wheel comfort


Why do we need a Padded Footplate?

Hard, metallic footplates are more than uncomfortable for the barefooted wheelchair user: they are downright dangerous. For feet that are wet after a shower, at the pool, or on the beach, feet can easily slip off the hard and often sharp surfaces used for most footplates. Also, bare feet left on these hard surfaces can lead to painful and dangerous pressure sores. In addition, as most footplates are measured for life with shoes on, bare feet can lose contact with the footplates, making them susceptible to breaks, cuts, and bruises.

For example:

  • Circulation and nerve impingement Lack of proper foot support may result in increased pressure behind the knees, resulting in neurovascular impingement. This can lead to permanent nerve damage and swelling of the lower extremities.
  • Posture and Function Proper foot support ensures the hip angle is maintained. Hip angle influences pelvic alignment, which, in turn, influences spinal alignment and stability. Consistent hip angle and thigh support on the cushion are absolutely crucial to pelvic stability, and cannot be maintained without consistent foot support.
  • Skin outcomes Without footwear, bare feet are prone to cuts, abrasions, and pressure ulcers from the hard materials and sharp edges of a typical wheelchair footplates.
  • Safety If the feet are not secured on to the footplates, then the feet are prone to fall off the footplates and dangle dangerously outside the protective structure of the wheelchair frame. Without proper support, the lower extremities are at risk of incurring fracture against furniture, doorways, and other architectural barriers.
    • Will the Padded Footplates work with any wheelchair?

      YES. The Wheel Comfort Padded Footplates are designed to fit any and all wheelchairs with either single or dual footplates.

      Is there any assembly required?

      Absolutely not. No clamps, allen wrenches, nuts or bolts are required to use the Wheel Comfort Padded Footplates. It comes on and off at your leisure, with the same ease as putting on your shoes. To view our simple instructions for applying the pads, click here.

      Will the pads degrade under the elements?

      Wheel Comfort Padded Footplates are designed to withstand all weather conditions, and our durable, pressure-tested plastic stands up to the wear and tear that wheelchairs endure on a daily basis.

      How long will the Padded Footplate last?

      The Wheel Comfort Padded Footplate is highly durable and long lasting, though customers are offered a one-year warranty should any problem arise.

      How do we clean the Padded Footplates?

      Soap and water will do just fine.

      Are Wheel Comfort Padded Footplates covered by Medicare?

      While the $5000 surgery for treatment of pressure sores is eligible for Medicare, for some reason this simple, affordable preventative measure is not currently eligible, though we are in the process of applying for coverage.

      How did you come up with this?

      At age 25 I was struck by a car and rendered a T-6 paraplegic, confining me to a wheelchair. Since then I’ve dedicated my life to helping others, particularly the disabled; Wheel Comfort is just one manifestation of this. Living in a seated position for the first time in my life, protecting my bare feet was one of various obstacles I faced. Most wheelchairs are designed to accommodate shoes and sneakers, so showering, visiting the pool, and going to the beach with my family all presented a dilemma in protecting my bare feet from the hard, metallic footplates. After numerous scrapes, bruises, and near-breaks, I came up with a homemade solution with the help of my mother, a trained physical therapist. It worked so well for me that I wanted to make it available for others, and so Wheel Comfort, the Padded Footplate, was born. Click here for a full bio of Wheel Comfort inventor Ethan Ruby.