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Thread: Rigid versus Fold up wheelchairs

  1. #1
    Distinguished Community Member BBS1951's Avatar
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    Default Rigid versus Fold up wheelchairs

    I just got a call from the medical supply store. Two chairs came in for me to try out. One is a rigid chair with swingaway legs. The other one is a fold up chair with Swingway legs.

    I did not like that particular rigid chair with swing away legs, it was too heavy and clunky. but I am not opposed to an ultralight model of a rigid chair with swing away legs.

    I did like the fold up chair with swing away legs that she showed me today. The person said that she will also try to see whether there is a better ultralight rigid chair with Swingway legs to compare. She said very few ultralight rigid chairs have swingaway legs for some reason.

    I asked her what the advantages of a fold up chair are and what the disadvantages are. The disadvantage is that they are heavier than a rigid chair. The advantage is obvious.



    This leaves me the question which I ask You here :do you prefer Rigid or fold up? Do you have any further comments about the pros and cons of rigid versus fold up?

    I am very close to ordering a chair now. I am just going to wait until she calls me about whether she can find another ultralight rigid chair with swing away legs. She stated that most of them have foot plates and not swingaway legs....I know now that I definitely do not want foot plates, only swingaway legs.

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    Distinguished Community Member BBS1951's Avatar
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    Also, re the wheels: they have spokes, or you can get Mags. What do you think about that choice?

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  5. #3
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    Bbs, have you read at Spinlife? They have a lot of information.
    ANN
    There comes a time when silence is betrayal.- MLK

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    Distinguished Community Member agate's Avatar
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    I've had both types of wheels--spokes and the other kind. I just found out that they're called Mag wheels (thanks, BBS!). I didn't notice any difference.

    When I got the chair with spokes, though, the manual came with a list of hardware items needed to maintain the chair. I dutifully bought every one of the recommended things--mostly wrenches of various sizes. All were easy to get at any store that stocks hardware but I had to go to a bike place for the bicycle wrench.

    I got the bicycle wrench but never once used it in over 20 years with that chair. You wouldn't need to have it, though, if you got the mag wheels. And things don't get trapped in the mag wheels but they can get caught up in the spokes.

    I can't imagine wanting a rigid chair but there are surely reasons why people do want them. They just don't appeal to me.

    Being able to fold up something that big is a huge advantage. I never know when I might need a taxi in an emergency, and sometimes you get transportation faster if you can stash your wheelchair in the vehicle but it needs to be foldable. Otherwise you're stuck with requiring a lift-equiped vehicle, and in my experience taxi companies don't always have them available. Or maybe there's a friend or relative who could take you somewhere but has no lift-equiped vehicle. You point out how foldable your wheelchair is, and you can take that offered ride.

    Aren't footplates or a footrests pretty standard in wheelchair construction? I looked up "wheelchairs photos" and saw a bazillion photos of wheelchairs--every one of them with a footplate or footrests. I think because the wheels you can propel with your hands have to be so large that you'll be sitting up a bit too high for resting your feet easily on the ground, and it would be tiring for your feet to be dangling all day. Yes, you can stash those legrests and sit around without them but unless your legs are longer than some people's (mine), you'll be tired fast and you won't be sitting right.

    Wheelchairs are designed to help you maintain proper posture, so your spine doesn't develop odd curves or other problems.
    MS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2002-2005. Copaxone 6/07 - 5/10.
    Member of this MS board since 2001.

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  9. #5

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    A lot of choices depend on how you expect or intend to use your chair. I think the may wheels are a good choice if you intend to go over rough terrain. I have a travel driveway for example that I have to go over every time I move outside. And when I was able, I traveled a lot, and encountered cobblestone roads, brick sidewalks, rough surfaces to roll over, which can bend up wheels. A spoke wheel would need constant adjusting; the mag wheels dont. If you're just moving about on standard sidewalks, relatively smooth parking lots, in your home, it doesn't much matter.

    Every wheelchair comes with some sort of foot rests. The difference is whether they are fixed or removable. The removable give you more flexibility in tight corners, or spaces, where your remove one (or both), get around or through the space, put them back on.

    If you can still transfer in/out of cars the foldable chair gives you more flexibility, as it will fit in almost any car, if only between the front and back seat.

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    Distinguished Community Member BBS1951's Avatar
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    Thank you. The point about being able to fold it and put behind a seat, especially a friend’s seat is important to consider.

    And thanks for the info on mag vs spoke

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  13. #7
    Distinguished Community Member BBS1951's Avatar
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    Cat, do folding chairs have pop off wheels? Can’t find that answer on the wc websites.

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    Some folding wheelchairs do, some don't. That is usually considered an "accessory", and will cost more.
    ...I am not a doctor nor medical professional, and don't pretend to be one, here... :o

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  17. #9
    Distinguished Community Member agate's Avatar
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    For some reason my wheelchair came with snap-on wheels even though Medicare/United Health Care covered it completely. I didn't know I was getting the snap-on wheels--didn't know such things existed--until it arrived and they were demonstrated to me.

    I've had this chair for about 7 years now and hardly ever snapped the wheels off. I'm afraid I won't be able to get them back on right!
    MS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2002-2005. Copaxone 6/07 - 5/10.
    Member of this MS board since 2001.

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  19. #10

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    When we traveled overseas we found them really useful. I could use all sorts of cabs and other transportation, just popping the wheels off. And here in the US I could ride in a lot of different cars. There's only one way to put the wheels on and off, and they lock in place, so it's pretty easy.

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