How to choose the right wheelchair

For a variety of reasons, some people are unable to move around on their own. Their only means of transportation is a wheelchair. But in order to avoid discomfort, it is important to choose a wheelchair model that is not only functional, but also easy to use.

Getting into the details

When selecting a wheelchair, you need to pay attention to its technical characteristics: size, weight, width and depth of the seat, height of the backrest, features of the footrests and armrests. The set of necessary functions of the chair depends on the disease and preferences of the patient.

Materials of the body

The frame of the wheelchair is made of steel or aluminum. These materials are strong and durable. Steel structures are reliable and resistant to mechanical damage. Their only disadvantage is a large weight (on average - 18-20 kg). In contrast, aluminum strollers are lighter and more maneuverable. Such products will be suitable for people who move often and a lot.


In order for a person not to experience discomfort when boarding and driving a wheelchair, it is recommended to make preliminary measurements of the width of the seat, the length of the footrest, the height of the armrests and backrest. The wheelchair should not be cramped, but at the same time it should not be too loose.

Important! Between the side elements of the stroller and your feet should be a "margin" of 2-3 cm. In this "niche" should freely fit the hands - so their movements will not be restricted.

Another important parameter is the depth of the seat, because it determines the balance of a person's center of gravity. It is measured from buttocks (at back level) to the inner bend of the knee. It is necessary to subtract 5-7 cm from the received value. These measurements are taken to leave a small distance between the edge of the seat and the knee bend, so nothing pressed on the legs, preventing normal blood circulation. You should also consider the thickness of the cushion, which can significantly reduce the depth of the seat.

The height of the seat determines the distribution of pressure on the sciatic tuberosities. This parameter is defined as the sum of the shin height plus 5 cm. The resulting figure - the optimal parameter, which provides a comfortable position of a person in a wheelchair. At the same time you should not forget that too high a seat will interfere with the approach to the table.

The upholstery for wheelchairs is made of budget and practical fabrics, mostly polyester and nylon. Often, as an alternative, manufacturers use eco-leather, which is wear-resistant and not afraid of regular sanitation.

Footrests and armrests

Depending on the type of design and functionality, the footrests and armrests of wheelchairs are:

  • removable;
  • non-removable,
  • hinged.

It is more convenient when the armrests and footrests can be removed for independent transfers and transfers of the patient.

To avoid potential problems with posture and back in general, it is necessary to properly adjust the height of armrests. It is not difficult to measure it. To do this, determine the distance from the elbow to the seat and add 2.5 cm to the obtained value.

Also make sure that the footrests are at least 5 cm away from the floor surface. Otherwise the small wheels will cling to a person's feet, bringing him a tangible discomfort.


The most comfortable height of the backrest is measured by subtracting 10 cm from the distance between the seat and the armpit. In order to avoid errors in the calculations, it is recommended to do them together with your doctor.

The backrest of the wheelchair may be standard and equipped with cervical restraints with side restraints. There are also models with long backrests with an adjustable angle of recline that can easily be adjusted to a lying position.


These elements of the wheelchair are removable, which is very convenient if you need to quickly pass through a narrow doorway. We remind you that only the large wheels can be removed, the small ones remain. After overcoming a difficult area, all elements are installed back in place.

When choosing a wheelchair it is important to consider whether the patient or his caregiver will be able to cope with its operation (especially the size and weight).

Additional accessories

The wheelchair seat can be equipped with a removable anti-bedsore cushion. If necessary (as recommended by your doctor) it is easy to select and order separately.

If you have a medical condition or other individual disability, you should pay attention to the models of wheelchairs, the seats and backrests of which are equipped with elastic fixation straps with Velcro. These devices not only increase the safety level of the patient, but also make it more comfortable to move around the city.

Final recommendations

Choosing a wheelchair is a responsible mission, on which the comfort and convenience of a person deprived of the ability to move independently depend. In order to choose a model that fully meets the individual needs of the patient, we recommend using the help of a professional consultant or doctor.