods of time.  

If you are experiencing chronic knee pain from driving, contact our team at SSOR Physical Therapy today. You can schedule a free screening to determine if physical therapy is right for you. Contact us today.