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Ergonomic Product Categories > Footswitches          
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What are Footswitches?

A Footswitch (or Foot Switch) is just what it sounds like; a switch that can be used by the foot of an individual.  This switch can be programmed to perform various tasks on a computer, and most commonly are used to generate left, middle and right click actions of the mouse, or modifier keys (Shift, Control, Alt) on a keyboard.  They typically range from 1 to 3 switches per device, and can plug directly into the computer using a USB port or alternative connections such as a Switch Interface Box.   

What are the Ergonomic Benefits of a Footswitch?
Footswitches allow the user to take the most repetitive actions the fingers have to perform and shift these actions to the feet, Load Balancing tasks for the user.  This reduces repetitive muscle action and effort for the hands, resulting in less actions which may result in strain and fatigue. 

The left click on the mouse is the highest frequency action for most computer users, so by moving that action to the feet, they can potentially help prevent or reduce the pain associated with Trigger Finger.  For data entry clerks, the Tab, Shift-Tab and Enter keystrokes may be very high frequency.  As these are all keys which require an awkward reach on a conventional keyboard, elimination of the awkward reach can help reduce injury inducing movements including Ulnar Deviation.

What are Potential Concerns when Considering a Footswtich?

The most significant concern is to ensure that the personal Anthropometrics of the individual and the workstation do not result in Dorsiflexion of the ankle when using the footswitch.  This occurs when the foot is extended upwards in an uncomfortable posture to use the footswitch.  Strategies to prevent this include adjusting the chair to an appropriate height, and using a front-hinged footswitch instead of a rear-hinged footswitch.  A front hinged footswitch allows the user to rest their foot on the switch without it actuating.  Rear-hinged footswitches which force the user to awkwardly 'hover' the foot over the switch at its highest, most extended position and press down only when the switch needs to be actuated.

For What Types of Tasks / Users are Footswitches Suitable? 

Any user who is seeking to shift the work associated with a couple specific repetitive actions while computing would benefit from the addition of a footswitch to their workstation.

What Physical Injuries or Conditions Typically Benefit from a Footswitch?

Footswitches are of benefit to a wide variety of users including individuals with Trigger Finger from clicking the mouse or Ulnar Deviation from awkward reach for keys and/or combination keystrokes on the keyboard.



Last edited December 9th, 2013

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