truckers knee pain

Truckers Knee Pain: Surprise! You Can Feel Better While Driving

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Let’s face it; Simply sitting and driving for long periods can cause any driver to experience knee pain. What are the factors that contribute to truckers knee pain and what can you do about it?

In this post we’ll take a closer look and give you some suggestions on how to deal with it.

 

Truckers Knee Pain

Knee pain for truck drivers (also called ‘jumpers knee’)can be caused by sitting for long periods with the drivers legs bent while driving and other strenuous activities. Sliding the drivers seat back so that the legs are extended helps to relieve pressure and pain.

In addition to simply sitting for long periods with your knees bent, there are other contributing factors to knee pain for long distance driving.

 

What is Driver’s Knee?

Truck drivers can develop an affliction called patellar tendonitis or chondromalacia patellae, also known as ‘jumpers knee’. If your unsure about exactly what that is, you can check out this site for good breakdown.

The symptoms of the disorder is inflammation and pain developing in the cartilage under the kneecap or the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shin.

So, what causes it?

The cause can be from jumping off the truck, climbing in and out of it, and operating the clutch and pedals in a manner that causes small tears from excess and endless driving.

These symptoms may be exacerbated by aging, weak leg muscles, obesity, cramped leg muscles, and muscular imbalances.

Not to mention just keeping your legs bent for long periods of time.

 

How does it start?

Sharp pain may be experienced at first, but only during the activity that is causing the strain. If left untreated, the symptoms can progress into the chronic inflammation and pain that debilitates drivers.

MRI, X-rays, and ultrasounds may be necessary to properly diagnose a case of patellar tendonitis to distinguish it from other serious degenerative disorders like osteoarthritis. Driver’s knee can progress into osteoarthritis and destroy the cartilage of your joints if the symptoms are ignored.

The good news is that it is treatable and rarely requires surgery. Taking a rest to allow your tendons to heal and using a combination of ice and anti-inflammatory medications will help rehabilitate that bad tendon in no time.

Once the inflammation has subsided, you can begin a regimen of corrective body-mechanics training and muscle strengthening exercises. It is only when patients utterly fail to respond to conventional therapy that corrective surgery may be required to repair tears or remove any bad sections of the tendon.

 

Why Does Driving Hurt My Knee?

So here’s the thing;

In the majority of cases, drivers do not move their seats back far enough. If they are cramped in a closed area, they will have to bend their knees and may feel discomfort.

But, this may only be part of the equation because a number of factors discussed above such as aging, obesity, weak muscles, cramps, and muscular imbalances also play a part.

 

Are truckers alone in all this?

Nope – we see that a lot of other inflammatory symptoms occur in people who work as grocery checkout clerks and even typists who have to carry out repetitive motions.

Although this isn’t the carpal tunnel syndrome that is associated with repetitive movements of the wrist, it occurs for similar reasons.

Having to shift the pedal and sit in a vehicle with only certain muscle groups being activated and wearing down can take a toll on the body.

Taking supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin can reduce the inflammation and help your body remineralize stores of cartilage and synovial fluid.

The stronger that your leg and knee muscles may be developed, the more protection you will have from injuries. Keep this in mind;

if you are frequently putting excessive pressure on your knees by jumping off the cab and carrying heavy loads, this will set you up for acute injuries and create an effect that is similar to metatarsalgia.

Metatarsalgia can occur in even the most athletic and healthy people who put too much pressure on the balls of their feet doing squat presses and other activities.

 

Keep this in mind;

if you are frequently putting excessive pressure on your knees by jumping off the cab and carrying heavy loads, this will set you up for acute injuries and create an effect that is similar to metatarsalgia.

Metatarsalgia can occur in even the most athletic and healthy people who put too much pressure on the balls of their feet doing squat presses and other activities.

 

Driver’s Knee Symptoms

If you have ever taken a long road trip, you have probably suffered from a similar form of Driver’s Knee simply because the pedal position can be awkward and hard on your joints.

You know the feeling;

Not only does the knee become sore in the front, but also the joints in the hips and throughout the body may start to feel tired and aggravated whenever you move. You can check out this website for good breakdown on jumpers knee symptoms.

This is due to the constant signaling and inflammation of muscle fibers and nerve cells in an acute location surrounding the joints. The joints themselves seem to start degrading in the same manner that your jawbone may degrade after teeth are removed.

If the joints aren’t stimulated with movement, the body may not remineralize them.

 

Keep in mind these other issues

The symptoms of Driver’s Knee, soreness in the front of the knee when you are driving, may also be manifest when you are running downhill, climbing steps, squatting, kneeling, walking on unstable and rough terrain, and even sitting for long periods.

The symptoms may at first be temporary and sporadic, but will eventually linger as chronic pain if you do not correct your body mechanics, build up muscle, lose weight, and use a number of healthy driving habits to reduce the effects.

 

Truckers Knee Exercises

In order to eliminate or alleviate the pain that goes hand in hand with trucking long distances, a few stretches and exercises should be added to any break time that you may have.

Although it is hard to build up strength and stamina to work out on your break after being on the road all day, the more that you develop the habit of doing a quick workout, the better you will feel each time that you exit your cab.

 

1: Stretches

Stretching those calf and thigh muscles is the best way to loosen up your body and prepare for a bit of strength training exercises.

You should regularly try to touch your toes and hold your hands on your toes for least 10 seconds at a time.

Touching your toes is one sign that your back muscles and core are strong and not degenerating from arthritis or other ailments. After you get good at touching your toes, try to progress even further to putting your palms flat on the ground if possible.

 

Try this stretch…

Another great stretch is to pull each foot behind you and have it touch your rear end as you stretch the ankles and tendons in your calves and thighs.

After you stretch each leg in this manner, simply swing your leg around freely in figure 8’s to go through a full range of motion.

The final stretch for your legs is really great for your hips. Simply find an outdoor table that is sturdy to lay your leg across, holding your foot in front of you with your knee pointing outward towards the side of your body.

Push down and apply pressure to flatten your leg against the table. Hold this for 10 seconds and loosen in figure 8’s like the previous exercise.

 

2: Exercises

Now that you are all stretched up and ready to go, you can do some calisthenics to build up the strength of your quads, hamstrings, thighs, and calves.

You can work your quad muscles by simple sitting straight up on a chair and extending your legs.

An alternate version of this exercise is to raise your extended legs very slightly from an already extended position. As long as you keep your core tight and you are not just pushing forward from the hip and slipping back, you can develop strong quads that will reduce the chances of injury.

 

Break things up with an alternative

Another fun exercise is to twist your leg as far as possible inward while balancing against a chair. Then, you simply raise your leg closer towards your body by bending your knee and extending it again. Another similar exercise is to simply lift your legs up and bend them at the knee, one at a time.

This helps to build the balancing muscles better because you are not resting your weight on something.

In fact, you can increase the effectiveness by raising your arms and forcing your lower muscles to self-regulate and balance on their own.

If you want to get a little more serious, you can lay down on your back and use a small exercise ball between your knees to create a pivot point.

Then, with your legs bent at the knee and the feet facing flat towards the wall, you simply extend your legs at the knee from the inside outward.

 

6 More Tips to Help Truck Drivers with Knee Pain

Stay active even when your not driving

You don’t need an expensive gym membership you won’t use, but a simple workout program that uses body and basic movements, aerobics and stretching can really help.

Consider Losing weight

Excess weight on your body can put extra pressure on all of your joints not just your knees.

Walk it off

Whenever you take a 30 minute rest break (or any other break) to do a DOT truck inspection take some extra time to just simply walk around.

Do some basic stretches

Simply stretching your muscles and tendons can release a lot of built up tension, specially in your hamstrings and the knee area.

Strengthen your Abs

If your a bit overweight and have weak back and stomach muscles you may be contributing to your knee problems. If you have back issues, you may contributing to that as well.

Adjust your seat

Remember that keeping your legs extended helps to alleviate pressure on your seats. You may need to re-evaluate your driving seat settings.

Establish an Exercise Plan

Consider a structured workout routine using bodyweight exercises like this routine to help you get started. Basic fitness can go a long way to helping with simple health issues.

Here’s a video to give your some stretching ideas to alleviate knee pain

 

In Conclusion…

There are several factors that go into truck driver knee pain (or any driver for that matter).

Whether you’re driving your 11 hours or moving freight during your work day, your job can be tough and leave you with a lot of aches and pains.

The exact source of pain won’t always be obvious, but with these tips you can start getting a handle on any pain you experience early so that you can the problem resolved.

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