Help DeskUsersFirst Mobility MapWheelchair Seating and Mobility BasicsBasic Wheelchair Information

8.3. Basic Wheelchair Information

Basic Wheelchair Information

Click on the file below to view basic information about wheelchairs.


The following basic information will be covered in the slideshow below:

  • Seat width and depth
    • If the chair is too big or too small it will be difficult to use and uncomfortable.
  • Pelvic (hip) position and support
    • If your hips are not positioned well, it might be hard to use your arms and it could make you tired. Basically, your hips are the base of your support when you are sitting, it is important to know if they are straight or if one side is higher than the other.
  • Cushion
    • A VERY important part of the wheelchair! You need to feel stable and have a cushion that will decrease the possibility of a pressure sore. Ideally, the clinic will pressure map you sitting on the cushion.
  • Leg support
    • Footrest angle, leg rest length, foot support (strap?) – it is important your feet are aligned well so you have as much support to sit up as well as possible. You can what feels most supportive.
  • Appropriate trunk support
    • The back support of the wheelchair will help you stay upright and increase your endurance. Just like a good seat in a car, if it is comfortable and you are able to move as freely as possible and have the support you need, you can drive longer and be more alert.
  • Back support
    • You might want a low back or a high back. A low back will give you more room to move your arms, but has less back support. A high back will provide more support, but might limit your arm movement.
  • Chest support
    • Lateral supports (supports the side of your chest) or chest strap (a strap on your chest if you are worried you will fall forward). These features help you keep your balance when leaning forward, or to the side.
  • Headrest
    • You might want a head support if you feel it gives you the necessary support while driving your chair or if your wheelchair seat is able to tilt back.


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