Pain Free Working

The Ergonomic Value of Footrests: Why Do You Need One?


When we think about ergonomic solutions for office setups or comfortable living spaces, we often prioritize adjustable chairs, standing desks, or ergonomic keyboards. 

While ergonomic products like these have gained widespread recognition for promoting proper posture and reducing the risk of musculoskeletal disorders, one often overlooked but incredibly valuable addition to the ergonomic workspace is the ergonomic footrest.

The popularity of ergonomic under-desk footrests is on the rise, and for very good reasons.

Long hours of sitting upright and staying in one position can contribute to a host of health issues to your overall well-being, including back pain, neck discomfort, suboptimal sitting positions, and poor circulation. 

A practical solution to mitigate the adverse consequences of prolonged sitting throughout the day is to use a footrest under your desk.

The ergonomic value of footstools goes beyond providing a place to rest your feet; they can have a profound impact on your posture, comfort, support, and overall health. 

In this blog post, we will delve into the ergonomics of footrests, the benefits they offer, and their positive impact on posture and knee health.

What are the Ergonomics of a Desk Footrest?

Ergonomics, the science of optimizing human well-being and performance of the entire body through product and environment design, plays a crucial role in the creation of ergonomic footrests. These desk footrests are carefully engineered to align with your neutral posture, creating a sturdy and durable footrest that provides long-lasting support and stability.

Key considerations in the ergonomics of footstools include the perk of it being height adjustable, allowing for a customized and comfortable position that maintains a 90-degree angle in your knees, promoting optimal comfort, healthy blood circulation, and relieving lower back pressure. 

If everything else is right but your legs and feet are dangling, you need to use a footrest. Beyond ergonomics, a footrest can also encourage healthier, more “active sitting” by engaging your feet to rock back and forth for better leg circulation

Some footrests also offer tilt adjustability, enabling gentle rocking to reduce stiffness, improve circulation, and prevent prolonged static foot positioning. An example is a foot rocker. Similar to a treadle, this compact foot rocker enables low-impact foot movement by gently rocking your feet. 

Versatility is its strength, with two settings in a single device: a broad, soothing rocking motion and a brisk, invigorating one, catering to various exercise rhythms. 

When idle, this foot rocker doubles as an elevated footrest, effectively reducing fatigue. It’s the simplest means to combat the sedentary nature of office life!

Additionally, the choice of material and texture is vital for an ergonomic footrest, with a comfortable and non-slip surface that is easy to clean, ensuring a pleasant tactile experience.

What are the Benefits of Using Ergonomic Footrests?

An ergonomic desk footrest offers a range of benefits that can significantly improve your work or relaxation experience. When used correctly, a footrest can help to improve your comfort during your workday.

It does this by relieving pressure on your lower extremities, reducing strain on your legs, and preventing discomfort during prolonged sitting. 

Most footrests come with a hard plastic material for the footpad, which is standard. Others offer a ribbed footpad to provide a somewhat ‘massage’ of the feet while in use.

Using a desk footrest during computer use not only enhances posture but also minimizes knee strain when positioned correctly. Additionally, foot support can deliver advantages when standing for extended periods.

Moreover, an ergonomic footrest with elevation promotes better blood flow, reducing the risk of blood clots, swelling, varicose veins, and even the development of deep vein thrombosis.

When setting up your workspace to ensure your body is in the most ergonomic position at the desk, we first begin with adjusting the office chair to meet the right desk height so that your elbows are at desk level or slightly higher than desk level. This also applies to those with an adjustable height desk.

Are Footrests Good for Posture?

Yes, footrests are excellent tools for improving posture.

Using a footrest helps you sit with your feet firmly on a surface, promoting a neutral position and reducing the likelihood of slouching. Proper alignment of your spine with the help of a footrest minimizes the stress on your back and reduces neck pain. 

A desk footrest enables weight shifting from one foot to the other, unloading pressure on the hips, back, and pelvis, and reducing strain associated with prolonged static standing. 

Even among those using a standing desk, a footrest can provide support for your legs and feet, which helps to reduce discomfort and back pain. More comfort means less pain and less pain can mean more productivity. 

With the increasing popularity of standing desks, there is a demand for footrests perfectly suited to this setup. In certain instances, the integration of a thoughtfully crafted footrest can extend your ability to comfortably stand with better posture at a standing desk by up to 30 percent.

If you’re presently using or in the process of acquiring a perching or leaning stool to compliment your standing workstation, don’t overlook the importance of a footrest. It could be the essential component to relieve the added strain of working in a partially upright position, allowing you to stand for extended durations comfortably.

Are Footrests Good for Knees?

Footrests are also beneficial for your knee health. When you sit for extended periods with your legs and feet dangling or placed flat on the ground, it can lead to increased pressure on your knees and improper positioning. 

An adjustable footrest allows you to position your feet at a 90-degree angle, providing support and reducing the load on your knees, promoting better joint health and reducing the potential for circulatory issues.

Final Note

Ergonomic footrests are a simple yet effective addition to your workspace or living area.

A footrest can provide numerous advantages, including enhanced comfort, improved posture, better blood circulation, and reduced knee strain. When choosing a footrest, be sure to consider its adjustability, material, and design to ensure it complements your unique ergonomic needs. 

So, if you’re looking to make your workspace more ergonomic and comfortable, consider adding a footrest to your setup. Your body will thank you for it in the long run.

Tricia Montano

Tricia founded Pain Free Working in 2019 due to suffering from degenerative disc disease in her L5-S1 from working an office job for the past 18 years. She and her team strive on finding and reviewing the best office equipment to help fellow pain sufferers find relief and to enable people like her to do their jobs comfortably.