Arthritis and Mobility Aids: Understanding Wheelchair Options

You don’t have to be totally restricted by arthritis or not have the ability to walk to take advantage of what a wheelchair offers. There are many different kinds and styles of wheelchairs on the market that have specific features for those suffering from arthritis.

The kind of wheelchair that you would choose is dependent on the joints affected and how severe the arthritis is.

When does an arthritis sufferer need a wheelchair?

If your arthritis is keeping you from enjoying things you did before, a wheelchair might be a great option. A wheelchair doesn’t have to be a confinement device, it can allow you to do things that you can’t otherwise do with severe arthritis.

It is ok to use a wheelchair anytime you need to especially when the pain is really bad.

What is the best kind of wheelchair for arthritis suffers?

Wheelchairs fall into one of two categories. There is the manual wheelchair which is self-propelled and then there is the electric wheelchair which gets its propulsion from electric motors. The two main classes have different sizes and options available, even down to the choice of tires. A manual chair can help to keep your upper body strong if you still have strength and good range of motion in your legs and hips.

If you don’t have the strength or range of motion to safely operate a manual wheelchair, an electric powered wheelchair is a better option for maintaining your independence. Rechargeable batteries are used to drive electric wheelchairs. Some models also have power seats and adjusters for footrests.

When to choose a manual or power wheelchair?

Maybe you like using a power wheelchair in public, but a manual wheelchair will encourage you to use your affected joints while at home. The resulting exercises can be beneficial once you can push the chair with your arms. Although you might not have the arm strength or not be able to stand properly, you can probably still use your lower legs and feet to manoeuver the wheelchair in your home.

What are some useful wheelchair accessories for arthritis sufferers?

A basket to the side or in front of you when seated is helpful for carrying items at home or when out shopping. The bag/basket should be in a position where you don’t have to overreach or stand up to gain access.

If you have an arthritic hip or back, a custom cushion might be helpful. If you can stand or walk for short distances, a walking cane holder would be very useful if you need to stand.

Don’t think of having to use a wheelchair as a defeat. Look at it as using a device to help you keep active. You might decide to use a wheelchair only when you need it if you are still ambulatory. Irrespective of how often you use your wheelchair, consult with your doctor to make sure you get the correct size for you.

 

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