Wheelchair spare parts & accessories – what is available?
Accessories and wheelchair spare parts allow you to customise your chair to enable you to carry out the activities you want and need to do whilst maintaining your posture and position, being able to maintain and adjust your own wheelchair maximises its lifespan and your individual comfort.
Adding the right seat cushion to your wheelchair improves both comfort and positioning for regular use. Cushions provide both pressure care protection and can be used to create and maintain a individually tailored position. Getting the right cushion is very important and your needs might change over time, so investigate cushion features carefully and seek professional advice if unsure.
Also investigate the possibility of more than one cushions for different activities to maximize your performance.
Backrests or inserts are available for those in need of additional postural support, inserts can alter back height, angle and specific support points. Contoured backrests, wedges or lateral pads provide even more individualised support for those with postural problems. Ensure that any backrest accessories still maintain the correct seat depth for your wheelchair and do not restrict movement for your upper limb.
Head and neck rests are also available, but it is recommended these are purchased following professional advice and that the core frame of the wheelchair is checked first to ensure it gives sufficient support.
Having spare or alternative wheels is an important consideration for maintaining your wheelchair, dealing with repairs and being able to access different environments. Many wheelchair users keep a spare set of wheels, castor options or inner tubes ready for repair or replacement, or a set of smaller or lighter wheels that can be helpful when traveling. Air-filled or solid tires are suited to different surfaces, so you may wish to consider this to interchange them depending on where they are going.
Alternative handrims are available to give better grip, if certain activities require firm handling over rough terrain. Wheel spokes can be specified to minimise finger injuries and extended brake handles might give easier control.
The wheels are often the hardest worn part of the wheelchair, so customising your wheels to your own needs and keeping wheelchair spare parts can help with the durability and usability of your wheelchair.
Foot and armrests
Alternative or adjustable footrests are readily available, angle adjustable footrests have multiple points to alter length or overall position, which can help specific leg problems. Some footrests bring the feet further under the body or further out, which can change overall sitting position and ease of propulsion and are especially important for people engaged in competitive sports. Larger or extended footplates are sometimes required, though the impact on transfers and manoeuverability should be considered and the risks and benefits weighed up.
In addition, calf straps or lateral support pads that help maintain leg position can be useful to aid function and positioning.
Padded, wider or contoured armrests are also available, or cushioned side supports can be fitted underneath the armrests for comfort around your hips.
Wheelchair spare parts and accessories are great to ensure your wheelchair is individualised to your own needs and that you can keep using it as wear, tear or changes to your needs occur. Always ensure any spare parts or accessories are compatible with your wheelchair and do not alter key features of its fit and use.