If you have recently had a leg or knee surgery, or if you have a debilitating condition that makes it difficult to walk, then you likely have started to use a wheelchair to assist with your mobility. It can take some time to get used to the way your wheelchair functions. Even after several months of use, you may still have some difficulties with the way your mobility device works. If this is the case, then keep reading to learn about a few accessories you can add to your chair to increase mobility.
Thanks to the implementation of the Americans with Disability Act in 1990, buildings must be constructed with wheelchair ramps that are easy to maneuver. Ramps must be sloped so you can use your wheelchair to access buildings with ease, but you may still find it difficult to climb an incline with your mobility device if you are a new user. As you use a ramp, you must shift your wheelchair from side to side to as you navigate around turns. This requires you to release your hands from the hand rims attached to the wheels, and the wheelchair slides backwards.
Unfortunately, you cannot secure the brake on your wheelchair when navigating a ramp, because this will stop the wheels from shifting to the side. You can add a device that stops the chair from rolling backward as you navigate the ramp though. This device is called a grade aid and it can be attached directly to the wheelchair brake. Once you add the device, activate it when you use a ramp. Just make sure to deactivate the grade aid when you are done, or it will place stress on the wheels of your mobility device.
Frog Leg Shock Absorbers
If your wheelchair seems to ride rough or if you have difficulties turning smoothly as you move, then you may want to consider changing the casters and forks that secure the small front wheels to the base of your wheelchair. Typically, the front wheels on your chair are attached to rigid metal fork devices that transfer shock directly to the base of your wheelchair. The wheels are hard themselves as well and the combination of the rigid wheels and forks make it hard to maneuver and turn.
You can reduce mobility concerns by replacing your front wheel forks with frog leg shock absorbers. These devices feature more rounded fork designs that allow pivot pins and absorption blocks to provide a smoother ride. They also allow for better wheel movements. Once you install the new forks, also think about buying wheels or casters made out of soft rubber materials instead of plastic. This will help with shock absorption and so will replacing solid rear tires with pneumatic varieties.
If you find that you spend a great deal of time trying to avoid mud, dirt, and puddles so you do not track debris into your home, then your mobility may be hampered by your desire to keep your wheelchair clean. You also may take your time to rinse or otherwise clean the wheels of your chair before entering your home. Instead of cleaning or trying to avoid messes, consider purchasing wheelchair tire covers. Wheelchair tire covers are fabric products with elastic lined edges. The covers stretch over the back wheels of your wheelchair to prevent dirt and debris from transferring to carpets and other home flooring materials.
When you purchase tire covers, just make sure that you find a product with an interior lined with vinyl, nylon, or polyester. This will prevent water and mud from seeping through the cover and onto your floor.
If you have just started to use a wheelchair, then you are probably still trying to get used to the mobility device from sites like http://www.twincitystairlifts.com. If you find that you are having general mobility problems, then consider the three accessories outlined above.