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Wheelchairs: Information & Reviews

  • Synopsis: Information on wheelchairs including purchase reviews and finding a suitable wheelchair to suit a disabled persons individual needs.

Definition: Defining the Meaning of Wheelchair

A wheelchair is a chair fitted with wheels. The device comes in variations allowing either manual propulsion by the seated occupant turning the rear wheels by hand, or electric propulsion by motors. There are often handles behind the seat to allow for different individuals to push. Wheelchairs are used by people for whom walking is difficult or impossible due to illness, injury, or disability. People who have difficulty sitting and walking often make use of a wheelbench. A basic manual wheelchair incorporates a seat, foot rests and four wheels: two, caster wheels at the front and two large wheels at the back. The two larger wheels in the back usually have hand-rims; two metal or plastic circles approximately 3/4" thick.

Main Document

A wheelchair is a wheeled mobility device in which the user sits. The device is propelled either manually (by turning the wheels by the hand) or via various automated systems. Wheelchairs are used by people for whom walking is difficult or impossible due to illness (physiological or physical), injury, or disability.

A wheelchair assists people to become more mobile and independent. There are many different types of wheelchairs that are used for various reasons. It is important to understand the limitations and safe operation of whatever wheelchair you choose.

The chair seat size (width and depth), seat-to-floor height, footrests/leg rests, front caster outriggers, adjustable backrests, controls, and many other features can be customized on, or added to, many basic models, while some users, often those with specialized needs, may have wheelchairs custom-built.

Manual Wheelchairs

A manual wheelchair is one that is propelled by the user. It is usually done by pushing on round bars that surround the wheels. This wheelchair also has handles on the back so it can be pushed by another person. A manual wheelchair is easy to maintain, is lightweight, and is the least expensive to buy.

Electric Wheelchairs

Electric wheelchairs are propelled by a motor and battery. They are very sophisticated. They are operated with a joy stick or push buttons. Some electric wheelchairs use advanced technology and can climb up stairs, move across gravel and even raise up to give access to high shelves. Electric wheelchairs need strong frames to support the motor and battery so they are very heavy and also quite expensive. The average cost of an electric wheelchair is $7000 but can fall anywhere from $3000 to $30,000.

Underwater wheelchair with girl divingSports Wheelchairs

As the name suggests, sports wheelchairs are designed for playing sports. They are ultra lightweight yet very stable. They are often used for tennis, wheelchair basketball, and marathons

Powerchair Football and Power Soccer Wheelchairs

A new sport has been developed for powerchair users called powerchair football or power soccer. It is the only competitive team sport for powerchair users.

Standing Wheelchairs

A standing wheelchair is one that supports the user in a standing position. They can be used as both a wheelchair and a standing frame, allowing the user to sit or stand in the wheelchair. They will move from sitting to standing with a hydraulic pump or electric-powered assist.

Pediatric wheelchairs are both in manual and electric form. They are just smaller scale down versions of the larger adult wheelchairs. These are usually adjustable so they can grow with the child and expand to accommodate increased weight and bulk as the child grows.

Beach wheelchairs or All Terrain Wheelchairs

Allow users to enter the water and provide a better mobility in the sand. There are lots of different models available. In many countries in Europe where the Accessible Tourism is well set, many beaches are wheelchair accessible and provide this kind of wheelchairs to clients free of charge.

Three-wheeled wheelchairs

3 wheeled wheelchairs are not a new concept and have frequently been used in the design of racing wheelchairs, tennis wheelchairs, and other sports as well as everyday all purpose wheelchairs. These wheelchairs are more stable and maneuverable over rough terrain than a four-wheel wheelchair.

Recent technological advances are slowly improving wheelchair and EPW technology. Some wheelchairs, such as the iBOT, incorporate gyroscopic technology and other advances, enabling the chair to balance and run on only two of its four wheels on some surfaces, thus raising the user to a height comparable to a standing person. They can also incorporate stair-climbing and four-wheel-drive feature motorized assists for hand-powered chairs are becoming more available and advanced.

Dog Wheelchairs

Yes, there is such a thing as wheelchairs for dogs. They were created to help handicapped and injured dogs regain their mobility. Many times, the problem is hip displacement or a spinal cord injury that leaves the dog with no control over his back legs. The dog wheelchair fits onto the back legs and rolls across the floor and the dog moves forward with his front legs. This helps the dog regain mobility and go on to lead a happy and healthy life.

Anytime you are in the market for a wheelchair, no matter what type you are looking for, it is a good idea to do some comparison shopping.

Different wheelchairs come with different capabilities and different prices as well. You will want to make sure you get a good deal for your money and end up with the best wheelchair for the person who will be using it.

You can buy wheelchairs today in festive colors and seat prints. Plus you can further customize them after purchase to make the wheelchair uniquely the user's own.

See our list of Famous People that use Wheelchairs

Quick Facts: Wheelchair

The earliest records of wheeled furniture was an inscription found on a stone slate in China and a child's bed depicted in a frieze on a Greek vase, both dating back to the 5th century BCE. The first records of wheeled seats being used for transporting the disabled date to three centuries later in China; the Chinese used their invented wheelbarrow to move people as well as heavy objects. A distinction between the two functions was not made for another several hundred years, around 525 CE, when images of wheeled chairs made specifically to carry people begin to occur in Chinese art.

Statistics: U.S. Wheelchair User

The US census estimates that in 2002 in the USA there were 2.7 million wheelchair users 15 years and older and 121,000 wheelchair users under 15 years of age (based on their estimate of 0.2% of 60.6 million children under 15 years of age.). This is a total of over 2.8 million U.S. wheelchair users. From a population of 300 million this is just under 1%.

Latest Wheelchairs Publications

Full List of Wheelchairs Documents (7 Items)




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