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Wheelchairs For Tall People




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#1 August

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 07:14 AM

I have had a scroll through previous topics and can't find anything about this, so I hope I am not repeating previous queries.
My son is currently in a rehab centre where they have allocated him a chair that best suits him at the moment. He is very tall. When last measured he was 6'3" and may have grown since. Because of his length the footplates have to be very low, barely a centimetre above the ground. This makes the slightest variation in ground level a hazard. He has only recently been admitted to the centre, so has no wheelchair skills yet to enable him to cope with obstacles. However, it seems to me that even with appropriate skills he will have to be super-vigilant. We got the impression from staff that this is just something tall people have to get on with. Do other tall people have this problem? Will he have to have a custom-made chair?
Thanks.

#2 Rotarymotion

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 01:18 PM

Hi August,
Yes it is a fundamental problem for tall people, or at least people with long lower legs. Although I am not particularly tall because of scoliosis in my back, I do have long legs and the first wheelchair I got also ended up with the footplates almost scraping the floor, so that they frequently caught on surface projections.
The quick fix (not ideal) is a thicker cushion, I have even used two at times. The correct solution is a taller frame for the wheelchair. Don't worry about it being custom made, most wheelchairs for full-time users are custom made after using a few stock wheelchair to gain experience.
Other problems that will be encountered in my experience, are getting knees under tables in restaurants with a taller wheelchair frame. In extreme cases it is possible to angle the footplate supports so that the footplate is further forward and therefore ground clearance is increased. However, this leads to another problem.... You now have to select tables in restaurants that don't have central legs. If I try to explain, Most rectangular tables in restaurants here in the UK have a lip set in from the edge that can prevent a wheelchair user's knees from going under the table. The round tables, however, often don't seem to have this lip and therefore have more height available for your knees. Unfortunately round tables usually have a central large thick supporting leg and on my wheelchair with the footrest set more forward, this prevents me from getting close to the table.
In my opinion, to get the best out of a wheelchair, you need a long body and short legs. Unfortunately I have a very short body and long legs, and I'm not sure how to change that. "Its a b*gg*r really says my wife"!

#3 rmorgan

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 03:23 AM

As the previous person has said, the easiest way to solve the problem is a larger cushion! My fiance' is 6'8"!! Imagine his problems!! The only thing that has bothered him about the thicker cushion, is indeed again, the getting under tables, but he just takes his legs out of his foot plate and puts them on the floor at an angle so he's able to get under the table. Doesn't look very comfortable, but it does work! But this only happens, when there's NO alternative option (getting another table, etc.) Good luck!!
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#4 LuckyinKentucky

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 05:16 PM

Hmmm, I'm 6'2 and havent really ever noticed a prob. So far I've had 3 custom Quickie wheelchairs. I have the axles set a few notches from bottom so it kinda gives a bucket sit and makes your knees kinda out there... I'll have to try the knockin the feet off the footplate thing for getting under tables Rmorgan.

It's possible that the 1 inch difference is a big deal but If i were you i wouldnt address that as a worry... unless it becomes a problem.... Oh and my footplate is like 11/2 to 2 inches off the ground and has only hit in pea gravel.

#5 August

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 06:24 PM

Thanks everyone for your replies. This is going to be one huge learning curve.

#6 china

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 07:49 PM

Don't know your location but, I'm 6'4", with a 35" inside leg and in Britain.

There are a few things you will need to consider when choosing a chair, as new break, your sons wants from a chair will change as he get used to things. With this in mind, you will need to buy a chair which can be adjusted. I was 13 when I had my accident and by the time I got out of bed, 5'10". In the first 6 yrs, I had 4 chairs (mind you I used to be a chair whore, a new one ever 18mnths), due to the change in my height and requirements.

I recently visited a Mobility show, for the only reason of buying a new chair. One thing i did notice is that, all the makers of custom chairs, made the rear of the chair with a ridged height. This for me is a problem, when things are good and I'm ok, I adjust my chair so it has less of a bucket, when things are bad, my balance non-existent, I increase the bucket.

I found, the best chair for my needs was a Quickie Argon Ti. The frame is available with a higher option and this, mixed with 26" rear wheels would give me a chair which could be adjusted when I need, and the neccessary ground clearence. I would say though, it doesn't come cheap, so you'll need to shop around and be very specific with the requirements when speaking to the reps, i had 2 chairs, both of which they said would do what i wanted, only to find they wouldn't, and as they are purchased through reps, it is very difficult to get the company who manufacture the chair to do anything about it.

As for getting my legs under tables in resturants, I normally hope out, I find the different seat and sitting position a welcome change.

Edited by china, 29 July 2008 - 07:52 PM.


#7 August

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 02:32 PM

Don't know your location but, I'm 6'4", with a 35" inside leg and in Britain.

There are a few things you will need to consider when choosing a chair, as new break, your sons wants from a chair will change as he get used to things. With this in mind, you will need to buy a chair which can be adjusted. I was 13 when I had my accident and by the time I got out of bed, 5'10". In the first 6 yrs, I had 4 chairs (mind you I used to be a chair whore, a new one ever 18mnths), due to the change in my height and requirements.

I recently visited a Mobility show, for the only reason of buying a new chair. One thing i did notice is that, all the makers of custom chairs, made the rear of the chair with a ridged height. This for me is a problem, when things are good and I'm ok, I adjust my chair so it has less of a bucket, when things are bad, my balance non-existent, I increase the bucket.

I found, the best chair for my needs was a Quickie Argon Ti. The frame is available with a higher option and this, mixed with 26" rear wheels would give me a chair which could be adjusted when I need, and the neccessary ground clearence. I would say though, it doesn't come cheap, so you'll need to shop around and be very specific with the requirements when speaking to the reps, i had 2 chairs, both of which they said would do what i wanted, only to find they wouldn't, and as they are purchased through reps, it is very difficult to get the company who manufacture the chair to do anything about it.

As for getting my legs under tables in resturants, I normally hope out, I find the different seat and sitting position a welcome change.



Thanks, China. I'll make a note of that chair.


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