Which wheelchair is best for a tall person ? do we sell any wheelchairs specially designed for tall people ? We are often asked these questions so thought it about time to create a brief guide on what to look for in a wheelchair if you are tall.
The average height of men and woman in the UK is on the increase with UK males now averaging over 5'10" and females averaging 5'5". However most wheelchairs and mobility equipment tend to be of a standard size with a one size fits all approach by most manufacturers.
What is important for all wheelchair users is comfort and support particularly if you are spending long periods in the wheelchair. Taller people generally have longer legs than others which also makes it less easy to get on and off a wheelchair with a relatively low seat. So when you are looking for a wheelchair for a tall person the main things you are likely to look for are increased seat height and seat depth.
The wheelchair seat height is important to ensure that the user has sufficient room from the seat down to the foot rests. A good fit means that the wheelchair seat supports the leg from the hip to the knee joint. Seat depth is also key as tall people are generally longer in the thigh so require more seat depth.
Which wheelchair is best for a tall person ?
Seat depth is important as it determines where the wheelchair user is in relation to the rear wheels and the foot rests. If the seat depth is insufficient then the user is likely to be uncomfortable and lacking essential support. It can also make the wheelchair less maneuverable as the centre of gravity moves forward and is no longer over the rear wheels which makes turning the wheelchair less easy.
With an increase in seat height comes an increase in the seat back height. The gap between the seat and seat back generally remains the same so the base and top of the back rest are effectively higher and therefore providing better support for the taller user. Back rest height is particularly important for tall users as it provides back and neck support. This is especially important where the user lacks upper body strength.
With a greater seat height and seat backrest height the push handles of the wheelchair are generally higher which if often advantageous if the attendant or carer is also tall.
Reclining wheelchairs typically have higher seats with seat to floor measurements of over 20" and seat to foot rest range from 40cm - 53cm or 16" - 27". This makes them easier for the user to transfer on and off the wheelchair if they are tall. Backrests are also typically far longer and often include an additional head rest which offers further support particularly when reclined. Whilst many people purchase reclining wheelchairs for the benefit of the reclining facility, some tall people favour them for the increased seat height and extended backrest span.
If you are looking for a transit wheelchair for tall people please click here to see the Karma Tall Transit Wheelchair
If you are looking for a self propelled wheelchair for tall people please click here to see the Karma Tall Manual Wheelchair