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How to Improve the Grip on Wheelchair Rims

Updated August 13, 2017

Wheelchairs provide independence to people with limited mobility due to physical disabilities. Manual wheelchairs use upper body strength and endurance and are propelled by gripping the rims on the outside of each wheel and pushing or pulling to move in the desired direction. Wheelchair rims are typically made of metal making it difficult for you to maintain a strong grip. You can improve your ability to grip your wheelchair rims without the need for you to wear bike gloves or purchase a rim cover from a manufacturer.

Calculate the circumference of your wheelchair rim by measuring the diameter, or distance from one edge of the rim to the opposite side, then multiply that number by 3.14 (Pi). Measure the diameter, or distance around the wheelchair rim.

Purchase pipe insulation at a local home improvement store using the measurements obtained in step one to determine the correct size.

Wrap the pipe insulation around the rim of the wheel. Secure in place by wrapping electrical tape tightly around the pipe insulation, overlapping half the width with each layer.

Things You'll Need

  • measuring tape
  • calculator
  • pipe insulation
  • 2 inch wide electrical tape
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About the Author

Aubrey Bailey has been writing health-related articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in ADVANCE for Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine. She holds a Bachelor of Science in physical therapy and Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University at Buffalo, as well as a post-professional Doctor of Physical Therapy from Utica College. Dr. Bailey is also a certified hand therapist.