The knees are highly prone to injury because they are the primary weight bearing joints in the body. Kneeling down exacerbates the pain of most knee injuries, including inflammation of the quadriceps tendon just below the kneecap. A person kneeling down forces the knees into flexion and puts pressure on the bursas, ligaments, menisci, tendons and bones of the knee.
Pain in a person's knee while kneeling down is directly caused by an inflamed bursa, a cyst at the back of the knee or by an inflamed tubercle on the shin bone, or tibia, according to Sandra Shultz and her colleagues in their book "Examination of Musculoskeletal Injuries." Injuries to the kneecap, or patella bone, such as dislocation will cause further pain while kneeling down.
Pain from an inflamed bursa in the knee is increased when a person bends a knee to kneel down. This causes the skin to tighten around the knee, further aggravating the bursa, according to Shultz. If the fluid inside a person's knee joint bulges out behind the knee, a cyst can develop. Significant swelling of this cyst increases pain in the knee, especially while flexing the knee to bend down. Pain from an inflamed tibial tubercle is increased when a person's quadriceps muscle pulls on the tubercle while kneeling down.
Pain from an inflamed bursa, injured kneecap, or swollen tibial tuberosity, is reduced with pain medication, rest, elevation and ice treatments. Additionally, a person with bursitis is give corticosteroid injections and the fluid in her bursa is drained. Surgery to remove the bursa or treat the tibial tuberosity may be performed in severe cases.
A person can prevent pain while kneeling down by reducing his risk of knee injuries. Risk of knee injury is reduced by completing a leg warm-up prior to increased physical activity. Such warm ups include 10 minutes of walking, cycling or low-intensity aerobic dance. Strengthening her quadriceps, hamstrings and calves further reduces her chances of a knee injury.
If a person must be on his knees often, such as working on his knees all day, he should wear knee pads or use a cushion to help reduce pain. He should considering organizing his tools and work tasks so he can do as much as possible sitting on his buttocks instead of kneeling down.