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Wheelchairs are valuable devices for people who are disabled or have mobility problems. Choosing the correct wheelchair can be tricky since you have to think about the terrain where you will be using it, your body weight and specific disability. For these reasons, customized wheelchairs are increasingly popular today.
So you have chosen the wheelchair that suits your needs the best, now you can begin looking at accessories like cushions. These also need some careful thought. Not only does it need to be comfortable, it also has to perform medical functions.
The cushion has to support the spine properly, and a simple guideline is to choose one a maximum of 3 fingers thick. There are 4 main kinds of wheelchair cushions - foam, gel, air flotation and urethane honeycomb.
Foam Wheelchair Cushions
Foam is popular because it is comfortable and provides the necessary support. The disadvantage of foam cushions for wheelchairs is that they get out of shape with time and wear out relatively quickly. Because of this, they are not recommended for heavy use long term.
Gel Wheelchair Cushions
These are made by adding a gel pouch on top of a base of foam. The cushion is fairly heavy and will add weight to the wheelchair. Sometimes they can break and result in a leak. The main use of gel cushions is to give support to muscles that have become atrophied.
Air Flotation Wheelchair Cushions
Air is the only support in these kinds of cushions. They aren't as stable as other cushions and are not recommended for users who tend to move around a lot in their chair. Leaking is also a possibility in these cushions.
Urethane Honeycomb Wheelchair Cushions
This kind of cushion distributes the weight of the body really well and they are also comfortable. It has increased airflow because of its unique beehive pattern. It is also great at absorbing shocks and is very lightweight. There is no surprise that these wheelchair cushions are the most popular ones on the market today.
The wheelchair cushion you ultimate choose will depend on your own needs. Choose one that is at a minimum comfortable and meets your medical requirements. Consult with your doctor if you are unsure which cushion to choose. Your local medical supply store staff have a wealth of knowledge that can help you make your final decision.
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