This reader wonders how to improve the comfort of your ultralight? Let’s ask Mark.
I have an ultralight wheelchair that I love. It fits perfectly and it meets all of my needs. My only wish is that it could be a little more comfortable. When I say comfortable, I don’t mean “medically,” but just from a normal comfort viewpoint. How do you improve the comfort of your ultralight?
Thanks in advance.
Indeed, when it comes to using an ultralight wheelchair, as you note, there really are two aspects to “comfort.” One is medical comfort, such as a pressure management cushion that prevents pressure sores, and the other is everyday comfort, such as aspects like posture and shock absorption.
In the realm of everyday comfort, there are two primary goals: one is to create a seated environment where you are just that, comfortable. Secondly, the goal with everyday comfort is to reduce fatigue on the body. Both of these obviously make using your ultralight wheelchair far more “comfortable,” and thereby functional.
Let’s look at three ways that you can optimize everyday comfort:
Comfort In Your Cushion
While seat cushions have medical benefits, such as pressure management, they also play a vital role in everyday comfort. A thicker, softer cushion provides more shock absorption from lumps and bumps as you propel than a thinner, harder cushion. Additionally, a cushion can provide a contoured surface that helps with positioning and balance, reducing fatigue. In this way, looking at a seat cushion not just from a medical perspective but also from an everyday comfort perspective can help improve the comfort of your ultralight wheelchair.
Just like with seat cushions, backrests not only provide medical benefits, but also can help with everyday comfort. The right backrest can help with shock absorption and lateral stability, dramatically reducing your need for postural compensation. In particular, moving from a simple sling upholstery back to a rigid, formed backrest can make a tremendous difference toward overall comfort.
Of course, your caster wheels and propulsion wheels can have a big impact on increasing comfort. A softer rolling caster and rear wheel propulsion tires can add a great deal of shock absorption, especially when it comes to everyday encounters, such as sidewalk cracks and other rough surfaces. Caster wheels that help with this are commonly called “soft roll,” and prove much more forgiving then traditional, harder casters. Similarly, going from an ultra-high-pressure propulsion tire to a lower PSI tire, with a wider tread can do an amazing job absorbing everyday lumps and bumps.
Putting the Comfort in Comfort
When it comes to ultralight wheelchair comfort, it’s often the finer points that make all the difference. While medical comfort is a given, so must be everyday comfort. Take a look at your seat cushion, backrest, casters, and propulsion wheels and see how they might better serve your everyday comfort beyond the medical. May you find more comfort…well…your comfort!