Foot rests flat or angled, which is better

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  sarah 5 years, 9 months ago.

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    I have had recent discussions with my coleagues and there is some anecdotal opinions around the use of flat vs. angled footrests in office workstation setups. The new word on the street is that flat is better. what do you think? I am looking for a study or some emperical evidence to support the appropriate ergonomic workstation setups in an office environment. Is there anything out there?



    If the footrest is close to the chair and the lower legs are vertical, then a flat footrest works well.  This is generally used to compensate for a higher seat and essentially "raises the floor".  If the footrest is used further away from the chair so the user extends his/her knees, then an angled footrest works better to allow a natural ankle posture and prevent plantarflexion.

    An angled footrest can be used close to the chair to compensate for high heels and bring the ankle into a more natural posture.

    Tom Adams, CPE 

    Cleveland Clinic 

    Cleveland, OH




    I have not found a recent study regarding footrests.  I typically look at ankle position leg position and almost always find that the flat footrest works better for those who wear regular shoes (no heels).

    In addition, many of the manufactured angled footrests tend to be too high (2/12-3" at front and 4+ at the middle) or too narrow.  In my opinion, those footrests that are movable are not stable supports and I do not use those at all.

    From a user standpoint, if given a choice, most of my clients have chosen a flat footrest over an angled footrest due to improved comfort and a sense of stability.





    I recommend a footrest made from metal with a non slip carpet foot platform and 4 threaded steel feet with rubber bottoms.  This solid, easily adjustable footrest works well either in close to the chair with a flatter angle or further away from the chai with a greater angle.  I also recommend not to sit still – and to move the legs regularly beneath the desk.



    I generally prefer the angled style footrests.  Two reasons; first most of the angled styles have some ability to match the angle to the pressure applied from the feet.  That’s important because as we all know one size does not fit all.  The same principal applies with angle adjustments.  Some footrests have an ability to be set to a specific angle others simply float.  I prefer the floating style because they allow the usre to flex and move their ankles.  That ultimately will cause some movement of the leg as well. 

    It is important that footrests have some non-skid material on the bottom so the user isn’t chasing them all around the floor.  That brings up the second reason I like the angle style.  I believe they help the user take better advantage of the back support of the chair.  Most of us would agree that a seat adjustment should have a slightly forward angle.  Problem is, many users rebel from that adjustment because they sometimes feel as though they are sliding out of the seat, especially if the seat has just a little too far forward slant adjustment.  With an angled footrest and non-skid material the user will feel a little more secure with the seat adjustment I’ve talked about and more likely to use it.

    One caveat to this; I recommend to many of my clients that they consider either an adjustable height workstation so they can alter their posture in more ways.  Some companies are not willing to spring for that feature so the next best option is what we call the "poor persons sit/stand", of course not in front of the client.  Elevate the work surface to standing height then put the chair on a stool kit.  I don’t like the foot ring on stools used for a rest so a taller stand alone foot rest is also suggested.  In this case I like the flat surface.  The main reason I prefer this is that they are often used to help mount the stool and a good solid flat surface is safer. 


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