Tag Archives: assistive technology

Wheelchair Push Rims & Handrims – your secret weapon for push and grip

The Many Benefits of Wheelchair Pushrims

blue pushrim covers on a wheelchair wheel

Wheelchair pushrims, also called handrims or push rims, are an important part of manual wheelchairs. They allow the user to grip and propel the wheels forward through pushing motions. Selecting the right pushrims is crucial for wheelchair performance and preventing injury. This article will explore the clinical, functional, and design benefits of various wheelchair pushrim options.

What Are Pushrims and Why Do They Matter?

composite image of young lady with pink pushrims and text"Pushrims the secret weapon of pushing"


Wheelchair pushrims are the circular bars that surround the rear wheels of a manual wheelchair. As the name suggests, wheelchair users grip these rims and push forward to propel their chair. This moves the drive wheels and controls speed and direction.

Choosing an optimal set of pushrims is important for several reasons:

  • Mobility: Good pushrims improve propulsion and make the wheelchair easier to maneuver. Their grip, size, shape and material impact mobility.
  • Injury Prevention: Bad pushrims can strain the hands, wrists and shoulders. Ergonomic options prevent overuse injuries.
  • Function: Pushrims must match the user’s strength, range of motion and coordination. Custom options suit different needs.

In short, pushrims act as the critical interface between wheelchair user and chair. Their design directly impacts mobility and health.

The Clinical Benefits of Pushrims

Research confirms that pushrim design has tangible clinical benefits.

Well-designed pushrims can prevent upper body overuse issues like carpal tunnel syndrome or rotator cuff injuries. How? Through improved grip, better biomechanics and reduced strain during propulsion.

Specifically, ergonomic pushrims:

This lessens the risk of chronic pain or injuries to the hands, wrists and shoulders.

In one study, wheelchair users reported immediate pain reduction when using an ergonomic pushrim model. The benefits are clear.

Of course, pushrim needs depend on the individual. A good fit considers hand strength, sensation loss and joint mobility restrictions.

Pushrim Materials and Durability

Pushrims come in a variety of materials, shapes, diameters and other options. Materials impact grip, comfort and durability.

Common choices include:

  • Stainless steel: Offers good corrosion resistance and a sleek look. Not the grippiest choice.
  • Coated aluminum: More lightweight than steel. Can add grippy coatings. Prone to scratches.
  • Titanium: Extremely strong yet lightweight. Low maintenance and durable. Very expensive.
  • Plastic/composite: Affordable option for basic to moderate use. Last well even with frequent/rough use. A brand this is often recommended are Rehadesign Pushrim Covers;

In general, metal pushrims offer the best durability for frequent or rough use. But plastic is cheaper for basic needs.

Added grip coatings (like rubber) provide extra traction and comfort on any material. This helps optimize contact and push mechanics.

Ideal Pushrim Design Qualities

Beyond materials, certain design qualities make for excellent pushrims:

  • Ergonomic shape: Contoured to fit the hand’s natural closed grip. Reduces strain.
  • Grip surface area: Wide enough for whole-hand contact. Prevents fingertip pressure.
  • Mounting: Quick-release and easy to remove. Enables maintenance.
  • Visibility: Color contrast against the wheels and chair frame. Improves safety.

Of course, individuals have unique needs and preferences. But these qualities optimize function, mobility and injury prevention.

Specific Pushrim Models and Features

Many pushrim models offer distinct features and benefits. A few top options:

  • Natural-Fit: Ergonomic shape fits hand contour. Black rubber coating prevents slippage
  • Q-Grip: Cushioned rubber surface improves grip. Easy to mount without tools
  • Surge: Replaceable silicone grip insert on aluminum rim. Bright green color aids visibility
  • Rehadesign Ultra Grip – affordable and durable rubber push rims that are easily mounted in seconds

Mobility shops can help find the ideal model for one’s needs and environment.

Research on Power-Assist Pushrims

Recent studies analyze the benefits of power-assist pushrims. These motorized wheels sense and amplify the user’s push force.

The reduced strain could prevent upper body overuse issues. Power-assist shows great promise to boost function.

Of course, these wheels add expense and width to a chair. But the independence and mobility gains appear substantial.

Innovations in Wheelchair Pushrim Design

Some novel wheelchair designs separate the pushrims from the drive wheels. This offers new advantages:

  • Improves wheelchair maneuverability and control[]
  • Allows wheel/pushrim customization to user size and needs
  • Pushrim location prevents contact with dirty drive wheels

The separation ensures hands stay clean after propulsion. This can help reduce secondary infections and pressure ulcer risk.

As technology advances, we will continue seeing pushrim innovations. The quest for improved propulsion and injury prevention persists.

Conclusion: Matching Users and Pushrims

Wheelchair pushrims serve critical propulsion and braking functions. Their grip, diameter, material and other factors impact mobility and health.

Choosing the right pushrim involves matching user strengths, range of motion and coordination abilities. Ergonomic shapes provide a better fit and reduce strain.

While often overlooked, pushrims deserve careful selection consideration given their profound impact. Consult mobility rehab experts to explore options and find the best possible fit.

With some research and customization, wheelchair users can reap substantial benefits from their all-important pushrims. Mobility, independence and pain-free wheeling await.

For wheelchair users who have poor grip or are tetrapleglic, this post discusses the best choices of handrims.

Key Takeaways:

  • Pushrims connect the user to the wheelchair – their design impacts propulsion, control and injury risk
  • Ergonomic shapes distribute pressure evenly and require less force to push
  • Power-assist pushrims boost efficiency and obstacle climbing while lowering repetition
  • Separating pushrims from drive wheels aids maneuverability and hand hygiene
  • Matching grip type, diameter and material to user ability and environment is key


About the Author: Duncan Edwards

  • Married to a spinal injured person, I’ve navigated the complexities of wheelchair accessibility and accessories firsthand.
  • My expertise extends to wheelchair pushrims, where I’ve spent years identifying the best options for comfort and efficiency.
  • Collaborating with Disability Horizons, I’ve reviewed countless wheelchair accessories, always seeking to enhance mobility and independence for users.
  • Supporting my partner and engaging with a community of wheelchair users has deepened my understanding and passion for accessible solutions.
  • My background in welfare benefits and managing Disability Horizons Shop has equipped me with a unique perspective on the needs of disabled individuals and their families.

Trays and Wheelchair Trays: Essential Tools for Social Inclusion for Disabled People

Lets eat together! How trays can make a difference to social inclusion.

confident individual in a wheelchair at a home setting, using a specialized tray to eat and drink independently.

What are trays and wheelchair trays?

  • Definition: Trays and wheelchair trays are flat surfaces used on tables or wheelchairs.
  • Purpose: They provide a stable platform for food, drinks, and other items.
  • Importance: Vital for disabled peopl, aiding in independent eating and drinking, and social activity participation.

How can trays and wheelchair trays promote social inclusion?

  • Independence: Enable disabled individuals to eat and drink independently, boosting self-esteem and confidence.
  • Participation in Social Activities: Facilitate involvement in gatherings, enhancing social interaction.
  • Accessibility: Improve access and reduce barriers, especially in public places like restaurants.

Examples of how trays and wheelchair trays can be used to promote social inclusion

  1. Spinal Cord Injury: Allows independent eating and drinking in various settings.
  2. Cerebral Palsy: Supports hands during eating and social activities like games.
  3. Visual Impairment: Assists in locating food and drinks, preventing spills.
  4. Developmental Disability: Aids in learning new skills such as using a knife and fork for eating, sensory toys and games.

Benefits of trays and wheelchair trays for social inclusion

 a diverse group of individuals, including people with disabilities, enjoying a social gathering around a table.

  • Autonomy and Independence
  • Boosted Self-Esteem and Confidence
  • Reduced Isolation and Dependence
  • Increased Social Participation
  • Enhanced Accessibility
  • Improved Quality of Life

How to choose the right tray or wheelchair tray

  • Consider User’s Needs: Size, shape, and special features like raised edges.
  • Intended Use: Different trays for eating/drinking and carrying items.
  • Environment of Use: Weatherproof options for outdoor use.

Enhancing Daily Independence: A Comparative Guide to the Tipsi Tray, Topple Tray, and Trabasack Mini Bag and Tray

Understanding Your Options for Enhanced Mobility and Convenience

When it comes to selecting aids that enhance daily living for individuals with disabilities, choosing the right product is crucial. Today, we’re focusing on three innovative products from Disability Health Shop: the Tipsi Tray, the Topple Tray, and the Trabasack Mini Bag and Tray.

Tipsi Tray: A Stable Solution for Shaky Hands

The Tipsi Tray is specifically designed for one-handed use, making it a perfect choice for individuals with conditions that result in shaky hands. Its level and stable design prevents spills, ensuring a hassle-free experience during your daily activities. Learn more about the Tipsi Tray here.

Topple Tray: Lightweight and Portable

Following the Tipsi Tray, the Topple Tray offers a more compact, lightweight solution. It maintains the benefits of single-handed use but adds the advantages of portability and ease. This tray is ideal for individuals who are always on the move. Discover more about the Topple Tray here.

Trabasack Mini Connect Bag and Tray: Versatile and Practical

Combining the functions of a travel bag and a wheelchair tray, the Trabasack Mini Bag and Tray is a game-changer. Not only does it provide a sturdy surface for various activities, but it also offers the convenience of a bag. Its velcro receptive surface ensures that items remain secure during travel. Get more details about the Trabasack Mini Connect Bag and Tray here.

Research showing the importance of sharing food and drink with friends and Family

.46 accessible restaurant setting designed for disabled people. The scene includes a spacious layout with wide aisles and tables

Research indicates that sharing food and drink and eating with other people is indeed important for social inclusion and well-being. Here are some key findings from the research:

  1. Importance of Belonging and Togetherness: Studies highlight the significance of belonging, togetherness, and interpersonal support in various cultures and religions, emphasizing that food rituals and communal eating are associated with improved physical health and reduced risks for various health conditions.
  2. Connection Between Social Eating and Happiness: Research from the University of Oxford reveals that the frequency of eating with others is positively correlated with feelings of happiness and satisfaction with life, indicating the importance of social eating in fostering well-being and social connections.
  3. Communal Eating and Social Bonding: The Washington Post discusses a study titled “Breaking Bread: The Functions of Social Eating,” which demonstrates a strong connection between communal eating and social bonding, suggesting that communal eating may have evolved as a mechanism for humans to enhance social connections and well-being.
  4. Evolutionary and Social Nature of Commensality: Scholarly discussions on commensality and food sharing highlight the evolutionary and social significance of eating together, emphasizing its role in connecting individuals as biological organisms to social beings and fostering internal solidarity.
  5. Food as a Means of Inclusion and Exclusion: The sharing of food is recognized as a means of inclusion, while eating separately or differently may contribute to exclusion. Food can serve as a language through which social affinities are expressed, and prohibitions on specific foods may differentiate between social selves and others[5].

In summary, the research consistently underscores the importance of sharing food and eating with others as a fundamental aspect of social inclusion, well-being, and the formation of social bonds across various cultures and societies


Where to purchase trays and wheelchair trays

  • Sources:
    • Medical Supply Stores
    • Online Retailers
    • Disability Organizations
    • NHS Wheelchair services may provide a tray, but it is not standard

Why we need the right wheelchair or specialist trays!

Trays and wheelchair trays play a crucial role in fostering social inclusion for disabled individuals, enhancing independence, participation, and quality of life.


How will Amazon Echo help disabled people?

Amazon Echo

The Amazon Echo

The Amazon Echo brings the digital assistant that most people have in their smartphones to their home and it makes a wide range of useful actions and activities much easier than before. From the perspective of disability, the Amazon Echo opens a whole new world of opportunities and can in fact may some day-to-day activities much more affordable than before. The devices and gadgets designed specifically for assistive and adaptive use are always expensive, but the Amazon Echo offers an affordable, versatile alternative.

The Amazon Echo or the newer version, the Echo Dot is a small yet effective device for managing your home and your lifestyle. It is voice activated and designed to do practically anything you can ask. To activate the Echo you need to activate Alexa, and sentences starting with ‘Alexa’ are instantly picked up by the clever device. From ordering groceries (from Amazon) to playing music and audiobooks, the Echo has many basic functions but it can be used in many more effective and potentially life changing ways too.

Amazon Echo and Environmental Controls

The Amazon Echo Dot

The newer Amazon Echo Dot

Living with disabilities may mean you have many adapted accessories and gadgets in your home. Very expensive gadgets have been created for individual tasks such as opening the curtains. Instead of investing in these Environmental Control devices, the Echo has the ability to connect with The Internet of Things.

Certain devices pair up with the Amazon Echo with ease and the list of items which pair is growing by the day. You can team the Echo with Philips Hue lights, the Nest thermostat and other household items such as specific brands of Wi-Fi speaker. In fact, if you fit a Wi-Fi-enabled switchbox, or get someone to do it for you, you can control any electrical device in your home.

It isn’t a replacement for a smartphone or computer but it can handle many everyday tasks and it becomes smarter by the day as developers look for new ways to make more from it.

Amazon Echo Skills

To further enhance your Echo experience, the creators regularly launch new ‘Skills’ for Alexa. These skills are like mini apps which allow you to give even more abilities to Alexa. Skills such as ‘the National Rail skill’ will let you plan journeys and find out about any rail delays. There are hundreds of Skills to explore which can again, make life easier and planning getting out and about less of a struggle.

Amazon Echo and Your Voice

There have been concerns over whether the Amazon Echo may struggle with artificial voices and synthetic speech but tests so far suggest Alexa has no problem understanding most commands from most voices. Using a communication aid should not limit what anyone can do with their Echo.

Affordable, Universal Design

The Amazon Echo offers an affordable alternative to the expensive assistive technologies usually available. It may not have been designed with disabled people in mind but the Amazon Echo is highly versatile and can bring real independence and ease to many people’s lives. Like the iPad it may be another disruptive technology that shakes up established healthcare companies that have been creating environmental control systems.

This video review gives a good overview of what the Echo can do and how it can become a key accessory in your home: