Driver’s Knee | What is it and how to fix it

November 17, 2022


We spend substantial amounts of time in our automobiles. We’re either driving to work or running errands. As truckers, however, trucks are our offices. We spend the entire day in trucks (and the view is definitely nothing to complain about).

Unfortunately, the prolonged pressure put on the leg in operating a truck results in excruciating knee pains from driving for many truck drivers. This condition is known as Driver’s Knee.

And as truckers spend more time behind the wheel, driver’s knee has become increasingly problematic. Hence, we examine this ailment in-depth and offer strategies to minimize or alleviate discomforts when driving.

What Is Driver’s Knee?

Driver’s knee, or jumper’s knee, is an ailment caused by sitting for lengthy periods with the leg bent while driving when the foot used to apply pressure to the gas and brake pedals is left in an unnatural posture.

After a while, this stance may affect the knee, causing muscle imbalance and discomfort while driving or engaging in other physical activity.

Man Suffering from knee pain, leg pain and injury concept.

Causes Of Driver’s Knee

Driver’s knee is caused by improper and prolonged foot placement when applying pressure to the gas, brake, or clutch. Consistently putting the foot in an abnormal position causes tendon stresses around the knee, causing varying degrees of pain.

As with other ailments, ignoring symptoms of driver’s knee could make the condition worse. When left untreated, it could develop into a much more severe condition called chondromalacia patella—the gradual damage of the knee cartilages resulting in more discomfort and possible mobility loss.

However, not all knee discomfort is caused by the driver’s knee. Sciatica, hamstring pain, a herniated disk, and patellofemoral stress are potential reasons for knee discomfort. Other conditions might cause knee pain, so it’s critical to determine what’s causing it and receive the right therapy.

Symptoms Of Driver’s Knee

It is essential to understand the symptoms of driver’s knee in order to diagnose the problem early and obtain appropriate treatment.

The initial sign of driver’s knee comes in the form of pains and discomfort at the base of the kneecap. This is usually accompanied by swellings and a burning sensation in the kneecap, making knee activities, like standing and kneeling, really painful.

At first, this discomfort is only felt when engaging in physical activities. However, the tendons degrade if left untreated, making the pain increasingly worse and more persistent. At this point, it can interfere with physical activities and other daily activities, like walking and sitting.

To appropriately diagnose a knee ache as driver’s knee, schedule a doctor’s appointment and have scans done. They will help you determine the extent of tendon damage or rule out any other underlying disorders.

Close up Leather Shoe ob pedal in car

Tips To Prevent Driver’s Knee

Sitting in the same posture for extended periods can undoubtedly harm your legs and result in knee pain after driving. Fortunately, a trucker may take several approaches to alleviate discomfort.

Some tips to help prevent driver’s knee are:

1.   Avoid Sitting For Long

Like other repetitive-use injuries, stopping the root cause of the problem should be the primary priority. Given that our legs are not meant to be in a bent position, the best tip for preventing driver’s knee is to avoid sitting for prolonged periods.

Take the time out every few hours to stretch your legs and walk around. Even when you’re doing a long haul, stop every few hours to stretch your feet. This would help avoid a locked knee, which puts extra pressure on the knee joints.

You can also frequently adjust your stance while driving. Leaning forward or backward helps stretch different muscles and offers relief from pain.

2.   Adjust Seat Appropriately

A perfect driving posture also prevents driver’s knee. And you can accomplish this by appropriately adjusting the seat and the steering wheel to avoid reaching too high or low when driving.

A poorly positioned seat could result in discomfort behind the knee which could eventually cause pains and tension in the back and hip. Built-up muscle tension could also cause pains in other parts of the body.

A perfectly positioned seat gives the driver just enough room to change position and stretch muscles. Additionally, when not in use, the knee should be slightly bent and the elbow should not protrude more than a few inches from the torso when driving.

3.   Use Truck Driver Seat Cushion

Regardless of how perfectly a seat is adjusted, tension still builds up in the legs and lower back when you sit in your truck for long periods. A trucker can alleviate this tension with a good truck driver seat cushion.

These seat cushions are designed with a memory foam wedge that provides superb support while driving. They offer a very comfortable drive by easing the stress behind the knees and reducing numbness and soreness.

Truck driver seat cushions are also practical solutions for reducing spinal pressure and preventing knee pain after driving for long intervals.

4.   Exercise

Exercises are essential in preventing driver’s knee. Employ different routines to improve core strength and the muscles in the back and legs. By doing so, the body is able to withstand strain better, which actively limits the effects driver’s knee.

Some effective routines to prevent drivers knee are:

  • Stretches: Adding stretches to any break time between driving is essential in preventing or reducing pains.

Stretching calf muscles is effective in loosening up the body. Touching your toes and holding that position for a few seconds also builds back and core muscles.

Other types of stretches like the front-to-back leg swings, toe pointers and lunges also help to improve leg muscle strength.

  • Strength Exercises: After stretching, other exercise routines like calisthenics can be employed to build up strength in the quads, calves, thighs and hamstrings. Yoga is also an effective routine.

A Knee Sleeve is a great way to provide additional support to your knee if you are feeling pain. It will disperse the pressure and improves circulation around your knee area, which will significantly effective reduce the pressure of the knee joint and help injured tissue heal.

NEENCA 2 Pack Knee Brace, Knee Compression Sleeve Support for Knee Pain

A well balance between compression and comfort. It will disperse the pressure and improves circulation around your knee area, which will significantly effective reduce the pressure of the knee joint and help the meniscus to recover. Wrap around the patella to enhance the stability of the kneecap and relax tendons, prevent muscle strain. It is Perfect for Pain Recovery or Workout.

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5.   Regular Checkups

Finally, regular checkups are critical in ensuring there’s no serious underlying ailment resulting in knee pain when driving. It’s important to confirm symptoms with the doctor and identify the appropriate treatment plan required.

Treatments for Drivers Knee

In cases where knee discomfort has deteriorated to driver’s knee, there are medical evaluations and treatments that check for other serious diseases and lessen the symptoms and effects of any ailment.

Various treatments can be administered based on the severity of the condition, including physical therapy, braces, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and Stem Cell Transplantation, all of which relieve the pain, improve knee health and prevent more serious conditions in the future.

Some truck drivers also choose to use pain relieving balm to help relieve the side effects of a painful knee.

Conclusion

Sitting unnaturally for long periods of time would inevitably result in knee pains. Having considered your daily routine, you can make adjustments and employ the tips we discussed to make the whole driving process more comfortable.

However, there are several other factors that could be responsible for a driver’s knee pain. While the root cause of the pain might not be immediately obvious, following those suggestions would enable you to get an early grip on any pain experienced so as to find a solution quickly.

About the author

I’m Luis Uribe, author of this website. I am the owner and head publisher for Trucker Daily and a freight brokerage Total Connection Logistics. I have been in and around the trucking industry for over 15 years. It is my mission with Trucker daily to equip truck drivers, with the latest in industry updates, news, and helpful tips to help further your trucking career and life. Whether you are a truck driving veteran, or beginner, you will find information on this site to save you a lot of time in your driving journey.

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