How Do Wheelchairs Help With Mobility?



A fantastic wheelchair will never hold you back from seeing friends and family. As they help to keep you mobile, you’ll still be able to get out and about, even if you are unable to walk. Modern wheelchairs and disability aids are safer than ever before. You can rely on that!

We have compiled, from separate sources, “How Do Wheelchairs Help With Mobility? ”. The reference links are at the bottom of the article.

People who have physical impairments that result in nonfunctional ambulation or functional ambulation that is limited by poor endurance could benefit from manual or powered wheelchairs mobility. Individuals with complete paralysis differ from those whose functional ambulation is limited by endurance, balance disorders, pain, and/or safety-related problems. Nonfunctional ambulation as a result of lower-extremity paralysis or severe weakness is obvious to the clinician. The clinician can easily justify alternative mobility being medically necessary when physical impairment has resulted in nonfunctional ambulation. Functional ambulation limited by endurance, pain, or safety requires more careful observation from the clinician and alternative mobility may be more difficult to justify. 

For example, individuals with postpolio syndrome or multiple sclerosis may walk into a clinic without an ambulatory aid or any apparent difficulty. Subjectively, they may report episodes when they have been stranded and unable to walk because of fatigue or a sudden relapse in their condition. A wide range of assistive technology exists to enhance mobility needs. The selection of specific technology depends on the individual’s physical abilities and lifestyle.

Wheelchair users are taught to manage or direct the management of all folding electric wheelchairs components, including the brakes, armrests, footrests, wheels, and seat cushions. They are taught how to fold or break down the chair so that it can be placed properly in a vehicle. They are taught wheelchair propulsion, first indoors over level surfaces and then outdoors over uneven terrain. 

Wheelchairs Skills

Physical and occupational therapists not only train persons with SCI in wheelchairs mobility but also help to select the proper seating systems to ensure proper sitting position. Proper body mechanics are taught to achieve efficient wheelchair propulsion patterns, including an ideal propulsive stroke and an ideal recovery stroke. An ideal propulsive stroke is one that occurs at a steady speed that maximizes the handrim “contact” and “push” angle (angle along the arc of the push rim) while keeping stroke frequency and forces to a minimum. 

Although self-selected wheelchair propulsion patterns are often not the most efficient ones, experienced wheelchair users often significantly improve propulsion biomechanics from early to late during extended propulsion. Individually selected wheelchair propulsion patterns are often influenced by poor wheelchairs sitting positions. Of several propulsion patterns that have been described, differing primarily in their recovery phase, a semicircular wheelchair propulsion pattern has been shown to be the most efficient and least stressful on the shoulders and nerves crossing the wrist.23 Another basic wheelchair mobility skill is the performance of a wheelie, in which the individual in the wheelchair balances on the rear two wheels. This is an important skill that must be mastered to become independent in curb and single-step climbing in a wheelchair.

Benefits Of Wheelchairs

Mobility devices are appropriate for people who experience a wide range of mobility difficulties as a result of a broad spectrum of health conditions and impairments, including amputation, arthritis, cerebral palsy, poliomyelitis, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injury, spina bifida, stroke and are also relevant for older people who experience mobility difficulties. Assistive technologies such as wheelchairs have been shown that, when appropriate to the user and the user’s environment, they have a significant impact on the level of independence and participation which people with disabilities are able to achieve. This also reduces the burden of care and has been reported to reduce the overall need for formal support services.

Wheelchair provision is not only about the wheelchair, which is just a product, rather it is about enabling people with disabilities to become mobile, remain healthy and participate fully in community life. We often take the ability to move in our home and community for granted, but for individuals with a disability with mobility impairments even the smallest step can prevent them from accessing all parts of their life. Being mobile enhances a person’s ability to learn, interact with others, earn a living, and participate in the community. 

A wheelchair is a catalyst for increased independence and social integration, but it is not an end in itself. Studies have shown that assistive technologies including wheelchairs, when appropriate to the user and the user’s environment, have a significant impact on the level of participation that people with disabilities are able to achieve and when provided through a supportive service have been reported to reduce the time and physical burden for caregivers. The use of mobility devices, in particular, creates opportunities for education and work, and contributes to improved health and quality of life but may also have an impact on the prevention of falls, injuries, further impairments, and premature death. Investment in the provision of mobility devices can reduce healthcare costs and economic vulnerability, and increase productivity and quality of life.


An active lifestyle has been proven to have both physical and mental health benefits with individuals participating in physical activity shown to have a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and several cancers. An appropriate wheelchair provides the user the freedom to move around, allowing the user to access day-to-day physical activity as they push around conducting activities of daily living increasing overall physical activity levels and day-to-day mobility. It also provides the greatest possible opportunity for independence and to do the things they want to do, allowing individuals to move within their home more easily, and provides increased comfort and a more active lifestyle.


Difficulty with ambulation, the need to frequently lean on someone or hold onto their arm as they walk next to you, decreased balance, and fear of falling can all cause individuals to become isolated from friends and family. A wheelchair that is functional, comfortable, and can be propelled efficiently can result in increased levels of activity. Independent mobility and increased physical function can reduce dependence on others. Thus, wheelchairs users can be more independent and more in control of their own life. Individuals who experience the least discomfort when sitting are often more productive. Users who are able to spend more time in their wheelchairs will have more opportunities for participating in day-to-day life along with others in the household, greatly improving their quality of life.


A wheelchair can improve the user’s health in many ways. A wheelchair that is functional, comfortable, and can be propelled efficiently can result in increased levels of physical activity, thus improving both physical and mental health. A well-fitting wheelchair with cushions, combined with adequate user training, can reduce common problems, such as pressure sores, the progression of deformities or contractures, and other secondary conditions associated with poor postures. Other benefits, such as improved respiration and digestion, increased head, trunk, and upper extremity control, and overall stability, can be achieved with proper postural support. Maintenance of health is an important factor in measuring the quality of life. These factors combined serve to increase access to opportunities for education, employment, and participation within the family and the community.


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