In addition to being detrimental to one's posture, prolonged sitting can also cause or exacerbate back pain and muscle strains. Perhaps even more troublesome is the possibility of developing stasis dermatitis - a condition in which blood pools in the legs producing inflammation and discomfort. This pooling of blood can be a precursor to more serious conditions like lipodermatosclerosis and venous leg ulceration.

Sitting at a desk all day is a reality many people are unable to escape, but getting up often to stretch, get water, and ambulate can help combat some of the drawbacks of this sedentary behavior. Standing desks are popping up in more and more offices as employers attempt to help keep their workforce healthier and more physically fit. Unfortunately, standing all day has its own set of possible health risks, but perhaps, with more research, we might soon find an optimal equilibrium between the two positions. Until then, having the option to sit or stand (or use a stool) at your desk is likely beneficial.

David A. Greuner, MD, FACS, FICS