Health & Wellness

3 benefits of an ergonomic footrest

By October 30, 2023 No Comments

In today’s digital age, many of us spend increasingly long hours seated in front of a desk. A study conducted between 2007 to 2016 showed that the average amount of time sitting in a day had increased by one hour — a number that only continues to go up.1

The hours spent sitting add up, often leading to discomfort and a host of health concerns. To stay comfortably supported throughout the day, much of our attention has been focused on ergonomic chairs. But an ergonomic footrest can also help relieve even more stress on your body — and a well-designed footrest is an essential companion for any setup.

Anything that elevates your feet can serve as a makeshift footrest. But what makes a footrest truly ergonomic? It has to be intentionally designed at the right height to keep both feet firmly planted, encourage movement instead of limiting it, and accommodate multiple sitting positions. Members of our Ergonomics Advisory Board — comprising experts in the fields of biomechanics, orthopedics, and more — share three ways an ergonomic under-desk footrest can benefit you.

1. Keep your feet firmly planted for a better sitting posture

An under-desk footrest keeps your feet firmly grounded, distributing weight evenly across your soles to reduce pressure peaks. Without proper weight distribution, your buttocks and the back of your thighs bear the full brunt of your weight. This leads to pressure spikes in the area, especially around your sit bones, glutes and hamstrings. The increased pressure on your tissues also compresses nerves and blood vessels, causing numbness and discomfort after extended periods of time.

When your feet dangle, blood also pools in your soles and toes, causing even more swelling and discomfort.

Without proper support for your feet, your posture lacks stability. This forces the muscles in your thighs and lower legs to work even harder, leading to muscular fatigue and aches. Dr. James Goh, Emeritus Professor at the National University of Singapore, warns that sitting on the chair edge can also cause your body to lean forward, resulting in a hunched or slouched posture.

Scientific studies have linked poor sitting posture to an increased risk of musculoskeletal disorders as well, including conditions like forward head posture and rounded shoulders, according to esports medicine physician Dr. Lindsey Migliore. Poor posture also exacerbates lower back strain — especially when your feet are unable to reach the ground. An ergonomic footrest such as the Secretlab Professional Footrest (CloudSwap™ Technology) reduces strain by keeping your feet firmly planted and knees at a 90° angle, which helps support and maintain the natural curve of your spine.

“The Secretlab Footrest Pro allows your feet to rest at the perfect angle and height for your needs. For individuals whose feet can’t rest firmly on the floor, this can also help improve circulation and overall ergonomic wellness.”
Dr. Lindsey Migliore, Senior Director of Performance, Evil Geniuses, Esports Medicine Physician, Founder of GamerDoc

2. Encourages and accommodates natural movement

Your body was built to move. Staying in one position for too long restricts blood flow and causes stress to accumulate in your tissues. Regular movement throughout the day prevents stress from peaking in a single area, and keeps pain and discomfort at bay.

Dynamic, rocking footrests are perfect for bringing movement into your space, even as you sit. In fact, the rhythm of calf muscle contractions functions just like a beating heart, pumping and circulating blood throughout your body. The Footrest Pro has a 30° range of movement in Dynamic mode to keep you moving, so you stay a little more active.

“In Dynamic mode, the feet can actively rock up and down by calf muscle contraction which acts like a pump and circulates blood throughout your body — just like your heart. This constant movement with muscle contraction encourages blood flow and relieves postural strain, especially when seated for long hours.”
Dr. James Goh, PhD of Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering Emeritus Professor, National University of Singapore

The solid, full-metal chassis also keeps Footrest Pro firmly in place, and its extra-wide surface offers even more room to rest your feet.

3. Precise ergonomic adjustments across multiple postures

A good ergonomic footrest will constantly adapt to you so you can effortlessly move between different postures.

Footrest Pro is meticulously engineered for quick and easy adjustments, so you can switch up the way you rest throughout the day. With a press of the pedal and a slide of the switch, rock freely within a 30° range in Dynamic mode to stay active — or lock the Footrest Pro at the angle of your choice in Stationary mode.

The +15° and -15° range  lets you make precise adjustments to the incline of your footrest, so you can customize nearly every aspect of Footrest Pro.

“I found myself using the locking function frequently as I shift in my seat throughout the day — this lets me rest my feet at the optimal dorsiflexion angle of around 0 to 15°, with just the right amount of incline to support the correct sitting posture.”
– Dr. Lindsey Migliore, Senior Director of Performance, Evil Geniuses, Esports Medicine Physician, Founder of GamerDoc

You may also find it more comfortable to keep your feet in a dorsiflexion position, with your feet pointed upward, as opposed to flat on the ground. In fact, EAB experts recommend keeping your Footrest Pro locked between  0 – 15° in Stationary mode for the optimal dorsiflexion angle.

How you adjust and position your footrest is dependent on your sitting habits. When seated upright, lock the Footrest Pro in a horizontal position to keep your knees bent at 90°. The further your footrest is away from your chair, the steeper the incline of the footrest should be to maintain a neutral ankle position.

“The Secretlab Footrest Pro ensures you are ergonomically supported no matter what position you take. It also allows you to keep your feet and knees at a comfortable angle, helping to distribute weight to relieve stress in your thighs and hips, providing the optimal sitting experience.”
Dr. Jordan Tsai, Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist, Esports Physical Therapist, Founder of Respawn Therapy

Choose an ergonomic footrest that accommodates you — not the other way around.

Unlike run-of-the-mill footrests, the Secretlab Footrest Pro puts you in total control of how you rest — a thoughtful solution that supports your feet in any posture. It is the perfect addition to any setup, providing additional ergonomic support to keep you comfortable no matter how long you’re seated for.

1 Yang, L., Cao, C., Kantor, E.D., Nguyen, L.H., Zheng, X., Park, Y., Giovannucci, E.L., Matthews, C.E., Colditz, G.A., & Cao, Y. (2019). Trends in Sedentary Behavior Among the US Population, 2001-2016. JAMA, 321, 1587-1597.