Choosing A Manual Wheelchair

Wheelchairs can vastly improve your quality of life. Buying or hiring a wheelchair if you are disabled or have a health condition that affects your walking means you can continue to do the things you enjoy. Here, we explain the different types and give tips on adjusting your wheelchair.

Choosing the right wheelchair can enable you to socialise and go out with friends and family. Wheelchairs can initially be divided into two main categories: manual wheelchairs (propelled by the user’s own strength) and powered or electric wheelchairs.

You will need sufficient strength and movement in your arms to use a self-propelled wheelchair. If you aren’t able to manage this, you would be more suited to an attendant-propelled wheelchair, designed to be pushed from behind by another person. It’s worth noting that most self-propelled wheelchairs will also have push-handles for times when extra help may be needed.

Self-propelled wheelchairs have larger back wheels, each with an outer ‘pushrim’ that you turn to control and propel the chair. These wheels make for a bulkier chair, which may be less easy to pack into the boot of a car. For this reason, if you are choosing a self-propelled chair, look for one with quick-release wheels, now commonly available.

Attendant-propelled wheelchairs have smaller back wheels, so are often lighter and easier to transport. They are also easier to navigate and control for the person pushing, although they can prove trickier than larger-wheeled chairs to mount obstacles such as kerbs.


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