The very first thing you need to do to know how to choose the right size wheelchair is to measure the width of the individual who is going to use the chair. This is done in order to determine the seat width. Some wheelchairs are narrow by design; usually only 16 inches wide. To guarantee a modicum of movement and comfort, you should add about one or two inches, and account for bulky clothing that might be worn during the wintertime. Up next, measure the widest part of the person’s chest from under one armpit directly to the other, to establish the width of the seat back.
The following step is to measure from the back of the heel to the back of the knee to assess the length of the leg rest extension; it also has a bearing on the seat height. As before, add at least a couple of inches to establish the seat height. The footrest requires at least that much clearance room, unless the chair is going to be propelled by foot. The individual should be sitting down when this measurement is being taken, and their arms should be at a 90˚ angle with the shoulders relaxed.
From there you’re going to go ahead and measure from the back of the hips to the back of the knee, and subtract one or two inches to establish an ideal seat depth. Once that has been taken care of, proceed to measuring from the tip of the elbow to the top of the hips. The person has to be in the same position described at the end of the preceding paragraph. This measurement will establish the height of the armrest in as it relates to the seat. Finally, measure from the hips to the shoulders to establish the height of the seat back.
Seat width and depth, back height, and seat to floor height are all essential on how choose the right size wheelchair. Seat to floor height is key if the user is going to propel the chair with their own feet. This criterion may be adjusted down about 2 inches by acquiring a dual axle chair. The standard seat to floor height is 18 – 20 inches. A lower seat to floor height may be achieved by changing the rear wheels to 20 or 22 inches from their standard 24 inch, though of course that modification would greatly depend on the model.
Even with measurements on paper and the convenience of ordering online from websites that allow customers to configure your order, the actual user of the wheelchair should try several different models before deciding on one. Speaking of the user, their size –or rather their girth- should also be taken into account, by which we mean that if they are overweight, all the previous measurements should be made with a bariatric of heavy duty wheelchair in mind.
Related Read: Ultra Ride Cushions for your Wheelchair