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Wheelchair Adaptions to Avoid Joint Contractures

Wheelchairs offer a renewed sense of modified independence post amputation of a limb. An individual with limb loss may once have been confined to a bed post- operatively, and can now navigate the community using a wheelchair!  This becomes a problem if the wheelchair is not modified for the individual with limb loss. Sitting in the chair position can increase the risk of knee flexion, hip flexion, and hip external rotation contractures. To avoid this complicated problem, but still have the benefit of modified independent, be sure to uses leg troughs to increase knee extension as seen in the above picture. If this is not an option, a sliding board can be placed on the chair to keep the knee held into extension. Also, Velcro strips or theraband can be gently secured around bilateral thighs to increase hip internal rotation and avoid contractures from prolonged sitting. Your local DME provider should be able to modify any chair to assist the individual with limb loss so that they can navigate the community without fear of joint contractures!

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