Why You Need To Have a Wheelchair Footrest

You may think that having a wheelchair footrest is not that important as long as the seat is comfortable. But that is not the case because footrests for wheelchairs are necessary for bringing freedom in function and accessibility for the user when moving or sitting. Having a comfy wheelchair can even prevent pressure damage to the skin since the pressure is spread evenly throughout the seat cushion.

To date, approximately 650 million people, or around 10% of the planet’s population are affected by a disability. And each year, around 2 million individuals start using a wheelchair in the United States.

The wheelchair footrest you select may also have an impact on your active lifestyle and safety. Being self-reliant even if you have limited mobility due to lower back injuries or other disabilities can make all the difference. Therefore, consider the layout of the chair as well as your own personal transfer methods when making your choice.

What It Is

Despite being simple in design and aesthetics, footrests have a crucial role when it comes to functionality.

Along with a leg rest, the wheelchair footrest is one of the two most common types of foot support for wheelchairs. It is made up of a hanger that can attach to the wheelchair which you can unclip so you can swing your feet away from the footrest area if you need to stand up. There’s also a plate where you can rest your feet comfortably while seated.

The footrest of a wheelchair helps the user maintain proper posture while sitting. If the footplates are not properly positioned, it may strain the user’s hip bones, lower thighs, and back.

The area behind the knee as well as the user’s upper thighs will be subjected to unnecessary pressure when a footrest is too low. On the other hand, having the footplates too high can result in the hip bones being put under more strain.

Proper posture is equally as important, especially for long periods of time. If you sit improperly, you may get digestive issues, hip and thigh strain, and lower back pain and discomfort.

Why Footrests Are Important

Having adequate support for the feet is crucial to keep the wheelchair user as comfortable as possible. Therefore, you should avoid any sharp angle – especially an excessive one – between the upper leg and the torso.

There are several physical problems that can be attributed to abusively poor posture. Some of these issues include digestive problems, lower back pain, and excessive pressure on the lower thigh area or on the buttocks.

How the Footrest Encourages Proper Posture

Posture is defined as the position of a person when lying down, sitting, standing, or carrying out chores. It is commonly associated with many physical movements such as reaching up or down, pushing, lifting or bending.

So, how do you know if your posture is good? One thing you can check is if the position of your body doesn’t put any strain on your tendons, ligaments, back, and other related muscles. Regardless of your motion, you should be able to hold yourself in such a way that doesn’t put much pressure on these body parts.

A person’s spine typically has natural curves that form an ‘S’ shape when viewed from the side. The thoracic spine has an outward (mild kyphotic) curve while the lumbar and cervical spines have an inward (lordotic) curve.

Correct posture, as mentioned before, encourages the three natural curves of the spine. However, it can heavily rely on proper lower limb and pelvic alignment. Because without it, the spine must adapt and may lose its original form.

The following can influence your posture and can result in a good sitting position:

  • Place your feet flat on a stable surface
  • Flex the knees to create a 90-degree angle between the Tibia and Fibula
  • Distribute the weight evenly across both hips

Ensure Good Posture by Choosing the Best Footrest for Wheelchair

When selecting the product to purchase, make sure to consider all the factors listed above so you can improve energy transmission and efficiency. You can alter the placement of the wheelchair footrests to prevent the one using them from sliding down while maintaining proper posture. Other features may also have a similar effect, so ensure to check all these details to find the perfect match for your needs.