Working from a desk can result in a lot of aches and pains. Humans aren’t designed to sit still all day; we’re meant to be moving!
The best way to get around this is to choose a desk set-up that encourages as much free movement as possible. Some people invest in exercise balls instead of desk chairs, standing desks, kneeling chairs, and more.
Some of these options can be too expensive, and might not look particularly comfortable. If you’re going to be sitting at a desk all day, comfort is essential.
While you may not be able to afford the latest standing desk design, you can probably afford a footrest.
However, even if you are using the latest standing desk, a footrest can still provide a much-needed break for your legs and feet!
Let’s take a look at some pros and cons of using footrests at work. Who should use one – and who shouldn’t?
Who Should Consider Using a Footrest?
Office desks and chairs tend to be designed for a “standard” sized person. This means that if you’re a little shorter than average, you may find your feet not quite sitting comfortably on the floor.
Not quite touching the floor can also be a problem if you’re working at a high desk, meaning you have to raise the height of your chair.
To begin with, not quite touching the floor with your feet might not seem to be much of a problem at all. But as time goes on, you’ll notice problems developing.
Tension in the feet, calves, and ankles can all start due to desks and chairs that are too high.
Back problems, circulation issues, and more can also be caused by this.
Additionally, free-swinging feet can increase pressure on your legs. Adding a footrest could be a simple fix for a lot of discomforts.
Benefits Of Using a Footrest
It removes the pressure on your legs
Anyone who sits at a desk all day knows that it takes a toll. Ideally, you should regularly get up and move around. Unfortunately, that isn’t always possible. After a while, even the most comfortable of desk chairs could begin to dig into the back of your thighs.
Additionally, if you’re forced to resort to supporting your legs on your tiptoes, this means that your thighs and hips aren’t level. This can put a strain on your hips, too.
Sitting all day is bad for our circulation, and moving isn’t always an option. A footrest keeps your legs slightly elevated, which means your blood is circulating properly.
- Multi-Use Foot Rest - You can use this footrest at your desk to elevate legs/knees which alleviates leg and back pain. If you have to sit for long periods of time also can use it upside down to rock feet which helps to exercise your calves & ankle this way. While placing the foot rest in the lower back area can help with posture at the computer which also helps with back pain.
- Ergonomic Teardrop Design - This foot rest can keep your feet and lower legs comfortable while working at desk for long hours. It helps maintain a better posture as well.The ergonomic design aids in blood flow and circulation by relieving pressure on the legs and feet.
For best results, you should adjust your position frequently. Even if you can’t get up from your desk, try and move your legs around as much as you can.
Eases back problems
Straight-backed chairs and the human spine do not work well together. Not all office chairs are created equal, either. Some simply don’t provide the support we need.
- Awarded Best Under-Desk Footrest of 2020 - The New York Times has named ErgoFoam "the most comfortable and supportive footrest". "Unlike plastic footrests, which tend to be clunky and feel cheap, the ErgoFoam has a foam construction that just feels good to use."
- Work From Home in Comfort - "The ErgoFoam adjustable foot rest offers both firm support and all day comfort... its plushy surface and soft give make you want to press your feet into the cushion and stretch your ankles..." -The New York Times
If you’re working with a bad desk chair, it’s vital not to slouch. Unfortunately, when we’re focused on work, our tendency is to lean forward – slouching. Using a footrest takes the pressure off our spine, and can help discourage slouching. Sitting up straight is good for posture.
Encourages a relaxed foot
Our office clothes aren’t necessarily our favorite outfits, and that goes for the shoes, too. High heeled shoes can cause serious damage to the feet over time.
Just because you’re sitting at a desk doesn’t negate this damage.
For example, wearing high heels with your feet flat to the ground will strain the muscles and tendons in your feet, even though you aren’t walking around.
Using a footrest, especially a curved or angled one, will take the strain off your feet and lower legs.
Cons of Using a Footrest
Not ideal for tall people
There should be at least seven inches of space between your knees and the underside of your desk surface. Tall people may not need a footrest, or there simply may not be room for them to comfortably use it.
May not work with certain desk set-ups
While a footrest can be used in many types of workspaces, either all the time or as an occasional relief, not everything will be suitable. For example, if you use an ergonomic exercise ball instead of a regular desk chair, you may have balance issues if you use a footrest too.
Doesn’t replace regular movement and exercise
Footrests can be great – but you still need to move around. Simply adding a footrest to your workspace likely won’t be enough to make your aches and pains go away, not without additional changes to your working habits.
Footrests as Part of an Ergonomically Designed Workspace
An ergonomically designed workspace will also position your body optimally. Optimal sitting position involves proper back supports, measured heights of the desk and chair, and more. As you can imagine, proper ergonomics don’t happen by accident.
Taking the time to set up your workspace may take a bit of effort. Initially investing in items such as a footrest might seem expensive. Yet, at the end of the day, your health and comfort is 100% worth it.