Today, there are several different wheelchairs available, but the most common is the steel-framed wheelchair.
This type of manual wheelchair shares the design, which was developed over eighty years ago, and is found in most hospitals.
They are also referred to as Traditional wheelchairs, standard wheelchairs, or Conventional Wheelchairs.
Below, you will find a diagram of a traditional wheelchair and a list of its components.
Click on any of the links to find out its description, or you can scroll down the page.
The footrests also called footplates, and foot pedals can be adjusted to accommodate different lengths and rotate.
The leg rest extends from the front of the wheelchair, and the Footrest is attached to the legrest.
3, Front Rigging
The front rigging refers to the footrest arm and the legrest as a single unit.
In most conventional wheelchairs, the front rigging can be removed, but this is not always the case in less expensive models.
It can also often be elevated to provide an elevated leg rest.
The conventional wheelchair frame is made out of cold-rolled steel that is chrome plated.
The Frame is the heaviest part of the wheelchair, and it can weigh up to 50 pounds, but a stainless steel frame is also available that weighs about ten pounds less.
Like the other fabric parts of a conventional wheelchair, the Seat is made from vinyl and uses a sling design.
Multiple colors are often available, and the vinyl fabric makes it very easy to clean.
6, Metal Skirt
The metal skirt is installed on either side of a conventional wheelchair between the armrests.
It is designed to protect the user’s clothes from dirt, moisture, and debris kicked up by the wheels.
Metal Skirts also prevent the user’s clothes from becoming caught in the wheelchair.
There are two types of armrests: Full length and Desk Type.
The armrests are secured to the Frame in two places and are designed to be very sturdy.
The Backrest height is fixed and typically is about 16 inches high.
However, reclining backrests and extending backrests are available as options for most conventional wheelchairs.
9, Push Handles
The Push Handles are located on the back of the wheelchair, and rubber handles are installed to make them more comfortable.
10, Push Axle
The Push Axle ensures provides support for the push handles and is at a fixed height.
11, Rear Wheels
Typically the rear wheels will be 24 inches in diameter.
Both Pneumatic and Solid tires are used. The rear wheels are used for the manual propulsion of the wheelchair.
12, Hand Rims
The hand rims extend outwards from the rear wheel.
They are typically chrome plated and are used to propel the wheelchair.
The brakes are located on the large rear wheels.
They are typically located on the front of the wheel next to the bottom of the Seat.
14, Tipping Lever
The tipping lever extends from the bottom of the Frame and is designed to make it easier to move the wheelchair over obstacles, such as curbs.
The person pushing the wheelchair will put weight on the tipping lever, which causes the wheelchair to tip backward.
The crossbars are located under the Seat and allow the wheelchair to be easily folded for storage and transportation.
There are typically no locks to keep the conventional wheelchair from folding, but instead, the user’s weight prevents the wheelchair from being folded.
16, Caster Wheels
The wheels of a conventional wheelchair are called caster wheels and are typically 8 inches in diameter.
They are typically made of solid rubber, but for outdoor use, pneumatic tires are recommended.
17, Anti-Tip Casters (Not Pictured)
Anti-Tip Casters are not always present on conventional wheelchairs, but they can usually be added.
They are designed to prevent the wheelchair from tipping over backward.
If the wheelchair tips over too far, the anti-tip casters contact the ground, preventing it from completely tipping over.
The conventional wheelchair remains one of the most popular and recognized types of manual wheelchairs available.
They are often available in several different colors, and many offers features to make them easier to use, such as removable armrests to make transferring into and out of the wheelchair easier.
They can be seen in public areas, like hotels, airports, grocery stores, and hospitals, which offer wheelchairs for their patrons to use.