How To Make A Wheelchair More Comfortable? Ways 2023

Written By Cardiologist
How To Make A Wheelchair More Comfortable?  Ways 2023

When you’re a wheelchair user, your chair is with you wherever you go.

You might be spending a lot of time in it and even start to feel like it’s part of your identity.

However, even such an important piece of equipment can become annoying and uncomfortable if not well-maintained and optimally customized.

4 Ways to Make Your Wheelchair More Comfortable

  1. Upgrade The Armrests.
  2. Splurge On A Wheelchair Seat Cushion.
  3. Incorporate Proper Lumbar Support.
  4. Add Accessories To Make Life More Convenient.

However, as the old saying goes: no pain, no gain. A little bit of tweaking here or there will make all the difference when it comes to feeling more at home on your wheels.

Here are some detailed tips on how to make your wheelchair more comfortable and accessible.

7 Detailed Tips To Make Your Wheelchair More Comfortable And Accessible

How To Make A Wheelchair More Comfortable?


Change Your Chair’s Position

Doing this might seem like common sense, but your chair’s position should be changed according to the circumstances. For example, when you are driving, put the chair on so that your hands can reach the wheel easily.

Change Your Chair’s Position

When you are eating, make sure your lap is free from obstructions, so that you don’t stain your clothes with food. When you’re reading or watching TV, make sure your arms are relaxed and not strained.

Similarly, when you go to sleep in your wheelchair, make sure you have proper back support and your chair is in the right position. When you’re in public, try to put the chair on so that you can interact with others easily.


Get A Good Cushion And Pad

If you don’t have a good cushion, you won’t be comfortable in your wheelchair for even five minutes. A cushion is a must-have item that will help you get through the day pain-free. Moreover, it can help you detect any issues with your body that you might be otherwise ignoring or not aware of.

Get A Good Cushion And Pad

A good recommendation is to get a gel or memory foam cushion. You can take care of the rest by adding a wheelchair pad for comfort and protection. When you are behind the wheel, a good seat cover can protect your chair from excessive wear and tear. You can also get a wheelchair cushion cover for extra comfort and decoration.

There are many different types of cushions available, including orthopedic, gel, and memory foam. You may want to get an extra thick cushion if you have pain in your hips, knees, or ankles when you are sitting. You can get a cushion with a removable cover so that you can clean it whenever needed.


Use The Right Wheelchair Cushion For Your Needs

As mentioned earlier, the right wheelchair cushion can make a world of difference. A wrong cushion can not only be uncomfortable but can also lead to health issues down the road. So, make sure you get a cushion made of hypoallergenic material that’s not only comfortable but helps with the pressure points that come with long-term sitting.

Use The Right Wheelchair Cushion For Your Needs

You may want to look for a ventilated cushion, which provides superior airflow, keeping you cool and relaxed. If you suffer from a medical condition like fibromyalgia, diabetes, or arthritis, you might want to get a specialized cushion for extra support and comfort.

A good example of this would be a gel or memory foam cushion that relieves pressure on the body and provides extra support for areas like the hips, knees, and spine. Such a cushion will also help you maintain the proper posture and keep you from slouching.


Choose A Wheelchair Ramp Or Slope

Wheelchairs, by default, aren’t made for climbing stairs. In fact, many don’t even have handrails and can’t be used outdoors due to their design and inability to handle uneven surfaces. So, you might need a wheelchair ramp or even a slope to be able to use your chair freely and without restrictions.

Choose A Wheelchair Ramp Or Slope

A wheelchair ramp can help you go up or down a curb or a set of stairs. While there are some models that fold up for easy transport, others are built to stay in place. Wheelchair ramps come in different materials, including aluminum, steel, and wood. They all have different advantages and disadvantages.

If you’re getting a ramp for indoor use, look for a model that is slip-resistant. This will help to prevent trips and falls. You may also want to consider getting a ramp that is wide enough for your wheelchair and that has a handrail for extra support.


Add Footrests

Footrests are a common modification to wheelchairs that help users rest their legs. They are especially useful for people who use a wheelchair for long periods of time. Having footrests on your wheelchair can reduce pressure and fatigue on the legs and feet.

Add Footrests

They also help users maintain better posture and keep their hips and shoulders in a comfortable position. There are many different types of footrests designed to fit different types of wheelchairs. They are usually easy to install and come in a variety of colors and designs, including wood, fabric, and plastic.

You can choose one that matches the style of your wheelchair. Some footrests have built-in pedals to make it easier to propel the wheelchair. These are helpful for people who have trouble using their feet or legs. They also come in different sizes, materials, and designs to fit most types of wheelchairs.


Add Armrests Or Handrails

Yes, armrests might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re thinking about wheelchair modifications. However, they can make a significant difference in your overall comfort levels. Many wheelchairs already come with removable armrests, but you can also add a hand grip for increased safety and control.

Add Armrests Or Handrails

Armrests are a good option for people who have a hard time keeping their balance. They can use the armrests for support and help them stay balanced while moving around. If your wheelchair doesn’t have armrests, you can add them. They come in many different styles and designs and are easy to install.

You can also get armrests that are adjustable so that they can be customized to your needs and preferences. Armrests aren’t just great for safety and support, but they are also great for styling. You can choose armrests in many different colors, designs, and materials, like leather or fabric. You can also get armrests that have built-in cup holders or storage compartments for added convenience.


Don’t Forget The Back Support!

We’ve talked about the importance of a good wheelchair cushion and the importance of back support, but we have yet to go over the best way to achieve both. If you are going to spend a significant amount of time in your wheelchair, you need to make sure that your back is properly supported.

Don’t Forget The Back Support!

Otherwise, you risk developing posture issues and even chronic pain. Fortunately, there are many different types of back support cushions available. You can choose between a lumbar support and a full-length support cushion. A lumbar support is designed to put pressure on your lower back, while a full-length support cushion can help with your entire back.

You can also get a combination cushion that has both types of support. When choosing a back support cushion, make sure that it is the right size and thickness for your body type and that it comes with a warranty. You can also get a cushion that has features like a heat or massage function. These can help relax your muscles and make your wheelchair sessions more enjoyable.


When you’re in a wheelchair, you’re going to be spending a significant amount of time in it. It’s important to make sure it’s as comfortable and accessible as possible.

Wheelchairs are often uncomfortable if you don’t have the right cushion or if they’re not correctly fitted. They can also be difficult to use and access if they aren’t designed well.

Make sure that your chair is customized to your needs and that it has the right modifications to make it more comfortable and accessible.


How can I add cushioning to my wheelchair?

You can add cushioning to your wheelchair by purchasing a cushion specifically designed for wheelchairs. These can be found at medical supply stores or online. You can also use a regular cushion, such as a memory foam cushion, but make sure it fits properly and does not interfere with the functioning of the wheelchair.

Can I adjust the lumbar support on my wheelchair?

Many wheelchairs come with adjustable lumbar support, but if yours does not, you can purchase a lumbar support pillow that can be attached to the backrest.

Are there armrest pads specifically designed for wheelchairs?

Yes, there are armrest pads specifically designed for wheelchairs that can be found at medical supply stores or online.

Tiny Nair

Article by

Tiny Nair, MD, DM, FACC, FRCP, is a cardiologist and head of Dept of Cardiology at PRS Hospital in Trivandrum. He is also an author, fluent in Middle English and offers consultations on finding the best wheelchair according to individual needs.