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Thread: Wheelchair fit and physics help

  1. #1

    Wheelchair fit and physics help

    Helloo! So, I'm working on getting a new TiLite, to replace the ZRA I've been in for 3 years. Best chair I've ever had, but I am needing some different fit tweaks, for me and my lifestyle. At least I don't face plant as much as past chairs in this one, but having a high octane dog pulling me at fast speeds, and being highly active in an area with bad sidewalks is tough on caster mechanics I think. I'm including a video of me tugging with my dog...we do IPO, a protection sport, and I have high aspirations to compete Nationally with my talented pup. But it involves a lot of tugging with training, and I find that I don't feel IN my chair as much as I should. Like a longer frame for sure, and I think footplates need to be up a tad higher. Having Spina Bifida makes my physical stuff a bit different. My legs don't tuck, they're short as hell, and with my spinal curvature, having dump is not optimal. Can folks tell by the video what types of things I might need to look at changing? I do worry about raising up footplate height, as I have a Freewheel Attachment that was already customized for where the footplate is on this chair. (Love that FreeWheel!) I wonder about backs, too, because I can't really lean back while wheeling, or even just sitting in this one, as the way I curve makes it so I'm not supported well. But it ends up making my posture worse, not having support.
    I just want to make sure I get the perfect fit this time, for once! Really feel like a chair is part of me. Here's the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjGjZheRVGc

  2. #2
    Senior Member elarson's Avatar
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    Loved the video - thanks for sharing. You both seem like you will do really well at it. It looks like a great way to stay in shape. Is IPO the same is Schutzhund?

    I can see where a more sports oriented chair might be better for you, or at least when training/competing. I'm not very knowledgeable that way, but I'm sure others will pipe in.
    Partner of an incredible stroke survivor. Limitations: hemiparesis and neglect (functional paralysis and complete lack of awareness on one side). Equipment: TiLite ZRA 2 and 2GX, Spinergy ZX-1, RioMobility Firefly. Knowledge: relative newbie for high-level equipment (2012), but willing to try to help others who are new with similar limitations (definitely not a guru, but inquisitive).

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by heartdog View Post
    Helloo! So, I'm working on getting a new TiLite, to replace the ZRA I've been in for 3 years. Best chair I've ever had, but I am needing some different fit tweaks, for me and my lifestyle. At least I don't face plant as much as past chairs in this one, but having a high octane dog pulling me at fast speeds, and being highly active in an area with bad sidewalks is tough on caster mechanics I think.
    Background: I have no experience being pulled by a dog, but plenty of experience coasting very fast down long hills on old pavement in my AeroZ. I can stand and have been able to avoid a majority of endos by instinctively sticking a foot out just in time. But I must aways watch the road ahead very carefully, and slow down very quickly when an endo hazard approaches (I have MagicWheels<low-gear braking> with Surges, and I wear rappelling gloves). I also wear a skateboard helmet just in case when I know I'll be going fast downhill; I have about 4" of dump (without which I'd have slid from my chair many times); my casters are 5" aluminum hub softroll FrogLegs, and I installed custom made brackets to extend the stock TiLite fork trail to keep caster flutter from endoing me. I tried a FreeWheel, but returned it because it actually impeded my lifestyle (currently I'm working toward trying a Rio Mobility Dragonfly). Oh yeah, during my AB years I frequently roller skated both indoors and out, so I sort of learned how to fall with minimal injury (knock on wood).

    You have small casters (3" or 4"?), which are great for smooth surface maneuverability, but are endos waiting to happen on old pavement especially tethered to a fast dog. Can you use the FW when being pulled? Doing so would eliminate the caster-catch endos.

    A drastic choice would be getting an all terrain TR:
    Name:  AllTerrain TR.JPG
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Size:  96.1 KB


    Quote Originally Posted by heartdog View Post
    I'm including a video of me tugging with my dog...we do IPO, a protection sport, and I have high aspirations to compete Nationally with my talented pup. But it involves a lot of tugging with training, and I find that I don't feel IN my chair as much as I should. Like a longer frame for sure, and I think footplates need to be up a tad higher. Having Spina Bifida makes my physical stuff a bit different. My legs don't tuck, they're short as hell, and with my spinal curvature, having dump is not optimal. Can folks tell by the video what types of things I might need to look at changing? I do worry about raising up footplate height, as I have a Freewheel Attachment that was already customized for where the footplate is on this chair. (Love that FreeWheel!)
    Because you don't want more dump you might consider wearing a seat belt when IPOing; at least your chair would remain attached wherever you went.

    I do frequently and instinctively push on my footplate with my legs, and that ability helps me feel more secure, too. If you have sufficient leg function, I believe having firm contact between feet and footrest would be a big help. (You could 'raise' your footrest for your feet {and not the FW} by fastening some pieces of wood/plastic to the footrest beneath your feet, leaving the center available for FW attachment.)

    Quote Originally Posted by heartdog View Post
    I wonder about backs, too, because I can't really lean back while wheeling, or even just sitting in this one, as the way I curve makes it so I'm not supported well. But it ends up making my posture worse, not having support.
    I just want to make sure I get the perfect fit this time, for once! Really feel like a chair is part of me. Here's the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjGjZheRVGc
    I won't offer any comments on backs; I just don't know enough.

    Great video
    Chas
    TiLite TR3
    Dual-Axle TR3 with RioMobility DragonFly
    I am a person with mild/moderate hexaparesis (impaired movement in 4 limbs, head, & torso) caused by RRMS w/TM C7&T7 incomplete.

    "I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but what I don't think you realize is that what you heard is not what I meant."
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  4. #4
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    I second Chas's advice about keeping the footplate where it is (so it works with your custom FreeWheel) but raising your feet up with a couple of blocks of wood, rubber, or some handy material. (You need one for each foot so there's a channel between for the FreeWheel to attach to.) This is something you could try on your current chair to see if it helps you feel more 'in' your chair.

    How do you feel about your current wheel size (which I can't actually discern)? My disability is very different from yours and from most of the other folks here, but I find that bigger wheels not only help my t-rex arms reach effectively, but they make me feel more 'in' the chair because they rise up higher on either side of me. I currently use 25"s on one chair and 26"s on the backup. Then there's 700c wheels above that--I know a guy who uses these. Bigger wheels are supposed to be harder to start moving and easier to keep moving, but I'm not sure your dog would notice the extra startup effort. :-) Again, bigger wheels is something you can try on your current chair to see if it helps, just find a fellow wheelie with a pair to lend. Swapping on larger rear wheels may throw your castor forks out of vertical, but that won't matter too much for a brief experiment where you're just seeing how the wheels feel to you, and won't matter with your FW on (assuming it will still attach).

    FWIW, the advice I got when I was going through the new-chair process two-ish years ago was that the amount of dump I'd had on my chair for the previous four years had likely exacerbated my spinal deformity (particularly the hyper-lordosis) and that I should be going for a chair with less dump. In the end, after trying the options, I've ended up with even more dump, because I just can't give up the performance advantage! Your mileage will probably vary. :-)

    I'm sure others will have much more perceptive advice.

  5. #5
    Yes, I think some rubber would be great, actually, because I only need maybe a half inch and it feels more secure when I'm leaning forward, like tying my shoes. That, and extending the frame out another couple inches. Seat belt isn't a bad idea for when I'm tugging. LOL. Yes, IPO is Schutzhund. Renamed it. Not sure why I didn't put that heh. I love using the freewheel, and I have to right now, because the bearing housing has wallowed out enough where I get a ton of flutter, and random sticks, which make my chair jerk to one side. I put lube in a lot, but it's just 'sticky' still. Maybe some bike shop messed it up way back and it just got worse after.

    My wheels in front, the casters, are 4" I believe. 5" I've used, and I think I should go for, because it helped a lot. The others are 25" Spinergy. I wouldn't mind having them a bit lower, but it's not bad. Higher, I don't think so. LOL yeah, the keep moving part the dog helps with! For me, dump sucks because I have a very short torso, and it makes me feel squeezed in. But, when the chair tilts with the freewheel on, I don't mind that. Weird. What about backs. I thought it would be helpful for me, but someone said that those rounded backs might not be good with my curvature. It was a PT that said so, not sure if I believe her haha.

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