Press Release: Southampton’s office workers are being warned of a surge in “sitting disease” caused by pandemic

29th April 2021
Tim Ryan

A leading Hampshire podiatrist has warned that the coronavirus pandemic is set to cause a surge of Sitting Disease among Southampton’s office workers.

The stark warning from Emily Ball, the clinical director of Active Step Foot & Ankle Clinic in Whiteley, Fareham, comes ahead of On Your Feet Britain day (this Thursday, April 29), which aims to get the nation moving.

Issuing a five-point plan to fight off the effects of an overly sedentary lifestyle, Emily – who founded Active Step eight years ago, is urging workers to move more. She said: “It has recently been reported by the Office of National Statistics that home working has increased by a third since last year. Although this may appeal to many, sitting at home, without even moving for the daily commute, could seriously affect our long-term health.”

Coined by scientists warning against the effects of a sedentary lifestyle, Sitting Disease is a term commonly used to describe people who engage in long periods of inactivity. Negative effects include an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.

Emily added: “As a podiatrist, the higher risk of type 2 diabetes is extremely concerning. In these patients we have often seen foot complications develop, including foot ulcers, infection, and in the worst cases, lower limb amputation.

“Sitting for prolonged periods causes muscles to tighten and means people are more vulnerable to aches and pains. With muscle pain a major contributor to workplace absenteeism – a significant cost to businesses – it makes sense that employees should be encouraged to get up and move around.

“Not moving for long intervals can also cause pooling of the blood in the legs which can lead to varicose veins developing and swollen legs, ankles and feet. These issues are often unsightly and can make wearing hosiery and footwear very uncomfortable.

“With all this in mind, I have issued five easy to follow tips that workers can follow.”


Here’s Emily’s five-point plan:

  1. Switch to a standing desk.
  2. Wear a fitness watch or wearable that alerts you to move around after a period of inactivity.
  3. Do 10 seated calf raises at your desk every couple of hours to reduce blood pooling and swollen legs and feet.
  4. Drink plenty of water to improve blood circulation.
  5. Leave your desk at lunch time and go out for a brisk walk.

For more information about Active Step please visit