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The Use of Footplates on Wheelchairs

Updated April 17, 2017

Footplates provide foot support for wheelchair-bound users and prevent their feet from dragging on the ground. Footplates, and the footrests attaching them to the wheelchair, come at a variety of settings to improve the rider's use on wheelchairs.

Standard Footrest Angles

Child wheelchairs have footrests positioned at 90-degree angles to the thighs, directly below the knees. Adult wheelchairs have footrests positioned at 70 or 60 degrees to the thighs, slightly ahead of the knees. A larger angle has a shorter turning radius and fits better in tight places. Footrests on adult wheelchairs cause the footplates to hang too close to the front wheels when placed at 90 degrees.

Footplate Options

Standard footplates sit at a 90-degree angle to the footrest and support the heel to the ball of the foot. Angle adjustable footplates move forward to back and side-to-side to accommodate more specific footing needs. Footboards rest at a standard angle but provide a wider platform for resting the rider's feet.

Removable Footplates

Most footplates fold to a vertical position or completely detach in order to allow wheelchair users to move in and out of the chair more easily. This feature also makes wheelchairs more portable.

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About the Author

Caitlynn Lowe has been writing since 2006 and has been a contributing writer for Huntington University's "Mnemosyne" and "Huntingtonian." Her writing has also been in "Ictus" and "Struggle Creek: A Novel Story." Lowe earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Huntington University.