3 Common Recliner Footrest Problems (and How to Fix Them)

30 November 2017
 Categories: Home & Garden, Blog


There's a particular joy to be had when you sit in a recliner lounge chair. You sit down, activate the recline function, and then… bliss. The back of the chair tilts backward and the footrest pops up into place. But what about when the footrest doesn't want to cooperate? There are a number of reasons why a footrest might be unable to actually rest your feet, but it's generally not too complicated to solve the problem.

When a Footrest Becomes Stuck

You might need someone to help you since a recliner lounge chair can be heavy. Extend the footrest as much as possible (without manually forcing it) and then turn the entire chair over. You'll want to inspect the moveable joints that allow the footrest to extend. It might simply be that they are somewhat stuck—a problem that will only worsen without intervention. Fortunately, this intervention is easy enough. Take a plastic drop sheet (or even a large plastic rubbish bag). Use a felt tip pen and draw around the mechanism. Using the felt tip lines as a guide, cut holes large enough so that the plastic sheet can be positioned over the area with the footrest's extension and retraction mechanism exposed through the holes. This is necessary to protect the chair's fabric for the next step. Simply spray a household lubricant over the mechanism and leave the chair inverted to allow the lubricant to penetrate the mechanism. You might want to obtain an aerosol can with a spray straw to allow for controlled bursts—giving you added protection against accidentally staining the fabric. Return the chair to its upright position and test the footrest. Hopefully, it will extend and retract without further issues.

A Collapsing Footrest

If the footrest extends without issue and yet collapses or partially retracts once your feet are placed upon it, lubrication isn't going to solve the problem. Again, you will need to invert the chair with the footrest extended. Once the chair is upside down, check the tension spring that controls the footrest. Is it misaligned? If this is the case, you can generally reposition it yourself. While the footrest has been extended for inspection, partially retract it before attempting a repositioning. This reduces the tension in the spring and makes it easier to handle. If the spring is broken, it will need to be replaced before the footrest will be usable again. These replacement springs can be purchased for self-installation, or you might wish to have the chair professionally serviced.

An Uneven Footrest

What about if when extended, the footrest feels as though it's uneven, with one side tilting downwards? Extend the footrest and carefully inspect its metal support arms (that feed back into the chair itself). Look for loose fittings, as it might simply be a loose bolt. Depending on the manufacturer, you might be able to tighten these fittings yourself. Be careful not to over tighten any bolts, as this might inadvertently lock the footrest in its extended position. If there is no obvious culprit as to why one side of the footrest is tilting downwards, arrange for the chair to be professionally serviced.

Most problems with your recliner's footrest are easy enough to identify and solve, allowing this portion of the chair to do what it's supposed to do—give your feet a well-deserved rest! Click for more information on choosing the right recliner lounge for your space.