Since April is Foot Health Awareness Month, let’s look at one obvious benefit of carpet – it feels better on our feet. A recent study from Sweden indicates the ergonomic benefits of carpet are significant.

Before I came to the Carpet and Rug Institute to work as their communications coordinator, I worked as a salesman in a men’s clothing store. One of the first things I learned in that job is that standing on your feet for 8-9 hours every day makes you thankful for your couch every evening. And I was lucky – I worked in a store with carpeted floors – some working people have to stand on concrete or some other hard surface floor.

We’ve always known it: carpet is better for our feet, ankles, knees and back.

The Swedish study was initiated by the Swedish Work Environment Authority (SWEA). It concludes that carpet in the workplace is better for feet and helps prevent injuries more than hard floor coverings.

The study refers to a report that documented employees’ pain at a work facility. Employees had been reporting pain in their feet, knees, hip joints, and lower spine. The employees’ pain was caused, the report states, by “ergonomic problems due to the floor covering in the building.”

The Swedish study examines how different flooring materials absorb shock and the findings are painfully obvious (pun slightly intended). Softer floor coverings support feet better, the study finds, which keeps people from suffering from pain similar to that experienced by the employees.

Ingvar Dekmer, the main researcher of the study, states that, “the clinical study… shows that changing to a softer floor covering results in a significant reduction of pain in feet.”

Read about another doctor who says soft floor coverings will lessen or eliminate the pain from ankle and leg problems.

All of this may seem obvious to most of us Americans because the majority of our public areas have carpeting, but in Sweden most public places have hard floors.

Carpeted floors have other distinct advantages, but reducing discomfort in feet will always be at the top of my list.