How can sit-stand desks help with arthritis?

How to use standing desks correctly

As challenging as your responsibilities may be at work, arthritis can diminish your productivity. Sitting for long periods is not ideal for individuals facing this disease, since regular movement is necessary to keep the joints limber and mobile, thereby minimizing joint pain and stiffness.

It is important to enjoy going to work every day and maintain your productivity, even as you silently or openly deal with your arthritis. One way you can do this is to get a standing desk and use it correctly.

How to use standing desks correctly:

  • More upright time:

One of the most immediate benefits of a standing desk is that it keeps you upright. This upright position strengthens your bones, cartilage, tendons and ligaments, straining them in the right way.

Furthermore, you burn calories as you spend time uprightly, which is particularly beneficial to those who are suffering with knee osteoarthritis and is overweight.

Increased body weight places stress on your knees and threatens your mobility, and as such, being upright will burn more calories, pump blood to the heart, and increase airflow to the lungs, and potentially reduce weight.

  • Wear the right shoes or use an anti-fatigue mat

The right shoes help relief from repetitive stress of some activities. In general, more supportive shoes, such as quality walking or running shoes might absorb some of the stress with walking or standing for long periods of time.

Likewise, an anti-fatigue mat also drastically reduce the pressure on your feet, knees and lower back by up to 32%. Most of the standing desk mats provide non-curling, trip-free edges and a non-slip base for secure placement

  • Sit as needed:

Having a standing desk doesn’t mean that you need to stand the entire duration of work. That would be counterproductive to your health and productivity.

People with arthritis find that it is just as problematic sitting for long periods as it is continuously standing.

Find the right balance between sitting and standing. Sit after you have stood for a while and have relieved the inflammation, but don’t sit for an extended period of time that would cause the stiffness to return and become problematic.

  • Move regularly and stretch:

Don’t be afraid to stretch and move about while you are at your standing desk. Over time, the muscles surrounding your joints can shorten or soften, making movement much harder.

Stretch when pain flares up; whichever joint the paint is in, stretch it or move it. If your elbow starts hurting, you can either stand or sit and extend your arm outwards or upwards. Get the blood flow going to the joint and loosen the muscles around it.

It doesn’t matter which joint it is, just start moving or stretching to alleviate the pain or stiffness.

You can use a part of your lunch break to walk and do your stretches, or you can take mini-breaks of two minutes or so while working, to rest the muscles and joints that have been frequently active, such as fingers that do a lot of typing.

How to choose a suitable standing desk

  • Choose a standing desk that is easier to adjust:

Lifting can be a hazard for those dealing with arthritis because of joint inflammation and deterioration. People with arthritis need to be especially careful so as not to further harm themselves or others.

Choose an electric sit-stand desk, for example, that allows effortless transition between sitting to standing with just a touch of a button or handle, but these desks tend be expensive and might require replacing the entire cubicle. Lower-cost alternatives like desktop risers can also do the job.

For example, FlexiSpot desktop workstations are mostly effortless thanks to a counterbalancing mechanism that makes the raising and dropping super smooth. Just squeeze the handle bar and you can lift and lower the rig.

  • Choose one with larger surface to keep everything closest to you:

When faced with arthritis, you want to conserve energy so that you can be functional for the entire work day. Bu it is also important to avoid any unnecessary movement that might jar the joints.

Any stress, strain, pulling, or stretching can consume your energy and make you tired more easily. Whatever tools, paperwork, electronic devices, or office supply you often utilize, have it close by.

You can grab it while you are heading in to work, or if it’s possible to have a bulk supply in your office, make that arrangement.

  • Know your rights

Make sure to talk to your boss about your arthritis, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Know your rights! Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers are required to give employees “reasonable accommodations,” two of which includes, providing assistive devices or equipment and job restructuring.

Still, moving forward with your request, present a letter from your doctor to your supervisor and appropriate staff from the human resources department.




  • I use a stand-at desk at work, since I work in retail. Moving up and down helps me not feel so stiff. I’ve seen a lot of schools go for the ball chairs, too. I think it helps keep you limber since you are balancing and move easily. Is there a link for the computer thing in the photo? It looks like it moves up and down, and would be portable.

  • May be I am wrong, I thought one of the problems of sitting down was inactivity. But are you really any more active if you are standing in one position during your work day? Plus, standing for a sustained period of time in one place would definitely put on a stain on your feet.

  • Thank you for such informative article! I would absolutely love stand up desk. I saw it on Tv and it seems just right for me. I can’t sit still and it just kills me to sit too long! a standing desk would be awesome.

  • I got a standing desk in my classroom a few months ago and i love it. I go back and forth between sitting and standing depending on the nature of the task and how i am feeling. I love the flexibility and functionality.

  • This is a great education on the benefits of working while standing especially since most use a computer terminal of some sort in their work. It is nice to have options of movement. Are their further published studies on sit-stand benefits by any large organizations? I know for those on phones being able to walk around with wireless headsets seemed beneficial. This solution seems to be parallel to the ideal in this article.

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