COLUMBUS, Ohio — For many working Americans, the dining room or kitchen table became the new office once the pandemic shut things down. But doctors say working from home can take a toll on the body and its circulation if not careful.

What You Need To Know

  • Sit with your feet out in front of you so blood flow is not restricted

  • Place a towel at the edge of your countertop or table to avoid issues with carpal tunnel syndrome

  • Get up and move frequently while taking part in virtual meetings 

Working from home and sitting down for long periods of time can put a strain on the body’s circulation— especially if your new home office includes your kitchen countertop, dining room table or couch.

Ohio State University family physician Randy Wexler said  things that we do regularly without even thinking while using our in home office space can cause back pain or inflammation.

“A lot of people, myself included, will tuck their leg underneath the chair and that causes compression on their calf. And by doing that you're restricting blood flow and you increase the chance for blood clots.”

And that’s why he says it’s important to get moving even if you’re in a Zoom meeting that doesn’t require you to be seen.

“You're gonna want to stand up, you're gonna want to move around, you're gonna want to keep the joints loose as possible.”

And when you’re sitting down, keep your feet out in front of you so you don’t constrict blood flow.

“The body's natural mechanisms to keep blood flowing don't exist. And so, as a result, you have to take precaution to help your body, to make sure that those things don’t run afoul,” said Dr. Wexler.

If you recognize inflammation in one leg versus the other,  Dr. Wexler says to get some compression socks to help move the blood in your body. 

For those without ergonomic office furniture at home, beware of carpal tunnel syndrome, as often times keeping your wrists on the edge can create problems in the long run. But Dr. Wexler said there’s an easy fix for that. All you have to do is:

- Place a towel at the edge of the table, which serves as a buffer to your forearm
- Put your mouse further up on the table so you are reaching out 
- If necessary, ice down your wrists if inflammation occurs

While it may not seem like much, doing these small things now can pay off later. 

If you’re experiencing inflammation in only one leg, tenderness in one calf, numbness in your hands or the inability to hold things, it’s an indicator that your circulation may be poor. Or, if you feel a clump in the back of the your calf, it may signal that there’s a blood a clot. In any of those cases, you’ll want to talk to your doctor.