Are you thinking of using a footrest? Unsure if you need to use one? Using a footrest can benefit someone if used in the right way, as it can boost comfort and reduce pain.
Having a correctly set up workstation is essential for comfort and reducing the risk of injuries and pain. The HSE guidelines advise that for any person who uses display screen equipment (DSE), which is a computer, for an hour or more daily a DSE assessment should be carried out. A DSE assessment analyses a workstation lets you know if it’s correctly set up. This assessment can help you work out whether or not you need a footrest.
When you should use a footrest
Ashlea Branch-Parker our expert DSE assessor has helped many office workers reduce discomfort and avoid injuries in the workplace and at home. He has shared what he looks out for when he assesses someone’s workstation and how he knows when they might need to use a footrest.
Your feet don’t touch the floor
Ashlea said “When setting people up at their desks, the first thing we look for is the position of their arms, it’s to ensure that they’re comfortably supported and not forcing the shoulders into the neck or have the elbows drop below the desk. With the arms in the correct position, if it’s noted that your feet don’t touch the floor, then that’s when you should use a footrest.
When working at a counter height
Ashlea also advises “When working at a counter height desk such as in a laboratory, kitchen or breakout space, a footrest should also be encouraged to be used instead of using the foot ring of the chair as when using the foot ring it means your feet are directly brought back underneath yourself, not only restricting the circulation to the lower half of your body but also in that position, it tips you forward meaning you aren’t supporting the full length of your spine against the back pad of the chair.”
Is your workstation set up correctly?
If your feet are dangling in the air and aren’t resting flat on the floor, it might mean your chair is too high for you.
To decide if you need a footrest, you first need to make sure your workstation is set up correctly and you’re sitting at the correct height.
How to know if your chair is the right height for you and your workstation is set up correctly
- Your feet should rest flat on the floor.
- You shouldn’t feel any pressure on your thighs or lower back and should hopefully be well supported
- Your knees should be level or slightly lower than your hips. Your knees and hips should line up to roughly make a 90-degree angle.
- Arms should be comfortably supported by the armrests. The arm’s rests should be in line with your desk.
- Your eyes should be level with the top of your screen.
If you’re set up correctly but notice your feet aren’t flat on the floor, then you’ll need a footrest!
The benefits of using a footrest
When used correctly a footrest can help to improve your comfort during your workday.
Ashlea says “The benefits are that they provide a stable platform for you to be well supported whilst working at your desk and not increasing the risk of any pain or discomfort to the rest of your body.”
Just a few benefits of using a footrest are:
- Better support for your body
- Reduces discomfort
- Lessens the chance of developing musculoskeletal disorders
- Improved blood circulation
Footrests we would recommend
We offer a variety of products in our shop to help build your perfect ergonomic workstation. If you need a footrest there are a wide variety of footrests on the market, but Ashlea’s top recommendations are:
Ashlea recommends the Addit Footrest for people who use regular office desks, he would recommend this because- “it’s cost-effective, has three levels of adjustment and compact so it won’t take that much room under your desk.”
Ashlea also recommended the Relax: “For those who use a foot pedal for note-taking, such as Law firms then the Relax Footrest has a removable part to place the pedal into, it’s also a really wide footrest so the platform doesn’t feel restrictive for people to rest their feet on. When you’re working at a counter height, the Score Pro 959 is ideal as it has the biggest height range available so will ensure that your feet will reach the footrest.”
Tip: When your feet are on a footrest – your knees should never be above your hips. If they are, then your footrest is too tall and you’ll need a more adjustable footrest. All our footrests are adjustable, but some cheaper footrests are all quite high even in their lowest position.
Don’t use a footrest unless you need one!
Make sure you only use a footrest if it’s needed, it could cause more discomfort and pain. If your feet are on the floor when sitting in your chair and you put a footrest under your feet, your knees are being raised when they don’t need to be! Your hips and knees need to be in line, or your knees need to be slightly lower than your hips. Using a footrest when not needed can cause your knees to be pushed up above your hips, this can cause lower back pain and strain on the hip muscles and might make you lean forward.
If you’d like to learn more about footrests, watch our YouTube video: Do I need a footrest? How to work out if you need a footrest: What to look for and how to solve it
If you would like some help picking out a footrest or would like some advice on your workstation, feel free to give our friendly team on 0330 332 0880 or email us at email@example.com