Best Wheelchair for Amputees
Mobility | Wheelchairs

Best Wheelchair for Amputees [Our Top 5 Picks for 2021]

The right wheelchair can be a great advantage for an amputee. Our top pick is the Medline Lightweight Wheelchair with elevating leg rests and flip-back, desk-length arms. If you or a family member are adjusting to life after lower limb amputation, then choosing the right wheelchair is an important process.

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Related post: Best Reclining Wheelchair with Headrest

Best Wheelchairs for Amputees’ Quality of Life

Best Overall – Medline Lightweight Wheelchair with Elevating Leg Rests

Best Overall
Medline Lightweight Wheelchair
Medline Lightweight Wheelchair
A wheelchair with elevating leg rests that offers comfort, durability, and a smooth ride.

The Medline Lightweight Wheelchair with elevating leg rests is our pick for best overall. With flip-back, desk-length arms, it’s no trouble to maneuver under tables. The elevating leg rests are easy to reposition and remove.

Breathable nylon upholstery ensures comfort, and you can choose the seat width that provides the best fit for you. Additionally, the backrest is adjustable up and down.

Premium welding ensures durability, and the Mag wheels produce a smooth-rolling ride. The flat-free tires are low maintenance. At 33 pounds, this is a lightweight chair, but it will support users weighing up to 300 pounds. The light weight of this chair makes it convenient to pack it up and go!

Pros

  • Light weight for on-the-go users
  • Flip-up, desk-length arms
  • Swing-out leg rests may be elevated or removed
  • Reasonably priced

Cons

  • Does not recline
  • Not an ultra-lightweight wheelchair
  • Not a heavy-duty wheelchair

Best for Posture Support – Karman Ergonomic Wheelchair Ergo Flight

Best for Posture Support
Ergo Flight Ergonomic Wheelchair
Ergo Flight Ergonomic Wheelchair
A lightweight wheelchair designed to align with the body’s natural curves and functions.

The Ergonomic Wheelchair Ergo Flight by Karman is a good choice if you’re looking for a chair that supports good posture. Maintaining good posture takes the pressure off various body parts and prevents sores, skin ulcers, and scoliosis. Based on advanced geometric engineering, this chair offers maximum body support while ensuring stability and mobility.

The ergonomic engineering extends to features that benefit the caregiver as well as the wheelchair user. For example, the caregiver can engage the brake without bending over.  Form, fit, function, and comfort all come together in this wheelchair by Karman Healthcare.

At only 19.8 pounds, the Karman Ergo Flight wheelchair is considered ultra-lightweight. The footrests are removable, and elevating leg rests are available on Karman’s heavier models (25 pounds and up).

Pros

  • Ultra lightweight
  • Easy to lift, stow, and travel
  • Ergonomic design relieves pressure points
  • Ergonomically beneficial for caregivers, too
  • Flat-free polyurethane wheels

Cons

  • Elevating leg rests available only on heavier models
  • Armrests are not removable
  • Does not recline

Best Budget Option – Drive Medical Blue Streak Wheelchair (BLS18FBD-ELR)

Best Budget Option
Blue Streak Wheelchair
Blue Streak Wheelchair
This medium-weight wheelchair offers durability and comfort at a budget price.

If you’re trying to stay within a budget, the Drive Medical Blue Streak Wheelchair offers excellent features at an economical price. Detachable, desk-length arms can be flipped up for maneuverability. The elevating leg rests may be positioned to provide maximum comfort for you. The nylon seat and backrest are comfortable and easy to clean.

Weighing in at 41.25 pounds, this chair falls within the light-to-medium range. It’s great for mobility at home and can be folded and stowed for travel, too. The solid rubber tires are mounted on composite wheels for a smooth ride and minimal maintenance.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly price
  • Elevating leg rests
  • Swing-out foot/leg rests are removable
  • Flip-up, detachable armrests
  • Choose your seat width for best fit

Cons

  • Heavier than lightweight or ultra-lightweight wheelchairs
  • Supports users only up to 250 pounds

Best for Weight Capacity – Invacare Tracer IV Heavy-Duty Wheelchair

Best for Weight Capacity
Invacare Tracer IV
Invacare Tracer IV
If you need a wheelchair with heavy-duty weight capacity, the Tracer IV provides great quality.

The Invacare Tracer IV Heavy-Duty Wheelchair supports users who weigh up to 450 pounds. Choose your seat width from 18-to-22 inches for a comfortable fit. This chair features a sturdy, reinforced frame with 14 gauge steel cross-braces. Its durable construction will hold up to heavy-duty use.

Strong, vinyl, inner liners prevent the seat and seat-back from stretching. The rear wheels are outfitted with flat-free inserts in the 24” composite pneumatic tires. The reinforced, heavy-duty frame combined with maneuverability make this wheelchair a great choice for active adults who need enhanced weight-bearing capacity.

Pros

  • Heavy-duty, reinforced frame
  • Weight capacity up to 450 lbs
  • Inner liners to prevent seat and seat-back stretching
  • Pneumatic tires with flat-free inserts

Cons

  • Not a lightweight wheelchair
  • Not easily portable
  • Upholstery material is not breathable

Best Portable Transport Wheelchair – Medline Lightweight Transport Wheelchair

Best Portable Option
Lightweight Transport Wheelchair
Lightweight Transport Wheelchair
Use this lightweight transport chair to get out and around town with your caregiver.

The Medline Ultralight Transport Wheelchair makes storage, transport, and travel easy for the caregiver of an amputee. A transport wheelchair is one that requires a caregiver to operate. With its light weight and easy handling, this transport chair makes it easy for you and your caregiver to get out for shopping, socializing, medical appointments, or any other reason.

This ultralight transport chair weighs only 14.8 pounds, but it has a weight-bearing capacity of 300 pounds. It’s easy to fold up and stow in the trunk of our vehicle for travel. The upholstery is made of padded nylon, and this chair offers other convenient features such as a seat belt and a cup holder.

Pros

  • Ultra lightweight
  • Easy to stow and go
  • Comfortable, padded nylon seat material
  • Strong aluminum frame
  • Folds compactly for travel or storage

Cons

  • Must be operated by a caregiver
  • Not for use by the amputee alone

What to Consider When Buying a Wheelchair for an Amputee

Person on a wheelchair looking outside

You or a loved one may be adjusting to life after amputation of a lower limb. As you shop for a wheelchair that best suits your needs, there are several issues to consider.

Pressure Relief

For wheelchair users, the problem of skin ulcers at pressure points is an important consideration. To avoid the complications of pressure ulcers, be sure that the wheelchair is a good fit. You should be able to shift your position to avoid developing skin ulcers. Additionally, you may need to add special cushions or other accessories, such as a sheepskin to relieve pressure points. Choose a wheelchair that allows you to take these precautionary measures.

Functional Mobility

The purpose of a wheelchair for an amputee is to provide mobility. Wheelchairs allow amputees to interact with the world. As you shop around for the right wheelchair, consider the mobility and maneuverability that you will need. For example, do you need a chair that allows you to sit at a desk? Do you need a chair that is easy to fold up and stow in the trunk of a car for outings? Look for features that will allow you to participate in the activities you enjoy.

Proper Fit and Balance

Healthy amputee on a wheelchair with trees on the background

If you’re shopping for a wheelchair for yourself or a loved one, it’s important to consider how the chair fits the user and how it’s balanced for safe and easy maneuvering. First, consider the size, weight, age, and physical condition of the person who will use the chair. Select a wheelchair that fits the person. Next, be sure that the chair is balanced for safety. Be aware that a double amputee will not have the weight of their legs to keep the chair from tipping backward.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some wheelchair accessories for amputees?

Once you’ve selected a wheelchair, you may want to add appropriate accessories for comfort and support. A support assembly adds a horizontal surface protruding from the seat of the chair to support the upper leg of an amputee. These support systems may be padded and offer a swing-away detachment mechanism. Additionally, gel-filled or air-filled cushions provide pressure relief.

What are some challenges that amputees face?

Amputees face challenges when adjusting to mobility, self-care, and body image after an amputation. These challenges are psychological, emotional, and social. Learning to maneuver in a wheelchair is simply one challenge. Other challenges include phantom pain, a phenomenon where the amputee feels pain in the limb that has been amputated. Additionally, there are medical concerns regarding blood circulation from the heart as well as the risk of infection at the amputation site.

Amputee on a wheelchair

What should you not say to an amputee?

If you are a friend, family member, or caregiver for an amputee, you want to be as sensitive as possible to their social and emotional needs. Therefore, you may want to know what not to say.

One rule of thumb is not to ask personal questions that you would not ask of any able-bodied person. Additionally, you should avoid implying that the amputee can’t do things to help themselves or that you need to do everything for them. Do be aware that the amputee is adjusting to a new body image. Don’t say anything that implies they are inferior to anyone else.

Last update on 2021-04-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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