Wheelchair Elevating Legrests Guide
A legrest which can be elevated placing the leg in an extended (knee straight) position. Most have some type of calf pad which may be padded or hard. Footplate and calf pad can be readjusted for improved alignment and placement. Some have an articulating feature which allows the legrest to be extended and become longer as the rest is elevated. This item is most commonly ordered for edema (swelling) control.
Advantages of Elevating Legrests
- Maintains the leg in an extended position. This works well for those users who have limited knee flexion (knee is fixed in a straight position), or for those who require this position post operatively.
- On a chair with a powered recline system, powered elevating legrests are useful in helping a user obtain a supine (laying on back) or reclined position independently.
- The ability to change leg position is sometimes helpful in resolving discomfort or pain issues in the lower extremities.
Disadvantages of Elevating Legrests
- Elevating legrests will add a considerable amount of weight to the wheelchair.
- They have a number of moving parts that may lock up or become difficult to deal with.
- It requires a certain amount of coordination and strength to work this item independently. The user must bend over to one side, depress a lever and lift the leg and device weight all at once.
- The extent of edema (swelling) control is questionable. In the most elevated position the extremity is nowhere near the level of the user's heart.
- Depending on the length of the legrest, elevating the leg may result in flexing the knee.
- When the legrest is elevated it makes the chair longer resulting in the need for increased turning space.
- After a period of time the legrest hanger attachments become warped or worn from the weight of supporting the legs, and the legrests take on an abducted (away from each other) position when loaded. This results in poor positioning of the legs and hips.
- Legrest pads may push against the user's calfs and pull the user forward on the seat resulting in a sacral sitting (slouched) posture.
- The joint at the highest point of the legrest may rub on the outside of the user's leg.
- Elevating legrests increase the cost of the wheelchair.
- This is one item that will make your cool wheelchair look like hell real quick.
Commonly used with no arm rests or tubular arms.
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