Manual Wheelchair Legrest Basics
Once you have chosen the type of wheelchair that you need, you need to decide what type of legrests will best meet the needs of the person using the wheelchair. There are many things to consider when choosing legrests.
- Are footrests or legrests needed?
- Swingaway or elevating legrests?
- What about articulating legrests?
Are footrests or legrests needed?
Some wheelchair users self-propel their wheelchair with their feet making footrests or legrests unnecessary. A handful of wheelchairs sold at Spinlife offer the option of “None” when choosing the options on the wheelchair. At Spinlife we recommend purchasing the legrests even if you are not going to use them. Purchasing them with the wheelchair is much less expensive than purchasing them later if you do end up needing them or want to use the wheelchair for another purpose or user.
Should I choose swingaway or elevating legrests?
Swingaway legrests are the standard choice on most of the basic and lightweight wheelchairs sold on Spinlife. These provide a footrest, can be adjusted in length and swingaway to allow for easy transfers in and out of the wheelchair. They can also be removed for easier transport and transfers.
Elevating legrests offer the option of elevating one of both legs independently. They can also be used in the standard legrest position when elevation is not needed. These are needed if there is an injury, swelling or additional positioning needs. Elevating legrests tend to be heavier than standard legrests so be sure to consider that when choosing them.
What about articulating legrests?
Articulating legrests solve the issue of the distance to the footplate when the elevation is changed by changing the distance to the footplate as the position of the legrest changes. As the legrest is elevated the footplate distance increases and when lowered the footplate distance is shortened. This provides more comfortable positioning if the user is going to be switching between a standard and elevated position.