Are Standing Desks Bad for Your Knees?

Standing desks seem like the perfect solution to the problems caused by sitting too much, but you might be wondering about the effects of standing too much on the knees. Common questions people ask are:

  • Is it bad for your knees?
  • Will it cause more pain?
  • Is it really better for you than sitting?

Here we'll answer all those questions and more! Let's go!

Standing Desks Bad for Your Knees?

Is a Standing Desk Better than Sitting?

The negative effects of sitting too much have been well studied. Sitting can increase the risk of obesity, heart disease, back and neck pain, and more. There is even some research that shows a correlation with too much sitting and cancer.

In fact, even regular exercise may not effectively combat the negative impact that sitting and a sedentary lifestyle can have on your health.

Conversely, standing can burn more calories and help to combat obesity. It can also reduce back and neck pain. Standing can help you avoid the dreadful sedentary lifestyle associated with sitting and encourage more movement. You may even increase your lifespan by standing more and sitting less. 

However, it is also important to stand in moderation. Standing too much can actually increase risks and elevate pain levels. So is there anything you can do to benefit from standing while also avoiding the negative effects associated with both standing or sitting too much? Absolutely! 

Tips to Use a Standing Desk Without Knee Pain

Using a standing desk can be very beneficial to your health. In addition, it can also increase your productivity and performance! However, you need to know how to properly use one to avoid the negative effects while taking advantage of the benefits. 

Sit and Stand

First of all, it is better to alternate between standing and sitting than it is to constantly be standing all day every day. In fact, the ratio for beneficial sitting to standing is from 1:1 to 2:1 which means for every hour you sit you should be standing for a half hour to an hour.

Read More: Should You Use a Standing Desk All Day?

Additionally, you should not go straight from sitting all day to standing all day. Instead, try to ease into using your standing desk slowly. You can add fifteen minutes to thirty minutes of standing time each day until you get to a comfortable ratio for you. You can also add in walking and other exercises to your day to strengthen your joints and alleviate the pain in your knees. You can also stretch to increase flexibility. 

If you do find that your knees are starting to hurt some after you begin to use your standing desk and you have good posture, you may want to start sitting more until you reach a comfortable level for you. 


It is important that you have good posture while you stand at your desk. This means that your back remains straight and you do not lean to one side or the other. Your weight should always be balanced evenly between your legs. In addition, you want to avoid your knees and ankles from locking in place, especially for a long period of time. 

Good Posture vs Bad Posture

Also, you should have the height of your desk so that your arms comfortably rest on top of it and are parallel to the floor. The computer monitor should be at or slightly below your eyes. Also, it is best to avoid leaning at all or using the desk for support.  

Another benefit of a standing desk is the ability to move or change positions anytime you need to. One of the main reasons people experience knee pain with a standing desk is because they stand in the same position for too long. Instead, add movement during your day. You can move by rocking back and forth as you work or even walk in place. 

Comfortable Shoes

If you are used to sitting at your desk all day, you probably haven’t been wearing suitable shoes for standing. Wearing uncomfortable shoes is a significant cause of knee pain (as well as back and foot pain). You should purchase a pair of shoes that allows you to comfortably balance most of your weight on your heels. 

Use a Mat

You also may be standing on a hard surface. If so, consider purchasing a soft mat or even an ergonomic or standing desk mat to stand on. If your feet seem to get sore at the same time your knee pain flares up, this (along with comfy shoes) may be the solution. 

Listen to Your Body

Your body will tell you if you are standing or sitting too much. If you start to sit in a slouched position then it is probably time to stand up. In contrast, if you start to shift your weight from one leg to the other while standing, it may be time for a sit. This is especially true when you first start standing since your body is likely used to you sitting so much every day. 

Standing Desk Exercises for Knee Pain

Sometimes knee pain is unavoidable, but there are some great exercises you can do at your standing desk that can help alleviate the pain. 

Heel and Leg Stretch

This exercise will be felt most in your heel and lower leg, but it can help ease the pain in your knee as well. Place your hands on your desk and move one of your feet as far back as you comfortably can. Keep your heels flat and lean forward with a slight knee bend. Hold the position and alternate legs. 


This will stretch your quads which are just above your knees. This one exercise can vastly improve your flexibility and reduce your knee pain. Just grab your foot and pull it to your bottom. Hold this position and then switch to your other leg. Try to do this often to feel the beneficial effects. 

Half Squat

If your knee pain is severe, you may not feel like doing this; however, it can be very good to strengthen your joints and muscles. Put your feet at shoulder width apart and place your hands on your hips.

Slowly squat down between 9 to 12 inches, at just about the halfway point until you are in a full squat. Pause briefly and then use your heel to push yourself back into standing position. Do this 8 to 12 times a few times during the day. 


Try to incorporate short walks into your daily routine. Just walk around the office (or block if you work at home). Alternatively, you can walk in place at your standing desk. This will be good for your knee pain, but it will also be good for your overall health and can help you burn more calories and avoid weight gain. 

Final Thoughts About Standing Desks and Knee Pain

Standing desks are great for a lot of things and we never want to sit too much because it can cause so many negative things. However, standing all day every day is probably not the best way to avoid a sedentary lifestyle because it can cause its own set of negative effects. Instead, alternate between sitting and standing, add in movement, wear comfortable shoes, and keep a good posture. 

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Darryl Higgins

Darryl Higgins

Hi, I'm Darryl. I made this site to help share information & reviews about ergonomic desks, chairs & accessories to help others who want to work more comfortably. Learn more about my journey by reading my bio here. Enjoy!

Leave a Comment

Darryl Higgins

Darryl Higgins

Hi, I'm Darryl. I made this site to help share information & reviews about ergonomic desks, chairs & accessories to help others who want to work more comfortably. Learn more about my journey by reading my bio here. Enjoy!

About Athlete Desk

Learn about standing desks, bicycle desks, treadmill desks, ergonomic chairs & accessories.

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