What to Look for in a Properly Fit Office Chair


June 20, 2011

by Mike Marcin, PT

As many people sit at their desk a majority of their day, sitting in an improperly fit chair can lead to repetitive strain and aches and pains throughout the body.

Here are a few things to consider in using your office chair:

  • Are you using the back support properly?  They are often adjustable, and can be raised or lowered.  It is very important to have good support for your lower back.
  • Are you using the arm rests?  You should be able to rest your forearms on the armrests and let your shoulders relax.  If you’re not using them, you often are holding up your arms, which can lead to stress on the shoulders and neck.  Armrests can often be raised or lowered, and in better chairs, be turned in or out.
  • Your ankles, knees, and hips should be at a 90 degree angle.  If you cannot reach this position, consider raising your chair; or if you cannot touch the floor, consider an elevated foot rest.
  • Is the seat too deep or shallow? Some seats move forward or backward.  Look for three fingers of space between your knees and the seat.
  • Seat width is often overlooked.  Sometimes a wider chair fits people better, and sometimes a narrower chair may be better for your body type.

Also, keep in mind, if your desk gets in the way of making the needed changes with your chair, you may benefit from an ergonomic workstation evaluation.