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Knee-Preserving Desk Setup: Ergonomics for Joint Wellness



Terrell Joseph, MD, a highly-regarded Vail-Summit Orthopaedics & Neurology board certified orthopaedic surgeon with fellowship training in arthroscopic surgery and sports medicine, wants patients to understand the importance of maintaining good musculoskeletal health, especially if you spend long hours working from home or in an office setting. One often overlooked aspect of this is knee health – it can be significantly impacted by prolonged periods of sitting and improper workstation set-up. Dr Joseph recommends proper ergonomics by making a few key adjustments to your workspace to promote better knee health and prevent knee pain.


Chair Height and Posture


Begin with an ergonomics assessment. Ensure your chair is at the right height. Your feet should rest flat on the floor, and your knees should be at a 90-degree angle when seated. This reduces the strain on your knee joints and prevents circulation issues. Sit back in your chair with your back straight and supported by the backrest. Avoid crossing your legs, as this can lead to improper weight distribution and increased pressure on the knees.




Keyboard and Mouse Placement


Place your keyboard and mouse at a height that allows your elbows to rest comfortably at your sides and form a 90-degree angle. This minimizes strain on your wrists, shoulders, and indirectly, your knees. Keep your wrists in a neutral position while typing, and avoid bending your wrists up or down excessively.


Utilize an Adjustable Table


An adjustable table is a positive ergonomic option. It offers the flexibility to switch between sitting and standing positions throughout the day. Standing can relieve pressure on the knees and engage different muscles. When standing, ensure your knees are slightly bent and not locked. The table height should allow your arms to rest at a 90-degree angle when typing or using the mouse.


Consider a beginning routine of 45 minutes of sitting followed by 15 minutes of standing. Over the course of an 8-hour workday, this equates to 6 cycles of sitting and standing. Adjust the timing based on your comfort level and gradually increase the duration of standing over time. Your knee health will benefit.



Standing Tips


When working while standing, distribute your weight evenly between both feet. Avoid locking your knees and shift your weight from one leg to the other periodically. Use an anti-fatigue mat to reduce strain on your lower body. The device screen should be placed high enough to eliminate lowering of the head, and neck strain. A straight ahead gaze is best, with text size large enough to avoid leaning in. Use of two synchronized screens will provide a wider visual field, requiring some neck movement, which will help minimize neck stiffness.


Dr. Joseph recommends creating an ergonomic workspace using these best practices. It is crucial for maintaining optimal knee health for individuals who spend extended hours working at a desk. Implementing these adjustments can help alleviate strain on your knees and prevent knee pain.


Pro Tip


Remember, taking a small break once an hour for moving around and stretching is just as important as proper sitting and standing postures.


Dr. Joseph is passionate about your musculoskeletal well-being. Follow his recommendations, and you will boost your work-place productivity while safeguarding your knees. Request a consultation with Dr. Joseph for all of your knee wellness questions.


Call (970) 476-7220 today to make an appointment or submit a request using their online form.

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