Wheelchair Footrest – Everything You Should Know

I’ve got a lot of my readers requesting a guide on the best wheelchair footrest for premium comfort. I liked the idea, so I met some of my friends, we did some testing, and I can proudly tell you we recorded some pretty amazing results.

Footrests are some of the most important parts of a wheelchair; the right footrest would allow you to feel comfortable on your chair, no matter how long you sit on it.

Proper feet and leg support are important for disabled people and cripples that depend on a wheelchair for mobility. If the footrest is absent in the chair or not properly installed, the wheelchair user can have severe pain and discomfort on the spinal cord, thigh, buttocks, and knee.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you should know about wheelchair footrest.

What Is A Wheelchair Footrest?

A wheelchair footrest also known as front rigging or hanger is a foothold at the front of the wheelchair where the user can place his feet to avoid injury when the chair is in motion and maintain balance.

So footrests are more than just platforms where you can rest your feet.

Depending on your preference, you can tailor your wheelchair footrests to suit your taste and enhance comfort. Children’s wheelchairs are best poised at a 90° angle, this way their feet are directly below their knees.

The best angle for adults and seniors are 70° and 60° respectively; this allows them to maintain balance in movement. However, 90° is the optimum position for every wheelchair user.

Most people do not know the difference between a footrest and a leg rest. A wheelchair leg rest differs from a footrest, even though they both look alike.

Footrests are a foothold where the feet of the user are placed for support. It is just a simple framework that supports the feet of the user.

Its iconic removable, flip-up, and swing-away hanger makes it easier to use.

While leg rest is a framework built into the wheelchair to support the legs of the user.

Leg rests has a calf pad that is mounted on a hanger to hold up the lower leg of the user when it’s elevated with no effort from the user. Just in case you still don’t get it, visit our guide on wheelchair leg rest for a more detailed explanation.

However, footrests are the most popular foot support for wheelchair users across the globe. Despite its basic looks, it plays a very important role in the wheelchair’s user comfort.

Types Of Wheelchair Footrests

Just in case you don’t know, not all wheelchairs are the same. The same fact applies to footrests; not all wheelchair footrests are the same. There are two major types of wheelchair footrest: one-piece footrest and two-piece footrest.

Both one-piece footrest and two-piece footrest perform the same function, but each one has a more specialized function than the other.

1. One-Piece Footrests

One-Piece Footrests also called wheelchair footboards or foot panels are special foot support for wheelchairs where both feet on a single firm platform.

These types of foot support are basically for cripples that require more care or need to be transferred in and out of the chair more frequently.

Athletic and sports wheelchairs are usually equipped with one-piece footrests. Since the base is firmer than those of the two-piece footrest.

This allows the user to enter and exit the wheelchair easier and faster. The firm platform promotes effortless movement.

2. Two-Piece Footrest

Two-piece footrests are the most common types of wheelchair footrest. These types of footrests are perfect for people with severe physical disabilities or health issues.

Most two-piece footrests usually come in removable, flip-up, and swing-away. These types of footrests are popular by most people because they come in a variety of styles, easy to adjust, and are recommended by doctors.

Two-piece footrests are replaceable and usually seen in most wheelchairs. Since they are very popular, you can easily replace it when it’s damaged using no special tool.

What Is The Best Footrest For Wheelchair

There are hundreds and thousands of wheelchair manufacturers out there and most of these manufactures produce other accessories like tires, rims, wheels, cushions, and footrest.

Choosing the right wheelchair footrest depends on your medical condition and the level of comfort that you want.

So far, we’ve been able to identify over a dozen wheelchair footrests that are perfect for general use. These footrests will help you maintain good posture and balance, no matter your condition and preference.

If you’re thinking of buying a pair of wheelchair footrest, we advise that you go for the Invacare Wheelchair Hemi Footrests with Aluminum Footplates, Skil-Care Wheelchair Footrest Extender, or the Bodypoint Wheelchair Calf Strap.

These footrests are easy to install, can be adjusted both up, down, left, or right, and perfect for general use. Visit our wheelchair footrest buying guide for more information on this subject.

How Does Wheelchair Footrest Promote Comfort?

Premium comfort in a wheelchair is fostered by good posture. Good sitting posture is identified by equal distribution of weight across both hips, feet spread across a flat solid surface, and knee poised at a 90° between Femur & Tibia.

Once the user is seated with his/her legs properly placed on a footrest, there is an equal distribution of weight below the torso; which promotes blood flow, ease pressure in the legs area, and eases tension in the hip joints, muscles, and lower back regions.

Wheelchair footrest is a very important part of every wheelchair. It plays a very important role in the comfort, health, and wellness of a wheelchair user.

This simple-looking gadget allows the user to maintain an optimum sitting position, improve good sitting posture, promote blood circulation in the legs, back, and buttocks.

Wheelchair footrest can even help you avoid common health issues like back pain, digestive complications, pressure sores, and even muscle pull.

Are Wheelchair Footrests Important?

Even though this part of the chair has a very simple appearance, it plays a very important role. Aside from providing comfort, the footrests of every wheelchair help raise the feet of the user.

If the person on the chair can’t control his/her legs, the footrest is there to hold it up, so he doesn’t have to drag his leg every time the chair is in motion.

Besides, the footrest helps you assume very confident poses when seated in your wheelchair.

What Is The Best Position For A Footrest?

All wheelchair footrests come with adjustable parts. There is no specific size or height that each footrest that should be placed. The primary purpose of every footrest is to ensure that the weight of the user is properly distributed.

However, it is important to learn how to adjust the footrest properly. If you place the footrest too high or too low, you will only make the person in the wheelchair uncomfortable and increase the risk of pressure sores.

Ensure that the position that you place the footrest will remove the pressure on their hip, back, or feet and distributes it across their thigh. It is however better to ensure that your footrest is at least 2” above the ground.

If you still don’t feel comfortable, even if your footrest is 2” above the ground, get advice from your doctor or physical therapist.

What is the Best Footrest For Wheelchair?

That’s a tough question to answer. We’ve taken time to look at some most dedicated footrests for wheelchairs, and we can boldly tell you that these footrests are perfect for general use.

If you depend on wheelchairs for mobility and have partial control over your legs, I’d advise you to go for the Invacare Economy Footrest.

I recommended these footrests because they can easily be folded to make the person get in and out of the chair without stress.

But if you’ve lost control of both feet, I’d advise you to go for the NYOrtho Wheelchair Foot-Rest Extender Elevating Pad. These types of footrests are perfect for you. You can easily remove them to help you fit into smaller places.

Since everyone has different needs, your choice of wheelchair footrest would depend on your medical or personal needs. You should check out our guide on the best footrest for wheelchairs.

We reviewed some of the most dynamic and best wheelchair footrests for disabled people and cripples.

About the author

Hi! I'm Jeffery Conner. I'm an architect, engineer, and wheelchair review blogger that enjoys sharing hacks and guides that would help people find the perfect wheelchair. I’ve been providing accessibility solutions and mobility aids to wheelchair users since 2012. In this blog, I’m going to share everything I know.

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