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Health or Hype? The Truth about Anti-Fatigue Mats

Before you consider buying some for your business, here’s what you need to know

For people who spend a good portion of their days on their feet, anything that promises to relieve stress and discomfort is certainly welcome. And while there are a lot of products available, one item is starting to be used more often in businesses: anti-fatigue mats. But do they actually help? Here’s some insight:

What are anti-fatigue mats?

Usually made of a substance such as rubber or vinyl, anti-fatigue mats are intended for people who have to do a lot of standing on hard surfaces. They are designed to cut down on aches and pains.

Do anti-fatigue mats work?

Anti-fatigue mats do have their benefits, including:

The problem with anti-fatigue mats

While anti-fatigue mats can be helpful, not just any one will get the job done. If they aren’t of good quality, you’re going to run into these issues:

Too hard or soft

Just like Goldilocks trying out the bears’ beds, anti-fatigue mats have to be just right. If they’re too hard, they are not going to provide much comfort. And a mat that’s too soft will cause your body to work harder and actually increase fatigue.

Not a good balance between stability and instability

In order to achieve increased blood flow, the mat has to have enough instability to have someone make adequate changes to their posture. But if there is too much – caused by a too-soft mat – it can lead to balance problems. As a result, the body has to overcompensate, which causes more of a strain.

Lack of response to movements

A high quality anti-fatigue mat will return its original shape quickly when someone shifts or moves. If there is a delay, the mat is not doing its job properly. This means that it will probably be worn out faster and have to be replaced sooner.

Bottoms out too easily

If the mat is too soft or thin and bottoms out when stepped on, it will essentially act like a mat that is too hard. This negates all the benefits of having an anti-fatigue mat at all.

They don’t stay put

Some anti-fatigue mats aren’t flush to the floor and are prone to allowing dust to form underneath, which means there is the likelihood of them sliding. Lightweight mats can also move easily, creating a tripping hazard.

If you – or your employees – stand for long stretches of time each day, anti-fatigue mats may be worth the investment. However, you have to choose wisely or those aches may turn into something more serious.

And if you’re already experiencing constant foot pain, it’s time to see a doctor. To make an appointment with the leading podiatric practitioner in Broward County, contact the office of Dr. Nina Coletta. Whatever is ailing you, we’ll make you feel better. Call us at 954-452-4590.

Nina L. Coletta, DPM, PA

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