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How To Choose A Leg Rest For Your Wheelchair

March 20, 2023 4 min read

How To Choose A Leg Rest For Your Wheelchair

A crucial step in your wheelchair purchasing process is taking the time to select the proper wheelchair leg rest, sometimes referred to as a wheelchair leg support.

The wrong type of leg rest can cause overall discomfort, an increase in spasticity (a condition where your muscles stiffen or tighten, impeding the normal passage of fluids), and other symptoms.

Making sure you do it correctly the first time is important since doing it incorrectly could ultimately result in a worsening of your condition.

You must think about a few factors before selecting one. You must be informed of the various kinds of leg rests that are available and the advantages that each one provides.

When using a wheelchair, you must have sufficient support for your feet and legs. If this level of support is not offered, you may feel uncomfortable and encounter a few issues, such as back pain and pressure in your buttocks.

What Is The Difference Between A Footrest And A Leg Rest? 

Finding the optimum level of comfort and support for you requires selecting the proper footrest or leg rest. A leg rest will contain a calf pad to support the lower leg in addition to a footplate, whereas a footrest will only have a stationary hanger and footplate for the user's feet to rest on.

Standard wheelchair footrests typically have additional features like a swing-away feature that make getting in and out of the chair safer and easier. Although most hanger angles can be changed to be less than 90° to fit user needs, standard footrests are normally set at a 90° angle.

Types Of Leg Rests

The primary function of a leg rest is to disperse pressure in order to improve circulation, reduce edema, and improve comfort. A Tilt-in-Space or reclining wheelchair is more likely to include leg rests than a regular wheelchair since they offer more support for the legs.

Wheelchair leg rests often come in two different varieties. Leg rests that are articulated and those that are raised. Each of these kinds of leg supports primarily serves to elevate or articulate.

Elevating Leg Rest

Elevated leg rests can be any angle. A calf pad is included with these kinds of leg rests to support the leg when it is lifted. Users who want to be comfortable but are unable to bend their knees due to an injury or other medical issue may appreciate this. Without any assistance from the user or even a caregiver, the leg can be kept straight. Users who require their legs to constantly be rested at the same angle benefit from elevated leg rests since they always have the same elevation.

Articulating Leg Rest

When raised, articulating leg rests expand, which is advantageous for users who occasionally need to bend their legs. These leg rests are frequently used in electric wheelchairs.

The ability to move freely is a key feature of articulating leg rests, which is vital for anyone with high blood pressure or who need them as part of their therapy to keep the legs moving. The user can relax because the length is automatically adjusted, eliminating the need for human modification. This is excellent for caretakers who might find it challenging to constantly stoop.

What Is The Correct Wheelchair Leg Rest Position?

The footrests on the leg rests should be within comfortable reach of the feet. Elevating the legs should be done gradually to prevent overstretching the hamstrings of the user. The best course of action is to spend money on a wheelchair that can tilt and recline so that the user may benefit from simple positioning.

Common Myths About Leg Rests On A Wheelchair

Myth #1 - Elevated Leg Rests Stop The User From Sliding

This might initially be the case, but if a user hasn't stretched their hamstrings in a while, they will be tight, making the stretching uncomfortable and possibly painful. As a result, the user will start sliding again.

A wheelchair with adjustable leg rests and the ability to recline might be a preferable choice. The user's weight is distributed across their entire back as they recline, shifting it from their pelvis. The user will not slide because of the change in the user's center of gravity.

Myth #2 - Elevated Leg Rests Will Reduce Swelling (Edema)

Although elevated, the leg height is still significantly lower than the user's heart, at least initially. A wheelchair with additional capabilities, such as reclining and tilting, is needed if the user needs one to lessen swelling.

Myth #3 - Elevated Leg Rests Reduces Pressure On The Buttocks

When the legs are raised, there is less contact between the thigh and the seat cushion, which increases the likelihood that the pelvis may slide forward and put additional strain on the spine. A wheelchair with both reclining and tilting functions is required if the objective is to lessen the possibility of pressure sores.

Which Leg Rest Is Best For You?

Depending on how much leg mobility is required, this will vary greatly. You can select an elevating leg rest if you are not permitted to move your legs. An articulating leg rest is an option if you can move your leg or it is advised that you do so.

Financing Available

Are there financing options available?

Yes, most of the mobility devices in our online store are eligible for financing through our partnership with Klarna, which offers 0% interest rates and great terms for those who qualify! This makes it easy and affordable to get the mobility device that you need to stay independent and connected as you age or deal with a disability.

Whether you need help covering the cost of your initial purchase or simply want to make monthly payments, mobility devices are accessible for most budgets.

So, if you're looking for an electric scooter or wheelchair that can help you maintain your independence, be sure to explore the financing options available for each model. At the top of each product page, you’ll find a financing button. Simply click on it to learn more and prequalify!

To talk to our friendly team of experts, simply call: 800-498-2560



Abby Haukongo
Abby Haukongo