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What is an Ergonomic Knee Chair?

Tara Barnett
Tara Barnett

An ergonomic knee chair is a piece of furniture intended for sitting in a way that is more similar to kneeling than sitting on a flat surface. This type of chair typically includes at least two padded elements, one of which supports the knees and the other which supports one's bottom. Often, these elements can be adjusted in height and angle to fit the user. It is thought that this type of chair reduces strains related to sitting for long periods of time. These chairs are available in a number of colors, materials, and designs, but most are intended for an office setting.

While an ergonomic knee chair usually has a pad for the knees, one's weight is not entirely placed on the knees. When sitting in an ergonomic knee chair, weight is distributed between both pads. Sometimes a back pad is included in the design to permit the user to lean back. Typically, it is not a good idea to lean forward on one's knees in this type of chair, as the chair may flip forward when the user’s weight is not centered.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

To sit in an ergonomic knee chair, one must often slip into the chair around a bar that attaches the knee pad to the rest of the chair. Sometimes adjustments must be made to the angle of the seat and the angle of the knee pad. A good ergonomic knee chair will have ways to adjust both the angle of the pads and the distance between the two pads. This is important not only because users often have different preferences for the steepness of kneeling, but also because the chair will be uncomfortable if it is not at the right height.

Most offices do not supply employees with this type of chair. If one is working at a somewhat flexible office or if the chair is for home use, it is possible to find a wide variety of kneeling chairs that may be well suited to the space. This kind of chair is available in typical office color schemes and materials, but there are also much more expensive versions that come in wood or even leather finishes. Often, a more expensive chair will be more ergonomic because more care is put into the design.

Whether or not a kneeling chair is actually ergonomic is up for debate. Some people claim that the chair is actually worse for the spine and back than a traditional sitting chair. Many people who actually use this type of chair do claim to feel better and experience fewer aches and pains. Given the different opinions on this item, the best way to determine whether an ergonomic knee chair is a good fit for one's body is to try one.

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