Wheelchairs are used by individuals with limited mobility due to injury or disability. Wheelchairs also assist people with illnesses. These illnesses can be mental or physical.
Technology has allowed for many variations of the wheelchair to accommodate different uses. The standard wheelchair is made up of the seat and back, two small front wheels, two large wheels (one on each side). A foot rest is also required.
More recently modernization has allowed for more variations and precise custom features. For example, the seat-to-floor height can be adjusted to your specifications and a padded back rest, safety belts, reclining features, drink holders, and oxygen tanks are among the many features that can be added.
If you intend to use a wheelchair for special purposes, one can be designed to fit your needs. Sport wheelchairs allow the user to participate in an array of competitive activities. Wheelchairs can be used for basketball, tennis, fencing and racing. In fact, wheelchair participants are regularly seen in marathons in major cities around the world. There are even beach wheelchairs which allow users to enter the water and can be used in the sand. Many beaches in Europe are wheelchair accessible and even provide this kind of wheelchair to patrons without charge.
The three types of manual wheelchairs are self-propelled, attendant propelled, and wheel-based. Self-propelled wheelchairs are propelled by the occupant who moves the chair by pushing on hand rims made of circular tubing attached to the outside of the large rear wheels. After some practice it is possible to use this chair to climb and to descend curbs and even navigate over small obstacles.
Attendant-propelled wheelchairs are pushed by the attendant using handles (on these models it is possible to have smaller, rimless wheels). Designed to fit in narrow spaces, this style of chair is often used to transfer passengers in airports. Once the transfer is complete, the chair can then be folded up and placed in a narrow space on a plane.
Some wheelchairs are wheel-based. They feature a specially molded seeding system to assist the user with a more complicated posture. In order to get the best fit the user must have a cast taken of their best seated position. Then the shape is carved from memory foam or by forming a plastic match around the cast. The seat will be covered and framed before being attached to the wheelbase.
For people who have difficulty using a manual chair an electric wheelchair can be the appropriate solution. Electric powered wheelchairs are usually powered by rechargeable batteries which operate motors to move the wheels. The user controls the wheelchair with a mechanism similar to a joystick. Many electric powered wheelchairs carry an onboard charger. This charger can be plugged into a standard outlet for convenient use.