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Knee Pain and a Train - blog post image

Knee Pain and a Train

Stuart Fossella - Friday, April 22, 2016 | Comments (0)
Posted 3 years ago
Bent knees in sitting

The Joy Of Traveling by Train

I've been up and down to Manchester from Cheltenham in the last 2 days. I never realised it was only a couple of hours away by train. That's because I'm just a soft lad from down south, with poor geography.

In fact if it wasn't for the availability of Sat Nav I don't think I'd get anywhere fast. My ability to read an A-Z map really is bad. Have you ever had an almighty 'domestic' in the car over directions??? Well that's another story.

What I really wanted to get around to talking about was the knee pain I felt while stuck in the seat of the train up to Manchester. Now Virgin trains aren't exactly cramped and I'm not exactly overly tall. A good mate of mine reckons you aren't a real bloke if you aren't at least 6ft tall-rules me out then!

But the point is...if I were 6ft tall I'd probably have been in even more trouble with knee pain. After more than 2hrs of travel my knees were starting to give me some grief.

You too may have noticed knee pain after being cramped up at the cinema, or on the train or plane so what's that all about?

Well...when you are sat down the end of the thigh bone has a groove in it, in which the knee cap sits. Think about cutting a wedge out of a tree trunk and the filling it with a wedge the same shape. That's exactly the kind of contact that is made between the back of the knee cap and the thigh bone.

In sitting the two surfaces come together tightly and essentially rub together causing a build up of pressure-1 surface pushed up against the other. So any activity that involves prolonged knee bending has the potential to cause a build up of pressure and potentially knee pain. Why??

Well...if the 2 surfaces of the knee cap and thigh are pressed upon each other under too much pressure then anatomical structures that can generate pain-might do so, causing knee pain.

So is it normal to feel knee pain in sitting?

Well no of course it isn't, we should all be able to sit on a train, bus or plane without too much bother right? Well yes, unless...you have some damage to either of the bony surfaces that of the knee cap or the thigh bone. Or that the 2 surfaces are simply pressed too hard against each other.

So how does that happen?

There are a few factors that can lead to a sensation of pain in the back of the knee cap in Sitting. The usual suspects are damage to the previously super lovely and smooth cartilage ends of the bone of the knee cap and thigh bone.

Simple 'age-related' wear and tear can be responsible for this. As can trauma from sporting or domestic activities. Direct blows, falls on the knee can have this damaging effect. Some people with this condition will swear blind that all the sport they did in their 20's, 30's or 40's are the reason they suffer in the 50's, but this really isn't likely to be the reason for this kind of knee pain. Exercise has great and proven health benefits and probably made the cartilage of your bones stronger rather than more fragile!

The other offender that seems to cause this kind of pressure build up on the knee is tightness through the soft tissues that's surround and encapsulate the knee cap and thigh bone.

If your thigh flexibility is good, you can probably pull your heel to your bum in a thigh muscle stretch. If you can't do it on either leg never mind. Some people can never touch their toes (I can because my legs aren't that long and I'm not a 'real bloke' :-) ) and that's just how it is. If there is a difference in your ability to pull the heel to the bum left and right leg you may have a muscular imbalance that may need addressing.

This potential tissue tension across the thigh can add more compressive tension the knee cap, causing more pressure build up and knee pain.

Now to put it into another context. You may feel this kind of knee pain in sport-repetitious motion such as running or cycling (long term knee bending-as per sitting) can add to pressure build ups and...Knee pain! Strangely I saw one of these cyclists in when I did a bike fit just yesterday

So if you do suffer from knee pain, and specifically knee pain in sitting, running or cycling do a quick test...

And see if you can pull your heel all the way up to your bum.

It's a quick test but might give you an explanation as to why you feel knee pain in running, cycling or when you are sat in the cheap train or plane seats.

So what's the answer to this kind of knee pain?

Go 1st class of course!

or take that pressure away from those bony surfaces with a quick straightening of the knee. It's as good a place as any to start treatment! Go on get up

Or if it persists, get the opinion of a Physio because there a lot of other reasons that your knee could be causing this kind of pain.

Cheltenham Spa beckons and it's time to stretch my short legs :-)

I mentioned this last time out but though I'd mention it again given its significance to this post.

Here’s a staggering stat…

I bet you’re sitting down while having a look at this…

Did you know that the average person spends nearly 9.5 hours a day seated, and around another 7 asleep (less if the kids are playing up ☺).

If you think you know someone suffering with Knee pain, feel free to pass on this simple advice.



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