When sitting at a desk, a foot rest provides support for the feet, redistributing the weight of your body and allowing you to adjust the angle of your knees, hips and ankles for comfort or pain reduction. It can also help stabilize your lower extremities. These adjustments, while seemingly small, can change the pressure distribution in your hips and spine, contributing to improved ergonomics and reduced pain.
Many people sit with their legs crossed to stabilize the feet and legs, but studies suggest that this positioning contributes to poor posture and weakness in the hip muscles, eventually leading to pain or dysfunction. Using a foot rest can encourage people to stabilize their lower extremities in a more symmetrical alignment, thus reducing the postural deficits caused by asymmetrical sitting, which happens when you sit with your legs crossed.