Carpet fitter's knee is an overuse condition in people who fit carpets for a living, where several knee problems can occur from spending so much time on their knees and using a 'knee kicker' to stretch the carpet.
Page updated October 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)
Overuse problems with carpet fitters
Knee problems in carpet fitters are a result of kneeling, use of a 'knee kicker' to stretch the carpet, and small traumas from sharp objects on the floor. Conditions associated with this occupation include infrapatellar bursitis, osteoarthritis and occasionally patellar tendon rupture.
Bursitis from carpet fitting
There are two lubricating pockets (bursae) at the front of the knee that become irritated in occupations that require kneeling on the knee like a carpet-fitter - the infrapatellar bursa and the prepatellar bursa. Each of these exist to allow the knee to bend without stretching the tissues. They are lined by a membrane of cells (synovium) which secrete lubricating fluid and the two sides of the bursa are normally able to slide against one another. If the bursa is repeatedly traumatised by kneeling, then the membrane will produce excess fluid and may become inflamed, which is called 'bursitis' and this will cause pain.
"There is moderate quality evidence that longer cumulative exposure to kneeling or squatting at work leads to a higher risk of osteoarthritis of the knee."
Citation: Verbeek J, Mischke C, Robinson R, Ijaz S, Kuijer P, Kievit A, Ojajärvi A, Neuvonen K. Occupational Exposure to Knee Loading and the Risk of Osteoarthritis of the Knee: A Systematic Review and a Dose-Response Meta-Analysis. Saf Health Work. 2017 Jun;8(2):130-142. doi: 10.1016/j.shaw.2017.02.001. Epub 2017 Feb 22. PMID: 28593068; PMCID: PMC5447410.