Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 49

Thread: Question about pushing myself in my chair...

  1. #1

    Question about pushing myself in my chair...

    OK, so I bought my chair on my own with no insurance so I got one close to my size and did as much tweaking as I could with the help of all you guys. I think i did a pretty good job. It is a TiLite ZRA 1 with 24 inch wheels and natural fit hand rims...

    Obviously I didn't go through any kind of training in how to use the chair. I tried to research on the internet for anything I could find. Not much.

    I am really having trouble pushing myself around. Sidewalks are murder with their slight slant dragging me to one side or the other.

    Flat indoor areas are wonderful, smooth and level, I don't have any problems there and could push myself forever.

    But out in the real world of hills and slants and bumps and curb cuts that are kind of steep I am a wreak! I can hardly get around and it sucks.

    I will admit that I am weak. For sure that is a problem. But not 'that' weak.

    But I am just wondering if there is something that I am missing. I will be pushing with one arm only for blocks and blocks and having to slow down the other wheel with the ever so slightly slanted sidewalks. It is exhausting. Then same thing in the other direction. Is this normal?

    I guess what I am asking is am I 'that' weak that I can't even push myself down a sidewalk or up a hill? Or am I doing something wrong when trying to push myself.

    It 'looks' so easy when I see other people doing it. It looks like they give one little push and they fly.

    My other issue is really steep short curb cuts I think I am going to tip over backwards. Scary, don't know what to do about those.

    My wheels seem to spin nice and straight... One front caster is a little sticky but only in it's turning direction not it's rolling around...
    Help the newbie!
    Thanks,
    Oli

  2. #2
    How long have you been at it? I would say it took six months between getting my first wheelchair and being able to do a full normal day in an inaccessible world with panache.

    Since you're on this forum, I'm going to assume you are one of the many folks who never got to go to rehab. We have special challenges - learning to do things other people were taught to do. I learned a ton from watching internet videos: everything from proper push styles to curb hopping and stair climbing and floor to chair transfers. My favorite site for that doesn't exist anymore, unfortunately, but I'm sure you can find alternatives out there.

    Being really, really good at wheelies was the core skill. I don't mean the pull backwards, push forwards cheaty thing, but being able to pop one instantly at any time, even while moving forward. That'll get you up and over most of life's obstacles, and it's the first step to hopping curbs.

    Anyhow, if you put in more details about what kind of ability you have to work with, I'd be happy to regurgitate the advice that applies to you that helped me through that time.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Oli View Post
    OK, so I bought my chair on my own with no insurance so I got one close to my size and did as much tweaking as I could with the help of all you guys. I think i did a pretty good job. It is a TiLite ZRA 1 with 24 inch wheels and natural fit hand rims...

    Obviously I didn't go through any kind of training in how to use the chair. I tried to research on the internet for anything I could find. Not much.

    I am really having trouble pushing myself around. Sidewalks are murder with their slight slant dragging me to one side or the other.

    Flat indoor areas are wonderful, smooth and level, I don't have any problems there and could push myself forever.

    But out in the real world of hills and slants and bumps and curb cuts that are kind of steep I am a wreak! I can hardly get around and it sucks.

    I will admit that I am weak. For sure that is a problem. But not 'that' weak.

    But I am just wondering if there is something that I am missing. I will be pushing with one arm only for blocks and blocks and having to slow down the other wheel with the ever so slightly slanted sidewalks. It is exhausting. Then same thing in the other direction. Is this normal?

    I guess what I am asking is am I 'that' weak that I can't even push myself down a sidewalk or up a hill? Or am I doing something wrong when trying to push myself.

    It 'looks' so easy when I see other people doing it. It looks like they give one little push and they fly.

    My other issue is really steep short curb cuts I think I am going to tip over backwards. Scary, don't know what to do about those.

    My wheels seem to spin nice and straight... One front caster is a little sticky but only in it's turning direction not it's rolling around...
    Help the newbie!
    Thanks,
    Oli
    Give yourself some time man, it gets easier.

  4. #4
    I can walk short distances so I am not in the chair full time. Only when I leave the house which is still not very often at all. I mostly slink around home and am a bit afraid to leave.

    Once I got my chair I trained my Service Dog to walk next to it and that was really fun (especially because my dog was so perfect)(and no, he can't pull the chair, he is too small). My husband pushed me around Home Depot and I thought life was going to be SO much easier. I pushed myself around HD and was having a ball because it was the first time I had left the house without any pain. It was almost a high.

    Since I have always avoided museums like the plague and my husband loves them, I agreed to go to my first museum. I decided we should park a little ways away so we could cruise up and down the main drag sidewalk and window shop and get some tea at the coffee shop and such.

    That is where my problems started. It never occurred to me that the side walk would be slightly slanted (for rain drainage). That was a killer. I felt completely helpless going up hill. I tried and tried until I pinched a nerve in my back doing it. Downhill was easier except for the slight slant dragging me towards the road every millisecond.

    So the nice smooth curb cuts I am fine with. The really steep ones I have basically just got stuck and leaned forward so I wouldn't fall backward and my hubby came to the rescue and pushed me up. I hate feeling so helpless.

    Anyway, before I start describing every little thing.... Is there any set of videos that really shows this stuff?

    I am working on wheelies. I am doing them with the couch behind me because I am terrible at them and apparently must be doing them totally wrong because I can get up there but only balance for a second. I am working on them though...

    I just feel clueless and weak and even more helpless than I did before. Which was pretty helpless.

    I was thinking of taking the chair and my dog to a running track and the local collage and just going around and around to get my arms stronger.... That still doesn't help my weird problems with anything slanting sideways...
    Oli

  5. #5
    Senior Member djrolling's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Salisbury NC
    Posts
    1,657
    I agree give yourself time there are lots of videos for navigating curbs and such as was pointed out and you could get some dumb bells to workout with. but carpet and outdoor surfaces are going to be harder but in time you will build yourself up and it will not be so hard. When I am pushing I tend to grab the push rims about even with my back rest that seems to give a good amount of room to push. If your sidewalks are slanted enough then that may be the cause problem you are speaking of. Learning to pop and ride a wheelie for a distance will cover a lot of situations. If there was a member near to where you live you might could learn a lot from them in a short time. Since you are new to this make sure you have the anti tippers on at first. Once you learn to do wheelies they will need to come off but till then not a bad idea. You are most likely seeing people that use chairs full time and may have been in them for years so yes it can look almost effortless.

  6. #6
    Yeah those steep curb cuts can be quite difficult, just remember momentum can certainly be your friend when getting up them. I usually try to line up straight with them from a distance and try to get a decent amount of speed going and it usually gets me up them, or at least past the most steepest part.

    Good Luck.

  7. #7
    Senior Member willingtocope's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Pleasant Hill Iowa
    Posts
    1,097
    I'm just learning too...couple of things I've noticed.

    I've got a Quickie II, with arm rests that swing back out of the way. Since I spend most of the day at work, the arm rests are usually down so I can sit at my desk. When I wheel myself around, the arm rests cut down on the amount of wheel I can grab...therefore I go a lot slower and have less control. I put the arm rests back, and I can grab a lot more wheel...lots easier.

    I've also got "knobby" tires...really great for traction, but hard on the hands. I usually wear leather gloves when I'm going more than 100 feet or so. The Quickie also has "hill climbers" on the brakes...they keep me from rolling backwards. Trouble is, I had to take the "anti-tip" wheels off the back, so I could maneuver into our van. Steep hills are still a "tip over backward" concern.

    I also need to build strenght. I've noticed (from the soreness afterwards) that it takes a different combination of muscles to turn the wheels than what you would normally use. A couple laps a day around a track would be a great idea. We've got a one floor big square building at work, and I'm going to try to get in a couple laps around the hallways.

    Even on level floors, I find I tend to wander to the right...which is strange, because my left arm is weaker. Getting everything stronger will probably sort it all out.

  8. #8
    Senior Member flicka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    California
    Posts
    3,553
    Quote Originally Posted by Oli View Post
    So the nice smooth curb cuts I am fine with. The really steep ones I have basically just got stuck and leaned forward so I wouldn't fall backward and my hubby came to the rescue and pushed me up. I hate feeling so helpless.
    There is no shame in backing up steep inclines. That's what I do...
    ____________________

    "We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."
    - Barack Obama

  9. #9
    Senior Member flicka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    California
    Posts
    3,553
    Quote Originally Posted by willingtocope View Post
    I've got a Quickie II, with arm rests that swing back out of the way. Since I spend most of the day at work, the arm rests are usually down so I can sit at my desk. When I wheel myself around, the arm rests cut down on the amount of wheel I can grab...therefore I go a lot slower and have less control. I put the arm rests back, and I can grab a lot more wheel...lots easier.
    Unless you need the arm rests for some reason, ditch them. I haven't had them on a chair in at least 20 years.
    ____________________

    "We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."
    - Barack Obama

  10. #10
    Hey Olli,

    I had the same problem with slanted curbs up until yesterday, when I got my new Quickie. Does your chair have camber? If not, see if there is some way to get 3 to 6 degrees of camber on it. My DME told me camber would help with the slanted curb thing, and two days of experience tells me he probably hit the nail on the head with that one. I opted for 3 degrees of camber to keep the chair as narrow as possible, and it seems to be enough.

    Like you, I'm still figuring out wheelies. It's definitely a question of training, mostly. I went to full time chair use about eight months ago. At first I had a hospital-grade chair and I thought wheelies would be impossible in it. Turns out that's not true. The trick to a wheelie, in any wheelchair, is to put your hands behind you (about where your backrest is) while leaning slightly forward. Depending on your chair's center of gravity, just bowing your head might be enough. Then, if you can, stretch your thumbs forward across your pushrims, and press slightly downward as you push. This will only give you a few seconds, but you'll be moving forward with your casters in the air, which should be enough to conquer many obstacles. I still haven't figured out yet how to keep moving forward like that once I have to move my hands to push again, though. If anyone has any insights on that, I'm listening.

    Random things that I have found helpful (and don't ask me why): because I have spasms, I usually tie the Velcro strip on my chair in front of my legs instead of behind. Somehow this makes wheelies easier. I also wear fingerless biker's gloves with rubber pads on the palms. Better grip equals easier propulsion. Oh yeah, high pressure tires help, too. If you have those, or any other kind of pneumatic tires, check that they're both fully and equally inflated.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by Saranoya; 04-02-2011 at 03:33 PM. Reason: Edited to add remark on tires

Similar Threads

  1. Question About Chair Tipping
    By nguyenbk in forum Equipment
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 01-31-2010, 11:33 PM
  2. DME question of need for a new chair.
    By 9000ft in forum Equipment
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-20-2009, 10:03 AM
  3. Shower Chair Question
    By JAYCUE in forum Equipment
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 08-22-2007, 03:47 PM
  4. power chair question
    By quartermile in forum Equipment
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 03-11-2007, 02:25 PM
  5. Yup, Another chair question.
    By monkeygirl in forum Life
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-12-2004, 06:36 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •