Keep Calm and Stay Comfortable: How to Choose a Wheelchair Cushion

how to choose wheelchair cushion comfort

Roughly 90% of wheelchair users experience pain and discomfort due to their mobility devices. More than half of them have backache at least once a day, while others struggle with pressure stores. Repetitive strain injuries are common too for individuals using wheelchairs. 

The good news is, you don't have to spend thousands of dollars on a new wheelchair to get rid of aches. A quality wheelchair cushion can mitigate the effects of prolonged sitting and reduce pain. At the same time, it may improve postural alignment and provide optimal comfort. 

Depending on your needs, you can opt for honeycomb cushions, gel cushions, foam cushions, and everything in between. Gel cushions, for example, are slightly more expensive than other models but provide better stability. 

Not sure where to start with your wheelchair cushion search? Here's what you should look for in a wheelchair cushion and how to choose one that fits your lifestyle! 

Assess Your Needs 

First things first, assess your needs and determine what you want to change. 

For example, if you're struggling with pressure sores, consider choosing a wheelchair cushion that distributes your weight evenly. Ideally, look for models designed to increase airflow and decrease moisture retention. Take into account the following aspects: 

• Stability and comfort 
• Skin protection 
• Postural support 
• Cushion design and measurements 
• Frictional properties 
• User's height and weight 
• Fabrics 
• Maintenance requirements 
• Price 

A tall cushion, for instance, may provide more comfort and make it easier to grab things from hard-to-reach shelves. The downside is that can make it harder to fit your wheelchair under a desk or table. 

Consider your budget, too. Wheelchair cushions made from cheap materials may cause discomfort and increase your risk of soft tissue damage. They also tend to increase sweating, which may result in skin irritation. 

Research the Different Types of Cushions 

As mentioned earlier, wheelchair cushions can be made of gel, memory foam, polyurethane, and other materials. They also come in all shapes and sizes, from saddle-style cushions to wedge cushions. 

Take the time to research your options. Most sellers offer these models: 

• Foam cushions 
• Air cushions 
• Honeycomb cushions 
• Gel cushions 
• Coccyx seat cushions 
• Waffle-style cushions 
• Saddle-style cushions 
• Air-filled wheelchair cushions 
• Gel / foam cushions 
• Zero elevation cushions 

Foam wheelchair cushions, for example, are lightweight and distribute your body weight evenly. As a result, they may help reduce pressure on the sitting bones. These models also tend to be the least expensive. 

On the negative side, foam cushions don't last long and may lose their shape fairly quickly. Plus, this material tends to retain moisture and develop odors. 

Air and gel cushions, by comparison, have a cooling effect and offer greater pressure relief. They're also more durable and make a better choice for those with skin problems. 

If you're on the heavier side, look for an extra-large cushion. For optimal comfort, use it along with the best bariatric power wheelchair you can afford. This combo may help reduce pressure sores and aid in pain management. 

Choose a Quality Wheelchair Cushion for Optimal Comfort 

A quality wheelchair cushion is an investment in your health. It not only allows you to sit comfortably but also protects your skin and soft tissues. In the long run, it may reduce back, neck, and hip pain. 

Go online and research the different types of cushions out there for wheelchairs. Read about the wheelchair materials used and see what other consumers are saying about the products you're interested in. 

In the meantime, browse the rest of our blog for other tips on health and well-being! We'll show you how to save money on accessibility products, wheelchairs, canes, crutches, prescription medications, and so much more.

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