When you are on your knees on a hardwood floor all day, eventually your knees are going to start hurting. Your knees are a set of joints that you use every day. You may not think about it but when you do simple activities like get out of bed in the morning or sit on a chair, you are using your knees. You use your knees all the time.
Because you are always using your knees in mundane daily tasks, it is very important to protect your knees when doing any type of flooring work because this is an environment where your joints are at risk. When you are doing floor work, you are resting your body weight on your knees and often the weight of a heavy power tool, too.
If you don't take care of your knees on the job, later in life you may experience perpetual joint pain in your knees. With the growing awareness of personal health and well-being, the usage of knee pads has grown in popularity in the flooring community. Let's face it, when you are installing or finishing a floor, you will be on your knees kneeling the entire time! Knee pads are the solution to preventing occupational knee injuries.
Knee injuries are serious for several reasons. Your organs, muscles, joints and bones in your body work together. For example, when you have sore knees, you often overcompensate your back so that you use your knees less. This means that you are transferring the weight that would have been on your knees onto your lower back. The result is a sore back and sore knees. This is a common injury. Sometimes the lower back is effected by how you lift your power tools, but often a floor contractor has back pain because of a knee injury. Sometimes the knees hurt less than the back but both areas of the body have experienced repetitive strain.
In order to prevent knee injuries on the job, you should always be wearing knee pads. Knee pads come in a variety of styles and are made from many different materials. They vary significantly in comfort and performance on the job. Some knee pads are very flexible and designed for light duty work. There are also a variety of foam ones that come in different thicknesses. You can also get rubber knee pads in a variety of different styles from molded rubber to natural rubber. You can even get leather knee pads, not as much cushioning but durable nonetheless. Another style is gel knee pads. Gel knee pads are a more comfortable option. They form to your knees as you change your position.
Some knee pads have a hard plastic or sometimes even metal on the knee cap. Though it is somewhat protective, these knee pads are uncomfortable and may slow you down on the job. Besides, a hard plastic knee pad may even mark a newly finished floor. Wouldn't that be annoying! Then you have to go back and do touch-ups! Softer knee pads are much more comfortable to work in. You want cushioning, not a hard material against a hardwood floor! Hard plastic on a hard surface will impact your knee joints.
Fabric knee pads are also notorious for picking up very small particulates of sawdust and dirt. It is a problem when dirt sticks to your knee pads and you are moving the dirt across the floor as you move across the floor yourself. On a newly finished floor where the finish has not yet cured, any small piece of dirt will potentially scratch the floor. If you decide to go with a fabric style knee pad, it is necessary to make sure nothing is sticking to them before you go to kneel down.
There are many different types of knee pads. The function of all knee pads is the same. They are designed to prevent knee injury and protect your knees on the job. Not all knee pads deliver the support and protection you need when working on a wood floor. As you have seen, some styles of knee pads can potentially damage your floor work. Some styles may even injure your body if they are not fitted properly.
As protecting yourself is a means to prevent injury, now you may want to consider the style of knee pads that is suitable for you as a flooring contractor. You only have one set of knees. It is important to keep your knees in the best condition you can to have a pain-free life.
To learn more about the Doc's favorite knee pads, please read my article on ProKnee knee pads.