Manual wheelchair users know the difficulty level and effort required to propel themselves forward or backward. In fact, only about 25% of the push-rim wheel action contributes to the movement of the wheelchair. This causes a repetitive strain on the shoulders, waist, and back and affects your posture. Here is where ergonomic wheelchair design is beneficial. The term “ergonomic” is defined as anything designed to offer efficiency or comfort in a daily routine or working environment.
Ergonomic wheelchairs are the new norm for people with mobility needs and offer several advantages over manual wheelchairs. This article will discuss the benefits of an ergonomic wheelchair and how it promotes good posture and overall health.
Ergonomic wheelchairs are completely customizable and adjustable and cater to a user’s specific needs. How? The material and frame are different and lightweight from manual wheelchairs and contours to the user’s body. Thus, instead of fitting the person to the wheelchair, ergonomic design enables you to fit the wheelchair to the person.
An ergonomic wheelchair offers a superior seating surface where pressure is evenly distributed in the legs and rear, preventing forward slippage.
An ergonomic wheelchair will enable good posture with head, spinal and trunk support and pelvic alignment. The lightweight and durable material and frame support your spine’s natural curve and fit according to your body.
Nowadays, ergonomic wheelchairs come with back and lumbar support adjustments to ensure maximum pelvic stability, distributed pressure, and upright posture. This helps support upper body functions and makes propulsion easy and smooth.
Ergonomic wheelchairs are designed to improve upper body functions and give users better wheel access. Instead of reaching the shorter rims in manual chairs, the huge rear wheels in ergonomic wheelchairs offer easier access and smoother propulsion. It also stabilizes and improves the pelvic position to increase push efficiency.
A seat slope is defined as the difference between a front and rear seat to the floor height. Ideally, you want a wheelchair with a lower rear seat-to-floor ratio than the front seat-to-floor height ratio. Why? Because a person with mobility needs is unable to use their lower body muscles, like hips, thighs, and trunks, for balance. The wheelchair must provide pelvic stability, which is precisely what an ergonomic wheelchair offers.
The decreased seat slope also promotes greater push efficiency because the user’s elbows are at an angle of 100-120 degrees, and the impact of shoulder use is minimized when a push is initiated.
An ergonomic wheelchair offers multiple advanced features, such as a lightweight frame, an s-shaped seat frame, adjustable armrests and footrests, and maximum pressure distribution. These features can improve your overall health and promote good posture. For people with mobility needs, ergonomic wheelchairs offer a long-term, comfortable solution where they can enjoy their independence and confidently maintain an active lifestyle.