Wheelchair Seating Products - Accessories

There is more to the average seating system than a cushion and a backrest. Many accessories are available to enhance these products and create a system that caters to the needs of the wheelchair user. Below I've listed a number of the more common products and a short description of each. I've started at the feet and will work my way up the body.

Feet and Lower Legs

The user's feet and lower legs must be controlled in order to maintain a proper seating position. Ideally the user themselves is able to control their feet and lower legs but if not there are a couple of options.

Heel loops are mounted on the back of the foot plate to prevent the user's feet from slipping off backwards. They are straps about 2' wide which are mounted across the back of the foot plate. Often, the heel loops get trampled on by the user and flattened making them unusable but they will work for some people.

Toe loops are straps about 1" wide which are attached to the front of the foot plate and loop across the top of the user's feet preventing the feet from slipping  forward. When used in conjunction with heel loops the feet are virtually locked to the foot plates.

Single Leg Strap
For those who can't use heel loops or toe loops, leg straps can be ordered. A single legstrap is about 2" wide and spans from one footrest to the other behind or in front of the user's lower legs.

H Strap
Double legstraps, or "H straps" as they are sometimes known, are basically two single legstraps mounted on the footrests about 6" apart and connected together vertically in the center by a third strap. H straps create a basket effect to support the lower legs.

Leg panels are just double leg straps with a lightly padded cover over them which can be used in front or behind the lower legs.

Foot boxes can be custom made for those who can't tolerate straps. A footbox is a three sided padded box which contain the feet.

Knees and Upper Legs

Some wheelchair user's knees will splay out, press inward or windsweep to one side or the other. There are a few products available to help control these conditions.

Pommel with Flip Down Hardware
Pommels are devices that mount to the wheelchair or cushion to keep the knees separated. If the pommel is too big, it will create difficulty with transfers in which case a pommel with a flip down mechanism  should be chosen.

Adductors
Adductors are pads mounted to the wheelchair or wedges inserted into the cushion cover to prevent the knees from splaying apart. Adductors mounted to cushions are smaller than those mounted to the wheelchair but aren't as effective for control of the legs. When used in conjunction with a pommel, adductors are effective in controlling windsweeping.

Hips and Buttocks

Drop bases are solid platforms mounted to a wheelchair that can lower, raise or tilt

Drop Base
the wheelchair cushion to fine tune the user's seating posture. Made of plastic or wood they offer an attachment point for adductors and pommels. Drop bases are sometimes built into a cushion and are attached to the wheelchair with drop hooks. They can be removed from the wheelchair fairly easily to enable folding.

Seat belts, also known as positioning belts, are attached to the wheelchair near the back of the cushion or base and are used to prevent the user's buttocks from

Seat Belt
sliding forward on the cushion. The belts can do up with an auto style latch, an aircraft style latch or a hook and loop type closure. The seat belt can be padded or not. In spite of teh fact these belts are called seat belts, they are not safe for transportation in a vehicle. While being transported in a vahicle, the chair must be secured to the vehicle with a tie down system and a seat belt attached to the vehicle is used to secure the wheelchair user.

Four point seat belts can be utilised when a regular seat belt is not enough to control the seating position. Four point seat belts have one strap on each side which are attached to the wheelchair frame mid way between the front and the rear of the seat on each side one strap which attach to the back post of the wheelchair. This seat belt will exert pressure to hold the user down and back in the seat.

For more information about hip positioning and seat options please visit our new page at: https://mobilitybasics.ca/seating/hip-supports

Arms

Extra wide arm pads are available for users who have trouble keeping thier elbows and lower arms resting on standard 2" arm pads. They measure about 4" wide and the same length as standard arm pads.

Elbow blocks ar available to help keep the user's arm on the wide arm pads or a wheelchair tray. They can be various shapes and sizes but all will prevent the elbow from sliding off the arm to the outside of the arm pad or tray as well as sliding back off the arm pad or tray.

When something more than a conventional arm pad is needed to support the arm, arm troughs are manufactured by a few companies. these troughs can usually be mounted on an angle if needed and straps can be utilised to further secure the arm.

Torso

Lateral supports prevent the torso from leaning to the left or right and they can be

Drop Base
used in pairs or singly. They vary in size and shape but arm generally designed to cup the upper side of the torso just below the arm pit much as a hand would. There is usually adjustment up and down as well as in and out to make proper positioning easier.

Chest straps are straps which are about 2" wide which wrap around the torso just below the arm pits to hold the user upright and stable. The chest strap may or may not be padded.

Shoulder straps are similar to backpack straps. They are padded straps which are

Shoulder Harness
anchored to the top center of the backrest and the lower sides of the backrest or wheelchair back posts. There are adjusting straps to adjust how tightly the shoulder straps hold the user. Rear pull adjusting straps are intended for the caregiver to use and front pull adjusting straps are intended for the user themselves to use.

Head

Headrests can vary quite a bit in complexity and cost and choosing the right one

headrests
can be quite a procedure.

A basic headrest is simply a pad attached to an adjustable and removable mounting system. The basic hearest is suitable for user's who have good head control and just want something to rest their head against when tired.

A curved headrest curves around the sides of the head to provide some lateral support for users who have a little difficulty controling their head. There are various shapes and sizes of curved headrests and a little trial and error may be required to determine the correct one.

Modular headrests are quite complicated and expensive systems. Setting up a modular headrest system requires some time as there are many pads that can be used mounted in many different positions. With modular headrest systems, many adjustments can be made as needed.

Forehead pads are options on the modular headrest systems to prevent the user's head from falling forward off the headrest.

Head straps are straps attached to the headrest which wrap around the forehead of the user and hold the head secure. Generally, nobody likes to use a headstrap but in some cases they are the only option for head control and work well in the right situations. Head straps can be used with the modular headrest system or the more basic headrests.





Notice: Information on the MobilityBasics.ca web site is for informational purposes only and not meant to be a substitute for the advice provided by physicians, therapists or other medical professionals. All information is general in nature and may not necessarily apply to everyone as individual needs may vary. For more information see our terms.

Products displayed or discussed on this web site are presented to provide examples of products discussed and are not specifically endorsed by mobilitybasics.ca. We do not receive any compensation for displaying or presenting any products.

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