Foot powered or 'walked' wheelchair — Scope | Disability forum
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Foot powered or 'walked' wheelchair

MarieBarl Community member Posts: 161 Pioneering
Has anyone come across a compact wheelchair that has footrests that can be folded away or removed so that it can be 'walked' or toe powered by the user?

For the last few years, I have used a wheeled typist chair in my workplace to get around as I used sticks to walk generally, but after recent developments I haven't yet been able to return to using sticks to walk and I want to be able to get around my home myself. I still cannot put weight on my left knee for more than a couple of steps at a time, and I need too much recovery time to make that viable for much more than transfer really.

Most self powered chairs are too wide for use in my home and the hospital OT was adamant that a typists chair 'would not be safe' in the home. 

I am so tired of being stuck in my bedroom 24/7. Despite my mobility issues, I have always been fairly active and independent.

I can move my knee, I just cannot put any real weught on it. I tried one if the kneeling scooter things  but that did not feel safe to me (my hips are failing anyway through another condition) and still meant too much weight on the knee.

Any suggestions or recommendations will be very welcome.


  • Alex_Scope
    Alex_Scope Posts: 7,562 Scope online community team
    Hello @MarieBarl and thanks for reaching out, I've not come across any chairs that exactly fit what you're after I'm afraid. 

    I just want to check that by 'wheeled typist chair' you mean a chair that you would use at a desk or using a computer, is that right? 

    When you've been discussing this with your OT, did they suggest any alternative chairs or mobility aids? I'm guessing the waiting list is quite long for a more suitable wheelchair.

    I wonder if a walker with a seat would be suitable, so you could still move around your home, and take rest breaks when needed?
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  • MarieBarl
    MarieBarl Community member Posts: 161 Pioneering
    Hi,, thanks for answering.

    Yes that is exactly what I meant by a wheeled typist chair. We used to call them counter chairs as that is where we used them at work, at the counter.

    I don't actually have  an OT as such. I have had problems in the past persuading GPs that I had any issues at all beyond needing to 'lose weight'. What has happened is that I am used to sourcing any support for myself.

    I don't think this is the right place to vent my opinions on past care, though.
    Nor on the experience in hospital.

    I have a wheeled walker with a seat.  It srill requires  me to put too much weight on my knee unfortunately. It is not practical to move any distance  2 steps at a time aggravating a limb which is already complaining.

    I am currently on extremely strong pain relief which I am keen to reduce. Something I can sit in and use my feet to push will give me exercise and reduce the pressure on my knee giving me a better chance to recover and a little more control over my life.

    It will never be as good as it was, but I think if I can find the right accessory I can make it better than it is.

    Who knows, it might help someone else too?

    I did come across an online OT who did blog that a number of her clients do power chairs by pushing with their feet, but there  was nothing built for purpose. So I am not the first to consider it.  I don't need it for outside, just indoors. Once I have manouvreability, I can address my access issues. There just doesn't seem to be any point if I can't be independent.

    Sorry to moan on!
  • Alex_Scope
    Alex_Scope Posts: 7,562 Scope online community team
    It's okay @MarieBarl you can moan if you need to, it's helpful to understand more about your situation, and why you're feeling the way you are. 

    I wonder if advocacy support might help in terms of getting your voice heard with your GP, if it's of interest, POhWER or The Advocacy People might be able to help. 

    I'm sorry I can't be of more help today, and sadly I know you're not alone in facing this struggle for independence in your own home. Hopefully other members can share any thoughts with you as well. 

    If we've missed anything, please do say, and we'll do what we can to assist :)  
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  • Steve_in_The_City
    Steve_in_The_City Scope Member Posts: 511 Pioneering
    Hi @MarieBarl I use a typist stool/chair on casters to get around my flat and find it perfectly safe. If I am having severe dizzy spells I sit on it and propel myself by using my feet or I grab hold of something to pull myself forward. I told both an OT and an officer from PIP that for me a typist chair is a mobility aid and they didn't argue or discuss safety. The OT supplied a stool I am supposed to sit on in the kitchen when cooking, but it would be totally unsafe for me as it didn't have a backrest and had I leaned backwards I would have toppled over and hit the floor. The typist stool has a backrest and is far safer.

    When I am able to walk I stand behind it and hold the backrest. This is enough to keep me upright and I push it forward towards my destination. It takes some of my weight, so makes taking a few steps easier. It is easier to use than a tri-walker or a 4 wheeled walker with a seat, as it is more compact.

    You can also get typist stools with armrests; this may be safer as it would prevent you from falling sideways. I cannot walk unaided and after just a few steps (standing up) my legs ache, but this is because all my body weight is being supported by my legs. When I am sitting on a typist stool t or using it as an upright walking it takes most of the weight, so I can move around.

    Have you consider a transit wheelchair. As far as I know you can use them without footrests. Here is a link:

    A transit wheelchair is possibly more compact than a usual wheelchair. I knew a lady who used one to get around her flat. Good luck to you, I hope you find a solution to your problem.
  • MarieBarl
    MarieBarl Community member Posts: 161 Pioneering
    edited April 2023
    Hi, and thank you.

    I too have told two OTs in different interviews that I was using a typist's chair to get around at work. I could not understand the vehemence of this particular one that it would not be suitable st home, but I bowed to her expertise. Thinking back  she also commented to my carer and to my husband that she thought my nursing chair (high backed with 'winged headrests') was too narrow and she was concerned that I would get stuck in it. I was using it regularly before my hospital visit and they gave me a huge thing that you could have fit two of me in! Well nearly two.

    I have that chair in my room and I can sit in it without being stuck.

    Maybe I will.just ignore her advice.

    But I will also look at transit chairs. Thanks, I hadn't thought of the ones with the small  wheels under the seat. 

    I'm sure there is something I can use. I refuse to just be left in my room. It's hard enough that I couldn't make it the last 5 months to my pensionable age.


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