Types of Wheelchairs

  • July 19,2017.

Types of Wheelchairs - What Are They and What Types?

A wheelchair is a mobility equipment with four wheels on which the user sits. The wheelchair could be propelled by the user through manual or auto electric operating ways. It brings much convenience in life for the people who is difficult or unable to walk, due to the illness, injury or disability. As the earliest record of the wheelchair use, it could go back to England dating from the 1670s.

A basic simple standard manual wheelchair comprises of the following items:

  • The whole frame,
  • Seat and back,
  • Two small fronts wheels and two large wheels, one on each side,
  • Footrest.

Wheelchairs are often combined with various basic types configuration during the manufacturing. Currently, there are many types of wheelchairs, which are highly customized according to the individual user's request. Most of the configuration could be customized or added, like legrest type, the size of seat and back, the front and real wheels material, and armret features etc.

Various accessories are optional in the market, such as adjustable backrests, anti-tip bars or wheels, safety belts, support for limbs, mounts or carrying devices for crutches, walkers or oxygen tanks, clothing protectors and so on.

Many unusual wheels, like the Omni wheels and the meconium wheel, also keep coming out as the market developing. It allows more directional movement options while adding the comfort, so technology is continuing to move forward.

Manual wheelchairs

Manual wheelchairs are the type that requires people to move them, it is usually done by pushing on hand rim that surrounds the wheels. Most manual wheelchairs are with handle on back, which could be pushed by assist or nursing person. A manual wheelchair is lightweight, easy to maintain, and with cheaper price to buy.

There are three different kinds of manual wheelchairs namely of self-propelled, attendant-propelled, and wheelbase. Most manual wheelchairs can be folded for storage into a vehicle.

Electric Powered Wheelchairs

Three general styles of electric powered chairs are the center, rear, front wheel driven. Each style has particular handling characteristics.

Electric wheelchairs can be for the indoor and outdoor use and are generally given for people who can’t move their own wheelchair.The user, if with full function of arms or upper torso, usually will choose the manual wheelchair model, or they have to afford the payment because the insurance not covered.

Other wheelchair variants

A standing wheelchair can support the user in a standing position. Usually the users could change the situation into standing or sitting just through the hydraulic or electirc assist device.

A mobility scooter is a motorized assist device quite the same as an electric power wheelchair but with a bar instead of a joystick. Mobility scooters also have the lightweight folding ones, suit for travel use.

Sport wheelchairs

Handicapped athletes use streamlined sports wheelchairs for disabled sports that require speed and agility and cannot use the standard wheelchair, such as basketball, tennis, rugby and racing. Each wheelchair sport tends to use customized wheelchairs that won’t be the same between sports. They are usually non-collapsible to increase its solidity, with a pronounced angle for the wheels which helps its turning and made of special composite, lightweight materials. Sports wheelchairs are not generally for everyday, and are often a 'second-use' chair specifically for sports use.