Do I need armrests on my chair? – Addressing The Myth

Do I need armrests on my chair?

The most common question we receive during consultations is whether armrests are recommended on chairs.

For many years, physiotherapists and ergonomists would recommend removing armrests on office chairs. This was because the majority of office chairs are designed with armrests that are either non-adjustable or placed too far forward on the seat.

This means that in order to be able to sit close to your desk you either have to

  1. Remove the armrests or
  2. Make them lower or higher than the desk height.

The reason you should sit close to your desk is to allow you to comfortably reach the keyboard and mouse without having to stretch your arms forward or lean away from the backrest.

The risk of sitting with unsupported arms when typing

However, our arms are surprisingly heavy when sitting at a desk. So without armrests, the pressure will build up in our shoulders and neck and will encourage a tendency to lean on the desk for support, encouraging a slouch.

Furthermore, without armrests, it is difficult to remember to sit with our arms in line with the desk – the reason to do this is to keep your wrists relaxed when typing and using the mouse.

Incorrect positioning increases the risk of RSI due to tension build up in the wrists putting pressure on the nerves.

The right type of armrests

So, to address this, Corrigo ergonomic work chairs include height, width and depth adjustable armrests that are placed at the back of the seat, so you can sit back against the backrest, close to the desk, with your arms supported by your side in line with the desk height. This then prevents and reduces the risk of:

  1. Upper and lower back pain due to slouching forward on the desk, away from the backrest
  2. Shoulder and neck pain from the tension build up caused by unsupported arms, including frozen shoulder
  3. RSI (repetitive strain injury) due to incorrect posture of hands, wrists and arms when typing

Key points to remember

So always look for a chair with adjustable armrests, check you sit with the chair close to the desk and that your arms are supported close to your side, in line with the desk height. This simple check will help prevent RSI, frozen shoulder, upper and lower back pain and encourage a healthy upright posture.