User Friendly Guide to Manual Wheelchairs
Information on selecting the most suitable wheelchair.
This article is about wheelchairs, wheel chairs
We have produced the following user friendly guide to help you select the most appropriate manual wheelchair for your needs.
Manual wheelchairs are powered by human power and come in 2 main categories;
Standard manual wheelchairs
These wheelchairs have large wheels at the back and smaller wheels at the front. These wheelchairs can me powered by the user, via the back wheels or by a companion who pushes using the handles mounted on the back.
Transportable manual wheelchairs
There are 2 main types of transportable wheelchairs on the market in the UK. The first of these have small wheels at the back and the front and can only be propelled by a companion and are generally the cheaper option. You can also purchase a folding wheelchair that mirrors the same design as a standard wheelchair with large wheels at the back. These chairs are often used by independent users who need a self propelling chair that they are able to lift into their vehicle.
Weight is a key issue when choosing a manual wheelchair and you need to ensure you make the right choice. Remember, a light wheelchair is easier to propel by the user of companion and will make transportation much easier, especially if lifting in and out of a vehicle. Generally it is best to get the lightest wheelchair you can afford.
Before purchasing a manual wheelchair check the maximum weight limit of the chair as this can be an issue. Heavy duty wheel chairs are now available for those who have this preference.
To ensure comfort and ease of use you need to ensure that the wheelchair seat is a good fit. Always check the width of the chair against the user’s hip to hip measurements with a contingency for heavy winter clothing. It is generally recommended that the depth of the wheelchair should cover the distance from the users back to behind the knee.
The seat height should also be checked carefully to ensure the users feet sit comfortably on the footrests within their adjustable settings. The seat height is generally measured from behind the knee to the heel. Remember to account for the height of the seat cushion.
We recommend the user always tries the manual wheelchair before purchase, to ensure it meets their individual needs.