Knowing the parts and features of a wheelchair is important when you are a new wheelchair buyer or when you are replacing a wheelchair part. For a first time wheelchair buyer, it may seem confusing with its complex design. However, once you are familiar with the anatomy of a wheelchair, it is not as intimidating as it seems. Do you know all the parts of a wheelchair and its features? Test yourself by using the guide below.
Wheelchair Parts and Features
Armrest - The armrests are secured to the frame in two places and are designed to be very sturdy. There are two types of armrests: Full length and Desk length.
Full Length - Most common length. The length extends the full distance from the back of the seat frame to the front of the seat frame. It gives the user a larger area for gripping to support themselves during transfers.
Desk Length - Long enough to support the users elbows when seated and are about 4" shorter in length than full length arms. It allows user to get closer to a desk or table. The armrest does not bump into the desk as soon as full length arms would.
Wheel - The rear wheels are used for manual propulsion of the wheelchair. There are two types of wheel: Mag wheel and Spoke wheel.
Spoke Wheel - Spoke wheel has a similar appearance as bicycle wheels. They are lightweight.
Brake - The brakes are located on the large rear wheels and they are typically located on the front of the wheel next to the bottom of the seat. It allows the wheels to be locked in place to prevent the wheelchair from moving.
Caster Wheel - They are located in front of the rear wheels and are much smaller in size. They are typically 8 inches in diameter.
Fork - The component that connects the caster to the frame. There are two kinds of fork: Standard fork and Frog leg forks
Standard Fork - Comes as a standard feature for most manual wheelchairs
Frog Leg Fork - Designed to eliminate road shock to provide for a smoother ride
Heel Loop - The loops are attached to the back surface of the footrest. It provides support to the heel and keeps the foot positioned on the center of the foot rest.
Footplate - They can move up and down to provide support surface where the user's foot is resting on top of. It allows easy transfers.
Footrest - The footrests can be adjusted to accommodate different lengths. There are two kinds of footrest: Swing-Away Footrest and Fixed Footrest
Swing-Away Footrest - It can be rotated out of the way during transfers without having to remove from the wheelchair.
Fixed Footrest - It is permanently attached to the wheelchair and it cannot be rotated.
Seat - The seat is where the user sits down. To make seating more comfortable, add an optional seat cushion.
Frame - The frame is the rigid and tubular structure that supports the seat and the wheels.
Backseat - The fixed area where the user's back is rest on.