Woman in a new wheelchair

Wheelchair 101: Choosing the Right Wheelchair

Living with disability, whether temporary or permanent, not only affects a person’s physical state but also their emotional well-being. Experiencing limited movement may prevent someone from completing tasks at the same pace they were used to and make them feel less useful or solated. Thanks to the invention of wheelchairs, people with mobility issues or disabilities may be able to regain independence and function.

A wheelchair is a type of assistive device that can be used by people who have difficulty walking or moving from one place to another. Aside from increasing a person’s mobility, wheelchairs enable users to gain access to education and employment, opportunities that they may miss when confined at home. 1800wheelchair, a one-stop shop for mobility equipment and medical supplies, agrees that assistive technology plays a major role in uplifting a person’s self-esteem.

Wheelchairs come in a lot of varieties so it’s important to know which one will suit your unique needs. Here are some wheelchair types that are available on the market.

Manual Wheelchairs

A manual wheelchair requires pushing on the wheels’ rim for it to move forward so it is ideal for people who have good upper body strength or have control of their upper limbs. It is also designed with handlebars so it can be pushed by another person from the back. Manual wheelchairs are lightweight and portable so they can be easily transported and used during travel or commute.

Electric Wheelchairs

Man on a electric wheelchair crossing the streetAn electric wheelchair is powered either by a motor or battery. Its sophisticated control system may include push buttons or a joystick, making it easier for users to maneuver it especially in rugged areas or tight spaces. Electric wheelchairs are usually built with more comfortable seating and they need a strong frame to support the battery or motor system, which makes them heavier than standard wheelchairs. A mobility scooter, which is a variation of an electric wheelchair, is designed like a motor scooter and usually comes with only two or three wheels.

Standing/Stand-Up Wheelchairs

Standing wheelchairs are designed to support the body in a standing position so users can perform a wider range of movement, especially in a raised or large area. Individuals can easily reach out without having to over-extend their limbs or they can talk at eye-level with other people. Standing wheelchairs can be adjusted to different angles, which helps ease off muscle pressure and improve blood circulation.

Sports Wheelchairs

Sports wheelchairs are built with excellent driving performance, control and speed, which make them suitable for individuals who love to play sports, whether as a hobby or for competitive use. There are models that are specifically constructed for different sports such as basketball, soccer, fencing, rugby or hockey.

Pediatric Wheelchairs

Pediatric wheelchairs are specifically outfitted for children. They come in lightweight and colorful frames to make them more attractive and easier to use for kids. Pediatric wheelchairs are designed with adjustable seats, elevating leg rests and other movable parts to accommodate a growing child.

With wheelchair manufacturers offering a multitude of options, picking the right wheelchair for your specific needs may become confusing and difficult. You should choose based on comfort, versatility, mobility and durability. Consulting a medical professional will also help you make this critical decision.