A few months back, I was experiencing leg pain issues. I was really worried about it. As I have a desk job, I have to regularly sit and work at the desk for 6-8 hours. I was confused if the cause of my leg pain was my office chair. So, I did some research to find out if my office chair can cause leg pain, and this is what I found!
Can My Office Chair Cause Leg Pain? Office chairs can cause leg pain in people who spend all day sitting without following proper sitting posture. There are numerous causes of leg pain, and sitting all day on an office chair is surely one of the main causes.
In this article, I will tell you why sitting on your office chair hurts your legs and how you can fix leg pain that is caused by your office chair. I’ll also provide you with some valuable tips to prevent leg pain as well. So keep reading, as you’re definitely not going to want to miss this!
Can Sitting in a Chair Cause Leg Pain?
Yes! Sitting in a chair for long hours can cause leg pain in the long run. According to a recent study, 7-10% of people with desk jobs will suffer from leg pain due to extensive sitting hours on an office chair.
So, this is a serious issue. If you are suffering from leg pain because of your office chair, you need to fix it as soon as possible before your condition gets worse.
As I have mentioned, about 7-10% of people having a desk job suffer from leg pain, and unfortunately, I was among those 7-10% of people. I suffered from leg pain for a while until I addressed the reasons for my leg pain.
Similarly, to solve your problem completely, first you will need to know why your office chair is hurting your leg!! So, let’s start with that, Shall we?
Why Does My Office Chair Hurt My Legs?
I used to sit and work for 6-8 hours daily sitting at my desk. Unfortunately, I had the bad habit of working at a stretch without taking breaks. That’s when I started having leg pain.
I was unaware of the reasons, but now I know why.
Sitting for a long time puts pressure on your legs. Continuous pressure on the legs makes the leg muscles fatigue very easily. This causes leg pain in the short run.
Also, sitting for long hours compromises blood circulation in our legs and reduces the backflow of blood from the legs.
It can cause swelling of the ankles. In extreme cases, some people even develop a blood clot in the lower part of their legs. This condition is medically known as deep vein thrombosis. [Source]
There are also other reasons that might cause leg pain directly or indirectly.
Believe it or not, most people who work at a desk often stay dehydrated at the time of working.
Holding the leg muscles in a fixed position and staying dehydrated increases the chances of muscle cramps. [Source]
So, as we hold our legs in a fixed position for a long time while sitting in our office chair, it causes muscle cramps in our legs. Dehydration makes this even worse.
After learning about this, I always try to stay hydrated and take short breaks once a while. You should do the same.
You might suffer from leg pain because of the overuse of leg muscles. This cause is not related to sitting on an office chair, but you must keep this in mind as well.
In addition, if you have performed some high intense activity that needs high leg muscle activity, then this also can lead to leg pain for a while.
Leg Pain From Sitting Too Long & Inactivity:
According to the journal of occupational health, Continuous sitting works can lead to leg pain and leg swelling. This study shows that not only continuous sitting but also continuous standing can cause similar issues in your lower limbs as well. Inactivity due to sitting and standing at a place can cause leg pain.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, prolonged sitting can cause thrombosis of the deep leg veins. This can also cause severe pain in the leg.
So, What Happens to Your Legs When You Sit Too Long?
The leg muscles are the largest group of muscles in your body. If you ever went to a gym, your instructor might have told you about that. Also, he might have told you to never skip a leg day for sure. Enough of diversions, let’s get to the point straight.
If you are sitting all day, you are not using the largest muscles of your body which are built to hold you when you move. This leads to muscle atrophy, and your leg muscles become weak. [Source]
So, when you sit for prolonged hours, your weak leg muscles can’t handle the sitting pressure for a long time, and the muscles start to ache.
As I have mentioned earlier, there are other reasons related to blood circulation which are not that common.
If you are starting to experience sudden leg pain and you sit in your office chair for a long time, adopting some good habits might help you prevent and fix existing leg pain.
How Do You Fix Leg Pain From Sitting?
When I was experiencing leg pain due to sitting, I applied ice on the leg for 10-15 minutes twice daily. I also took a break from my work and was completely relieved from the leg pain within a few days.
Applying ice for 10-15 minutes really works. If you want instant relief from the pain, you should definitely try that.
If you are experiencing leg pain from sitting, try to apply ice on the spot for 10-15 minutes using a piece of cloth.
Take a cloth and wrap some ice in it. Then apply it to the leg. Do this 2-3 times a day until you feel the pain is completely gone.
I did not take any medicine like painkillers. But if your pain is very intense and unbearable, make sure to contact your physician or doctor and follow their instructions.
Some Tips to Prevent Leg Pain from Sitting:
- Get an Ergonomic Office chair: Ergonomic office chairs will help you to adjust everything for extra comfort, and it will reduce the possibility of having back, neck, and leg pain.
- Adjust the Seat Height Properly: Make sure the seat height of your office chair is correct. If the seat height is very high or low, it will put excessive pressure on your lower limb and compromise blood circulation. To calculate the perfect seat height for your height, check out this article: What Office Chair Size Should You Get For Your Height?
- Take Breaks Once A While: Previously, I used to sit for long hours at a stretch, which led to many physical issues, including leg pain. As I have developed the practice of taking small breaks from sitting, currently, I am not having any leg pain issues, and my productivity also increased manifold.
- Get a Footrest: If you are a short person and your legs do not touch the ground just because your chair is very high for you, getting a footrest will help you sit comfortably, preventing leg swelling.
Following these tips helped me to prevent leg pain. If you follow these simple tips, you will prevent your office chair from giving you leg pain.
Is Sitting Cross-legged Bad for Sciatica?
Sitting crossed-legged compromises the blood flow, and it is terrible for sciatica. So, don’t cross your legs while sitting, and try to keep your legs in a flat position while keeping your knees and hips bent at your comfortable acute angle.
Is it Better to Sit High or Low in a Chair?
Both sitting high and low are bad for you. If the chair is too high, then it can put excessive pressure on your thigh and hamper the backflow of blood from the legs. On the other hand, if it’s too low, you will feel discomfort as your body will experience more pressure on the hips and buttocks.
Common Pain Issues Related to Office Chair:
- Leg Pain: Leg pain occurs because of prolonged sitting in an office chair which is too high or low for the user.
- Back Pain: If you sit in an office chair for long hours, which does not provide enough lumbar support, you might suffer from back pain.
- Neck Pain: Neck pain mainly occurs when you sit and look at the computer screen at an incorrect angle.
- Elbow and Wrist Pain: Having no armrests or armrests set to uncomfortable height can cause elbow and wrist pain.
If you want to minimize these physical issues for yourself, make sure your office chair has ergonomic features. If you are looking for an excellent ergonomic office chair, check out my recommendation here.