What Is the Best Way To Propel a Manual Wheelchair?

The semicircular motion (left) is the best-propelling action. Compared to the other three actions, the semi-circular has a more extended implementation, which means the user will need to propel less frequently, therefore causing no additional stress on the joints. 

The arc-shaped mode (third picture) is most likely being used to go uphill, with smaller and more frequent propels, to prevent the wheelchair from sliding backward. 

The contact and release points of different wheelchair propels. Source: Science Direct 

A great demonstration of how to propel a wheelchair in action. Source:  Propulsion Training

This clip should give you a good idea of the correct way to self propel a wheelchair. Remember: The length of a single-wheel push should be as long as possible, and the frequency of pushes should be as minimal as possible. 

How can wheel size contribute to the best wheelchair propel?

The larger the diameter of the rear wheel, the larger the force is needed to push it. A 20” rear wheel will make a wheelchair lightweight and will take less effort to propel. The narrower the tires, the less friction there is with the ground, and the easier it is to propel. 

Similarly, the smaller or narrower the front wheels are, the lower the frictional force with the ground, which is more labor-saving and agile. However, smaller wheels can also get stuck on uneven roads or obstacles.

We’re here to help

Not every wheelchair can be adjusted. You might need to find the best adjustable manual wheelchair first. With the correct rear wheel axle position, wheelchair adjustments, and proper propelling methods after training, the best wheel propelling can be achieved, and the probability of Repetitive Strain Injuries reduced. KARMA Malaysia is always here to assist. Talk to a KARMA representative today! 

Call us: 03-5612 1921 / 010 – 238 1921

Email us: [email protected]

KARMA’s rear wheel adjustable manual wheelchairs: