What kind of armrest to choose, that is the question? Obviously, the decision is entirely up to you and what makes you feel comfortable. But there are things you need to consider in order to choose the best armrest for your wheelchair.
Armrests provide a number of benefits. Specifically, they allow your arms to rest at a comfortable height that is higher than your lap. Normally when your arms are hanging by your sides, they tend to have a bit of a pull and feel slightly heavy because of gravitational pull. But when they rest on an armrest, the armrest takes the pull of gravity off your shoulders and arms.
The extra weight that gravity exerts onto your arms have a slightly forward pulling force, causing you to lean forward and have a slouched posture. When your arms rest on the armrest, you are able to straighten your spine and sit up straighter. Apart from your arms, your armrests can also support a tray or a one-sided arm support.
Varieties of Armrests
There are a wide variety of armrests to choose from. Some can be removed, others can be flipped out of the way, while. others are fixed-height and cannot be removed.
Not having the option to remove the armrest can interfere with transfers. It could also cause discomfort because the armrest is not at a height adequate for optimal arm support.
As an example, if your armrest is very low, it will cause a slight forward leaning of your torso. If it is too high, it might cause you to have to lift your shoulders in order to get your arms on the armrests, both of which are very uncomfortable positions. With a too high armrest you will feel the discomfort as the armrest will dig into your armpits.
Attachments For Armrests
There are different ways that armrests are attached to a wheelchair. Let’s look at four popular ways to attach:
Flip down – Instead of having armrests attached to the side frame of the chair, the armrests are attached to the back upright canes and in this way flipped to an upward position for better clearance.
Dual Post – This type of armrest has two vertical tubes that can be inserted into the side frame of the wheelchair.
Single Post – This type has a vertical tube inserted into the side frame. Although it offers better clearance when approaching a table, it is less stable that the dual post armrests.
Fixed – This type of armrest is welded to the frame of the wheelchair.
Style of The Armrest
There are different types of styles of armrests. We’ll discuss a few below.
Swing Away Armrests – This type of armrest swings away to the side or to the back of the wheelchair for easier transfer or clearance.
Space Saver Arm – The space saver armrest curves inward in order to bring the armrest nearer to the body.
Fixed Removable Armrest/Desk Length – This armrest has a fixed height and support the arm for about three-fourths of the seat.
Fixed Removable Armrest/Full Length – This armrest provides support from the back of the seat to the front, and they have a fixed height.
Adjustable Height Removable Armrest/Desk Length – This type of armrest provides support from the back of the seat to about three-fourths of the seat, and can also be adjusted by height, allowing the chair to slide under a table.
Adjustable Height Removable Armrest/Full Length – This armrest is height adjustable and provides support from the back of the seat to the front. They are most often used if a lap tray is used because of the stability they provide.
Tubular Armrest – The tubular armrest can flip downwards due to the hardware it has on the rear uprights. They can also curve downward to attach to a receptible behind the seat.
We hope you liked our article on choosing an armrest for your wheelchair and hope it was helpful to you. Please feel free to let us know if you have any questions or if you would like to see more of these types of articles to our site.
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