Around 650 million people, or about 10% of the world’s population, live with a disability. In the United States alone, there are 2 million people who become new wheelchair users every year, and about 3.6 million of those above 15 years old use a wheelchair.
Whether you’re using a wheelchair due to limited mobility, lower back injuries, or other reasons, using wheelchairs that are rigid will enable you to continue having an active lifestyle with minimal accessibility restrictions.
If you have been looking for something lightweight and affordable, then a rigid wheelchair may be suitable for you. This type of physical therapy device is one of the more popular types of wheelchairs. One of the reasons is that it makes it easier for users to maneuver and navigate.
What Are Rigid Wheelchairs?
These devices are often utilized by people with physical disabilities. They are among the first devices people typically use after a spinal cord injury or other spinal-related condition. That said, they remain a mainstay for many wheelchair users.
The design of wheelchairs that are rigid is what makes them so valuable. These devices are typically made from metal or carbon fiber and have a sturdy frame that allows the user to:
- Sit upright while moving around
- Maneuver with excellent stability
- Eliminate worries with less risk of tipping over
- Transfer and propel themselves without much effort
The frame also makes it easier for users to move and perform certain tasks. They come with a variety of seating options, including seats with armrests, without armrests, reclining capabilities, as well as height adjustment options.
The design of wheelchairs that are rigid makes it easier for users to perform specific mobility tasks and activities. For example, it’s easier to transfer from the wheelchair to a bed as users can propel themselves with minimal effort.
These devices can help people with poor upper body strength or impaired dexterity transfer from one place to another and eat, dress, bathe, groom, and complete other necessary daily tasks. They can also help users who have balance issues and difficulty moving around and from one position to another.
Rigid wheelchairs are designed for indoor and outdoor use, and most models are equipped with brakes, which are located on the wheels. Built to support users’ bodies without giving in to their weight or pressure, they provide users with a stable support base. They are more durable than folding wheelchairs, making them better suited for carrying anywhere.
Choosing the Right Rigid Wheelchair
The primary factors to consider when choosing a wheelchair include the following:
- Type of frame material: Rigid wheelchairs are often made with materials such as carbon fiber, aluminum, and titanium. The material used can determine the wheelchair’s durability, weight, strength, rigidity, and price.
- Type of seating: Some wheelchairs come with a standard seat, while others have a seat that can be adjusted for height or feature a contoured seat. Users should consider the position that will be most comfortable and determine if the eyed wheelchair can provide that comfort level. The type of seat should match the user’s needs, body size, and weight.
- Seat height: The seat should be high enough to allow the user to sit comfortably and low enough to allow the user to transfer onto and off of it without having to bend over or toppling over.
- Seat width: If the wheelchair has a rigid frame, the seat should be wide enough to support both the user’s hips and thighs.
- Hand controls: These devices allow users to control, propel, and maneuver the wheelchair with hand and arm movements. They’re accommodating for people who have limited mobility, upper body dexterity, and hand strength.
- Tracking ability: Tracking systems allow the user to move straight and avoid obstacles.
- Wheels: They should be durable and able to handle the type of terrain you will use them for.
- Accessories: Many wheelchairs that are rigid come with accessories, such as storage compartments, cup holders, footplates, padded seats, and armrests.
Go Ahead and Enjoy an Active Lifestyle
Choosing a wheelchair is as easy as knowing your body type, size, weight, and level of injury. However, you must also consider how and where you will be using it so you can select the best one suitable for you and your lifestyle. If you use a rigid wheelchair, you can move around more easily – whether at the home, workplace, or outdoors.