It’s not the case of attaching four wheels to a common chair to turn it to a manual wheelchair. Wheelchair is indeed a sophisticated machine and currently, its various designs available to us, is the result of years of study and engineering.
People get confined to wheelchair because of spinal cord injury and other disabilities . If injury level is below cervical, then manual wheelchair can be the best option, as it makes your upper body stronger by providing useful exercise and is easy to be carried in car while traveling.
With various designs, size and adjustments available , one must have necessary knowledge about wheelchair in order to select a good one for himself according to body needs and measurements.
In this article we will talk about various types of manual wheelchair and its different parts :
Types according to body frame
Manual wheelchair’s frame can be either fixed or fold-able.
Those with fixed frame are easy to push and turn because of good design and have several options for adjustments according to body needs . These are little difficult to be carried in car because of lack of folding option.
Wheelchair with folding frames are easy to be carried in car. The folding rods help in absorbing shocks also, but its weight increases because of it, making pushing and turning, a bit difficult.
Types according to weight
Wheelchairs that are commonly available in markets of developing countries are heavy and made of iron or steel. They are cheaper but poorly designed.
READ ALSO : POWER WHEELCHAIR TYPES
Light weight wheelchairs made of aluminum or titanium, are expensive, but greatly designed. They provide options for adjustments according to body structure and disability. Weight of light weight wheelchair is below 30 lbs. Ultra lightweight wheelchair are very light and lesser than 30lbs.
Parts of manual wheelchair
Arm rest are in different designs. Some are fixed, some removable and some can be flipped back. For quadriplegics, armrest can be very helpful for providing support and staying safe while moving .
These are for resting feet and supporting lower legs. Comes in different styles. Some are fixed, other removable. It’s height can be adjusted according to body measurement.
Wheels and Tyres
Every manual wheelchair consists of two 3 to 6 inches caster wheels and two 24 inches large wheels. Tyres can either be pneumatic or solid. Pneumatic are lightweight, easy for pushing wheelchair and comfortable due to shock absorption capability. But can be punctured and need maintenance. Solid tyres are maintainance free, but are heavy and make chair uncomfortable to ride.
These are used for locking wheelchair to transfer safely. But some individuals don’t like them because of making transfer difficult.
Backrests have different options like sling backrest, adjustable tension backrest, rigid backrest and carbon fiber backrest. Height of backrest can be according to body comfort and level of injury. High backrest is required for quadriplegics for providing good support. To stay active and mobile low level paraplegics like low backrest.
Different varieties of push-rims are available with different friction coating and design. Special designs for quadriplegics are also available .
Cushion is very important part of wheelchair. It helps us keeping safe from pressure sores. For quadriplegics, who can’t release pressure properly, air cushion is a great option.