The wheelchair has been around for literally hundreds of years, and what is perhaps most startling about this is that their basic design, in all those centuries, has simply not changed much (the clever and advanced designs for electric wheelchairs, hot rod models, and all-terrain access notwithstanding). Innovations tend to focus on the people sitting in the chair and not those who aid in mobility by pushing the chair.
Normal chair handles put a strain on the back, arms, and wrists of the pusher which, over time, can result in injuries such as pulled muscles or even carpal tunnel syndrome. Until now, there were no other options for pushing a wheelchair user than these standardized horizontal handles.
Now, a new product has come along that takes chair pushers into account. The product, called Wheelchairhandles, consists of specialized grips that slip over the traditional horizontal handles on wheelchairs and provide a more ergonomic and comfortable grip which, the manufacturer claims, is so superior that it even makes it possible to push a chair on the sandy surface of a beach.
According to designers at Wheelchairhandles, the devices “take the stress away from pushing up the steepest hills and makes it easier to navigate the bumpiest of sidewalks.” The new handles allow for several different forms of grip, including overhand, underhand, and pistol grip arrangements.
Wheechairhandles’ founder was inspired to come up with the grips because of his difficulties with a friend’s mobility chair. The chair user lived on a hill overlooking the ocean. For an able-bodied person, the walk to the beach was only about five minutes. Pushing the wheelchair user was an ordeal, a massive exercise in strength and endurance. The idea for Wheelchairhandles emerged during his thought process to develop an easier way to transport his friend to the beach.
The grips secure to the chair via three attachment points and are constructed of a nearly unbreakable polymer which can withstand more than 800 lbs. of pressure. In addition, they are covered with an anti-bacterial coating and can be cleaned with any normal household cleaner.
The devices are supported for use on 99% of all standard wheelchairs which feature a grip measuring smaller than 1.5 inches in diameter. Unfortunately, they don’t fit chairs that have handle breaks at this time. Here’s a very short video that offers a glimpse of Wheelchairhandles in action and a longer video showing how to install them. We’d love to hear from the “pushers” (the awesome kind!) What’s your take on this new concept for wheelchair handles?