Gas Pedal Knee: Can It Drive You Crazy?

gas pedal knee pain - edupain

A condition of discomfort in the knee after driving known as “gas pedal knee”, and it can actually turn your happy ride into a nightmarish one.

During rush hour, you have no choice but to keep driving. Numerous stop and go in heavy traffic might get you an uncomfortable knee pain called the “gas pedal knee”.

Long distances road travelers such as a truck, bus, and taxi drivers are at a higher risk of having this problem.

Symptoms of gas pedal knee pain

  • Knee pain only on one side. Most of the people having right knee pain more often
  • Knee misalignment that the kneecap seems to like facing inside or outside
  • Hurt to touch and rub
  • Tenderness in knee
  • If you are in a standing position, your affected foot seems like pointing outward
  • Knee stiffness while driving
  • The pain gradually increases at night or when walking and running
  • Pain in the hips

Also read:

Possible causes of gas pedal knee

1. Misalignment on the structure of the knee

When you experienced gas pedal knee, your right foot might laterally turn aside while driving. In this position, your toes point outward, while your foot is on the gas pedal, brake, or clutch.

Commonly, long-distance driving with misalignment of the knee resulting in muscular imbalance and leads to pain.

2. History of a knee injury

The risk of getting a gas pedal knee is increased when you have knee injuries such as ACL injury or torn meniscus in the past.

How to avoid knee pain while driving over a long distance?

1. Adjusting your steering wheel distance to your body

First, when traveling, make sure you comfortable with the gap between the steering wheel and your body. A proper seating position is crucial.

gas pedal knee - steer to body angle - edupain.com
Steer-to-body ideal angle

Move the seat backward or forward until you are comfortable to hit the pedals in full press.

Avoid knee locking due to the overextended knee while you sit.

Maintain an angle for about 120 degrees, so there is no pressure on the knee.

Then, tilt the steering wheel according to the space that you allocate before. Make sure the height, depth, and angle are perfect as you desire.

Most of the modern cars today have a telescopic steering wheel. So it is easier to set.

2. Adjusting your seat

You can tilt the seat forward or backward until your leg from hip to knee is comfortable.

Try to place your foot on the gas pedal, then make sure that the seat is not pressing uncomfortably into the hips. Set the seat height as well.

Adjust the back of the seat to an angle that fully supports the length of your spine.

3. Maintain a proper driving position

While you drive, try to keep your knees align with your body. Then, avoid your knee dropping to the side while you drive.

Gas pedal knee - proper seating position when driving - edupain.com
Image credit: Physiomed.co.uk

Misalignment body position while you sit can cause some aggravation to the pelvis. This will lead to pain in the low back, hip, knee, and foot.

4. Avoid sitting on your wallet

While driving, do not sit on top of your wallet. Remove them from your back pocket and place it on the dashboard or compartment beside your seat.

Sitting on top of your wallet can make your side of butt slightly in angle.

This makes the pressure that can restrict blood flow as normally circulating to your legs.

5. Use cruise control mode

This is optional, but the cruise control feature will come in handy.

When driving, keeping your foot on the accelerator requires overtime tension on your leg muscles.

Cruise control mode may allow you to rest and stretch your leg for some time.

6. Knee brace

A knee brace or elastic knee cap donut brace is a thing to consider. Avoid knee pain when driving over a long distance with this brace.

7. Exercise regularly

Truck drivers might be familiar with stretches to avoid gas pedal knee pain when driving.

Strengthen your quadriceps muscles with leg lifts or strength training via weight machines.

8. Take a rest

You can take a rest every few hours. There you can stretch your legs and your back.

Don’t forget to give your knees a relaxation from being stayed in a prolonged sitting.

In the end

Take a rest from driving if the pain is unbearable. Compress with ice and elevate it when resting if possible.

Take some pain relief medication such as ibuprofen.

See a medical doctor or orthopedic specialist if gas pedal knee pain continues after a few days.

Surgery might be needed when there is a risk of having an injury such as torn meniscus.

Exercises and maintaining proper position are some way to help. Fortunately, most of the knee pain when driving just needs to rest.

To put it simply, just align your body, hips, and knee in a comfortable position and your feet in perfect contact on the pedals.

Resources:

  • Everyday Health: https://www.everydayhealth.com/g00/knee-pain/traveling-with-knee-pain.aspx
  • physiomed.co.uk