The stats say, there are around 2.8 million people who use wheelchairs for mobility. People use this assistive technology for different mobility impairments where some are related to orthopedics, such as lower limb injuries, and others are related to neuromuscular functions such as stroke.
Some people, especially those with weak lower extremities, are prescribed to use wheelchairs to keep their mobility functions going. Many require assistance from a caregiver, while many want to stay independent while using a wheelchair.
Whether it’s about someone pushing this assisting device for the patient or the patient self-propelling it, wheelchairs that are easiest to push remain the most sought-after ones. There’s a wide variety of wheelchairs out there, but what makes the wheelchair easiest to use?
In this article, we’ll look at all these factors to figure out which one’s the most convenient to push. Let’s start.
Use Independently or Need a Caregiver to Push It
Some people have weakness in the lower extremities, while their upper body strength is fine to self-propel a wheelchair. In contrast, some wheelchair users require a caregiver to push it for them constantly.
Patients’ who can self-propel can choose both a manual or powered wheelchair. Manual wheelchairs require upper body strength, so some people prefer having a caregiver or using a power chair not to use any strength. Power chairs are a more expensive option for users. They’re also prone to accidents due to the occupant’s limited control over them.
On the other hand, manual wheelchairs are a less expensive and more popular option for their improved control. One can either self-propel these chairs or have someone do it for them. But in both cases, they need a wheel that’s the easiest to push.
Factors to Determine How Easy It’s to Push
While looking for easy-to-push wheelchairs, you’ve to look for features that are convenient for the caregivers or the patients themselves. Let’s look at these determining factors that make a wheelchair easy to push.
Modern wheelchair frames are quite lighter than the traditional ones. Aluminum frames make the most flexible and lightweight wheelchairs. They’re easier to transport for the caregiver and the wheelchair user, especially while traveling. You can easily take these wheelchairs on trains, planes, or buses. Some think lighter means less durable, but it’s not the case with modern designs and frames.
Ergonomic Handle Bars
Ergonomic handles make a significant factor for the caregiver to push the chair conveniently. If the handles are ergonomically correct, they should perfectly fit the hands. So there will be reduced pain and fatigue while pushing the chair. Some even include additional push bar for easy transportation.
To ensure comfortability while pushing, choose wheelchair handles made from high-quality foam. They keep pressure on the skin at a minimum level while preventing sores and blisters from developing after excessive use.
If you often come across tight spaces while using the wheelchair, you probably need a transit wheelchair with smaller front wheels. They make navigation much easier. However, these wheelchairs are not meant to be self-propelled and require to be pushed by caregivers. They can be folded and provide the convenience of storage as well.
Larger Wheels with Ease of Self-propelling
If someone wants to push or maneuver the wheelchair independently, self-propelled options make the best choice for them. These wheelchairs come with bigger wheels, and the occupant can move them all by themselves.
They’re a more comfortable option, especially while riding on ramps or rough terrains. Some even include pushing handles on the back, which allows you to have the user a caregiver to push it around with ease.
Which Wheelchair is the Most Convenient to Push
We’ve checked out the determining factors; now we can help you figure out which is the more conveninet to use in terms of transport.
Generally, self-propel wheelchairs with bigger wheels are more convenient for users who want to move independently. However, we find the transit (aka transport) wheelchair the easiest to push and maneuver. Let’s look at some reasons for that:
Compact and Lightweight
The transport wheelchairs have narrow seat dimensions, such as a width of around 18 inches and a length of about 40 inches. They weigh approximately 30 lbs which are pretty lightweight for a wheelchair. One can easily lift or carry them while traveling since many folds up small enough to fit in any vehicle.
Smaller Front Wheels
Smaller front wheels provide great maneuverability to wheelchairs, especially in tighter spaces. They’re generally well supported with bigger rear wheels that ensure a smooth ride across different terrains. Some include grip tires on the rear wheel and front castors to add traction while using.
The sturdy aluminum frame with steel pipe makes the lightest yet sturdiest wheelchairs. They ensure that the wheelchair is easy to push but doesn’t feel floaty. These wheelchairs can carry weight up to 250 lbs.
Ergonomic Push Handle
Since it’s designed for caregivers, you’ll generally find an ergonomic push handle that makes it easy to move the wheelchair. They’re well padded and cause less fatigue even after prolonged use.
If you’re concerned about ease of pushing and transportability, the transit wheelchair makes the best choice. But they’re supposed to be used by a caregiver and are not suitable as a self-propelling option. If you want a self-propelled wheelchair, you need to find one with a larger size and bigger wheels. Because they ensure more stability, balance, and control over the ride by the occupant
However, transport wheelchairs are the easiest to transport. But to ensure the utmost convenience of use, you’ve to look for some more features. These could include antibacterial upholstery, detachable leg rests, padded armrests, and more.
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