Is Driving a Stick Shift Causing You to Have Knee Pain

Own a Subaru Crosstrek, Impreza, or WRX with a manual transmission? Experiencing left knee aches and pains? We’ve heard this complaint from a few of our regular customers and we wanted to get to the bottom of it. Is driving a stick shift causing them to have knee pain? Let’s find out.

Can Driving a Stick Shift Cause You to Have Knee Pain?

Subaru manual transmissions are dependable and lightweight. While they allow the driver to take charge of their own personal driving style, manual transmissions also require you to manually shift the gears. Manually shifting gears can take a toll on the knees. Here’s why.

When you drive a stick shift, your left leg and right arm get quite the workout. When you drive an automatic, you’ll operate with your right leg, but your left leg can pretty much just hang out. With a manual transmission, the left leg remains in an active position at all time. Extended to operate the clutch, your left leg can experience tension from the foot to the hip.  

All of this tension in the left leg can cause muscle imbalances and unexpected tightness in the area around the knee. This is especially bad in stop-and-go traffic.

How to Remedy Knee Pain While Driving a Stick

When the knee pain set in you thought about trading in your manual transmission, didn’t you? Not so fast—you can drive a stick shift and avoid knee pain. Here are some remedies.

Know the proper technique for pressing the clutch.

To remedy knee pain, you’ll want to first make sure you are using the correct technique for pressing the clutch pedal. Drivers activate either their quad muscles or their glute muscles to press the clutch. You can choose which muscle is used by thinking about the action each time. If you want to avoid knee pain, you’ll focus on your glutes. As one of the strongest muscles in the body, your glutes are better equipped to handle the stop-and-go motion of a manual transmission. Using your glutes instead of your quads also takes the pressure off the knees.

Work on your posture.

If you have bad posture while driving, chances are you’re not engaged in the activity. An unengaged brain will use muscles involuntarily—usually defaulting to your quads when pressing the clutch. The use of your quads will apply pressure to your knees and, over time, create knee pain that could be avoided. Sitting up straight will make you a more active driver. You’ll be more likely to remember to engage your glutes, too.

Pay attention.

All in all, drivers who operate cars with manual transmission need to pay attention to avoid knee pain. Listen to your driving patterns and you may start to find movements that are causing you pain. Once you figure out the movements, then you can take action to correct them.  

Knee pain can have many underlying causes. You may find that driving a manual transmission isn’t a part of the problem (or is only a small part). Still, it’s always good to be an engaged driver (especially when you are driving a stick shift). If you find that driving isn’t the issue and your knee pain persists, consult a medical professional.

Choose Suburb Service: We Service Manual Transmission Subaru Models Near Seattle, WA

Drive a manual transmission Subaru? Suburb Service is the Seattle area’s Subaru expert. We’re always here to help with your repair and maintenance needs. To schedule a maintenance appointment or to schedule a repair service, contact us at 206-364-8089 or fill out our online appointment request form. Show your Subaru some love.

How to Keep Your Subaru Safe When You're Hiking
Here’s Why Quality Motor Oil Is Important (And Why You Should Change It Regularly)

Comments

comments