Footrests - The Unsung Heroes of the Office
If someone ever asked me what the most important ergo accessory is besides a good chair, I would easily say it is a footrest. A simple footrest is the unsung hero of ergo accessories as it can solve for a lot of problems that come from a lack of adjustability of your office furniture.
If we consider proper ergonomic posture which is your chair adjusted so your thighs are parallel to the floor, knees at a 90-degree angle and your feet flat on the floor, a footrest will compensate for a chair that does not adjust to your requirements and/or a desk that also does not adjust forcing you to sit up higher. It simply gives you something to rest your feet on to help you achieve this ideal ergonomic posture.
So, what happens if you forgo the footrest, and your feet are not resting flat on the floor? If our feet are not supported properly, the weight of our legs will pull us forward in our chair and if the seat is high enough, it can give the feeling that you are sliding forward on the seat. This posture puts a lot of strain on our hips and lower back that you do not want. Also, this improper posture can begin to restrict blood flow to our lower legs and feet which can cause fatigue and that feeling that our legs “fell asleep”.
The lack of a footrest can be very disruptive for some folks who try to compensate by sitting on their leg while seated to give them a little more height for typing or end up perching on the front half of their chair seat to keep their legs from becoming fatigued. Both scenarios can cause serious problems over time and if you do this, and you know who you are, I encourage you to break this habit quickly.
How do you know if you need a footrest? Well, the best suggestion is to simply try one out and see how it feels. If you chair is adjusted properly and your feet are comfortably on the footrest, your worksurface is adjusted for comfortable typing height and all of this feel good, then you needed a footrest in the first place. It’s really that simple.
Another factor making a footrest a true hero is its low cost. You can purchase a basic style for less than $25 or upgrade to one with a bit more adjustability and a nicer aesthetic for a few dollars more. However, you really don’t have to pay a penny if you get creative with common household items as alternatives. A low cardboard box that is weighed down with a few books in it works great or use a plastic bin or basket turned upside down. Does your dog like to lie under your desk? They make good footrests too but can be less reliable than a cardboard box.
It is possible that something so simple can provide such a benefit. You just need to give it a try. Be Well Ergo can help you solve ergonomic challenges and provide guidance with selecting the right furniture and ergo accessories for your workspace. Let us know how we can help you Be Well while you work.