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Anti-fatigue mats are mats designed to reduce fatigue caused by standing for long periods on a hard surface (e.g., cement floors). Fatigue-reducing mats can be made of various materials including rubber, carpeting materials, vinyl, and wood.
Anti-fatigue mats are often used to decrease foot and lower limb disorders for workers who stand in one position for long periods. However, providing a mat may not solve the entire problem. Discomfort, tiredness, and sore feet, legs, knees or hips after long hours of standing are the combined effect of several factors, namely the design of the work, the workers' footwear, and the flooring material. According to scientific data, standing for long periods of time is particularly stressful and fatiguing. Regardless of the quality of shoes and quality of the floor covering, standing itself can cause tiredness after an entire working day.
When considering the use of anti-fatigue mats, there are other factors that should be considered at the same time, such as allowing changes in working/standing position, footwear, and flooring.
There are two options to alleviate foot discomfort where resilient floors are not practical. One is footwear with thick insulating soles and shock-absorbing insoles.
Anti-fatigue matting is the other option. Anti-fatigue mats absorb the shock due to walking and this cushioning effect reduces foot fatigue. However, the use of matting requires caution because mats can lead to tripping and falling accidents when installed improperly.
Another type of floor covering, namely, anti-slip matting, is useful in increasing foot comfort and safety. However, workers may find that their feet burn and feel sore, because the non-slip properties of anti-slip matting cause their shoes to grab suddenly on the flooring, making their feet slide forward inside the shoes. Friction inside the shoes produces heat which creates soreness. Non-slip resilient insoles can reduce this discomfort.
In summary, the use of anti-fatigue mats or placing carpeting on the floor does not eliminate sore feet by itself, but, when combined with proper work design and quality footwear, it should improve working conditions.
There are many types of mats that are sold as "anti-fatigue" mats. When choosing a mat, consider the following: