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Advice from experienced wheelchair users?

hardlyrolling Member Posts: 2 Listener
Hello, I have 4 conditions that impact on my ability to walk independently through both pain an co-ordination. I have been wheelchair bound outdoors for a few months now but it is going to be long term now and I am looking for any practical advice for using a wheelchair to get around.

Due to osteonecrosis in my shoulders I can't self proppel more than manuevering to get my preferred stationary position. As a result my wife who is my primary carer is on pushing duty.

The main problem we have experienced with the chair is dropped kerbs and lips on doorway thresholds. We assume that as these obstacles are considerably smaller than the front wheels of the chair that we should be able to go straight over them but what usually happens is the wheels bash said obstacle and the chair comes to a halt. Sometimes the chair even needs to be turned around to go over these small bumps backwards.

Is this a problem with the chair or technique? My chair does not have one of those foot pipes for the pusher to step on for leverage but surely this shouldn't be required for mounting a regulation height dropped kerb?

Any insights greatly appreciated
Also if anyone knows of ant kind of wheelchair skills/techniques classes in the greater Manchester area please let me know


  • romatarot
    romatarot Member Posts: 7 Listener
    I found this for you.  Hope it helps.

    Going up a step backwards

    ·               Reverse the wheelchair so the back is nearest the steps

    ·               Tip the chair back and balance the weight on the back wheels

    ·               Pull steadily upwards

    ·               Move back until there is sufficient room to put down all wheels.

    This method can be used to go up multiple steps.

    Going up a step forwards

    ·               Tip the chair back so the front wheels clear the step

    ·               Place the front wheels on top of the step

    ·               Push steadily and firmly until the large wheels ride up

    ·               Ensure the wheelchair is safely on the flat surface.

    Going down steps

    This should generally be performed with the wheelchair going backwards to prevent the person in the wheelchair from being tipped forwards.

    ·               Reverse the wheelchair to the edge of the step

    ·               Lower the rear wheels down the step

    ·               Lower front wheels.

    Pushing a wheelchair downhill

    When the gradient is very steep, it is advisable to go down backwards to prevent the person in the wheelchair from being tipped forwards.

  • Richard_Scope
    Richard_Scope Posts: 3,103

    Scope community team

    edited March 2018
    Hi @hardlyrolling

    Thanks for your post.

    What you have described is a really common problem with manual wheelchairs. Your wife will need to gently tilt your chair backwards even on drop kerbs. You will need to act as a spotter! Also, uneven paving slabs are a particular problem with my wheelchair.
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  • Crepusculous
    Crepusculous Member Posts: 5 Listener
    I'm lucky in that I am a completely independent wheelchair user (except for steep hills!) but my latest chair had far smaller castors than the one before it. That led to me being tipped out on two occasions after hitting potholes in the pavement. I swapped them out for bigger ones and was amazed at the difference. Obviously this isn't going to make your problem go away but I wonder if it's worth looking at if your castors are small?? 
  • Misscleo
    Misscleo Member Posts: 647 Pioneering
    Please be very greatful to your wife who must be struggerling.
    Maybe you need to buy a different wheelchair say a power chair so your wife can enjoy being out with you.
    Dont know her age but pushing a wheelchair can really hurt and as she gets older your chair will get to be more of a burden for her.
    Think about it
  • hardlyrolling
    hardlyrolling Member Posts: 2 Listener
    Thank you for all comments @Misscleo I am certainly very grateful for all my wife does for me and we frequently discuss getting a powered chair but for right now with the chair we have I was just wondering if there was anything we might be doing wrong/could be doing better.
    Thankfully we are currently doing everything correctly by the guide  kindly found by @romatarot
    Thank you @Richard_Scope for the reassurance that this is a widely experienced problem and the "it's not just me" feeling is comforting even if frustrating that things aren't built to be more accessible!
    @Crepusculous, you have confirmed my thoughts that maybe larger front wheels would make it easier. Unfortunately my chair doesn't have interchangable wheels so that is certainly a feature to look for in a new chair unless I end up going down the powered chair route.

    I do hope after shoulder and hip replacements that I can eventually be more independent in the chair but I would love to attend some kind of training course/class but these either don't exist or aren't advertised very well (but that could be my poor googling!)
  • Crepusculous
    Crepusculous Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Try googling Wheelchair Skills, maybe adding For Adults UK (or where you are).

    There aren't loads but they do exist. Unfortunately I have no recommendations and I don't know how much they are likely to charge.
  • romatarot
    romatarot Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Thinking along an alternative route, I found these on amazon.  they're 'instant ramps'. The main drawback is their weight, combined 10kg.  Hinder more than help perhaps, but on the plus side, they are portable.

    And this lighter but bulkier version from welcome mobility

    If you've a creative mind, you could construct a mould and perhaps fill it with builder's foam ( the one that hardens quickly)?????  Or I'd try finding one of those noodles people use in the pool and cut it lengthways for padding out doorways????? 

    In any event if you need somebody to show you how I have been taught by physios more times than I care to remember....... 


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