Wheelchair Dimensions

When considering a new wheelchair, be sure the wheelchair dimensions are appropriate to maximize your comfort and functionality. The dimensions of the chair frame, wheels, seat width and angle, foot rests, arm rests, caster axle height, and control positioning are key factors to ensure a proper fit.

Depending on how the chair is designed to be used and how well it is sized to the user, the amount of adjustment ability may also be an important purchase consideration.F or example, eye level needs may vary depending on the many places the chair will be used - such as at a work desk, classroom lecture hall or high restaurant table - and the height of the seat may need to be easily changed.

Seat height is measured in the front and rear from the floor. In the front, measure from the heel to the inside of the knee, then add two inches.

Subtract the thickness of the seat cushion (with someone sitting in it) to obtain the minimum number for the front seat height. If the user wants to sit up higher or requires more ground clearance, add to the number.

The rear seat height will be at least the same as the front dimension. It is generally a lesser number, though. Be aware that too much angle on the seat will make it difficult to get in and out of the chair.

Seat width is measured across the hips, allowing space for clothing such as bulky winter coats.

A smaller seat width means a more narrow the chair, which may be easier for access in hallways, etc., but the user should be comfortable and not squeezed into the chair. The user should be able to shift her weight.

Seat depth is measured from the posterior as it connects to the chair to an area just behind the knee.

Generally, the seat depth number is about one inch less than this measurement. The upper thigh should have as much contact with the seat as possible for stability.

You may wish to speak to your physician or therapist prior to any purchase in order to ensure that you buy a chair with the proper wheelchair dimensions.

Chairs come in many sizes, lengths, heights and types and your health care provider should be able to direct you toward the wheelchair that will be suit your needs.

Related Information

Wheelchair Etiquette
Accessible Home Design
More on Wheelchair Dimensions and Sizing
Mobility Resources


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Published by Jules Sowder



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