The KARMA Fit
Our R&D team, regardless of where they are, rigorously follow the KARMA Fit guide when developing mobility aids. Meaning, they take into consideration the user’s needs, concerns, and decision-making process and not just produce cookie-cutter mobility aids. After all, one size certainly does not fit all.
There are a number of factors to keep in mind when finding the right wheelchair.
Budget – Your price range.
Physical Conditions – Your mobility, tolerance, balance, and posture
Body Dimensions – Your body size and shape
Life Style – Active/semi-active, indoor/outdoor, rural/urban, limited space, etc.
Why is It So Important to Choose the Right Wheelchair?
A wheelchair that is not fitting can increase the chance of various side effects caused by long-term wheelchair use.
For example, a wheelchair that is unable to help relieve pressure in the lower back or buttocks can cause damages to skin and pressure sores.
A second example is when a wheelchair is equipped with armrests that are too high. Long-term shrugging can lead to stiff deltoid muscle.
A third example is when the seat is too wide, which can cause poor sitting posture and spine deformation.
Therefore, it is crucial to keep the notion of “Fit” in mind when choosing a wheelchair.
What Factors Should be Considered When Choosing a Wheelchair?
Not all wheelchairs are the same. One should choose the most suitable wheelchair according to the user’s size and conditions, living environment, and life style.
Fits Your Lifestyle
Life Style (e.g., living space, travelling frequency, transfer, etc.) Frequency of Use (e.g., temporary, occasional, or everyday use) Ability to Propel: Can the user push a wheelchair?
Fits Your Body
- Fit for Pressure Relief：To relieve pressure in the lower back or buttocks, can the user lift himself with elbows on the armrests? Can the user maintain his sitting posture without help?
- Fit the Size：Is the seat width about 2 inches wider than the hip width (or widest part of the body)?
When the user sits all the way back in the chair, is the distance between the front edge of the seat and the back of the legs about 2 to 3 inches? That is, the seat depth should be slightly shorter than the upper leg/femur length. Are the legs and thighs comfortable when the feet are placed on footrests?
Fit Your Condition
- Elderly：e.g., lack of strength and unable to walk.
- Surgery: e.g., fractures, joint surgery, etc.
- Stroke or Other Severe Symptoms: e.g., hemiparesis, paralysis, etc. Spinal injury (with fair mobility), diabetes, and gout.
The Possible Wheelchair Syndromes You Should Know
Pressure sores are lesions ranging from areas with “intact skin with redness” to tissue loss with exposed bone, tendon or muscle. You can get these sores when you lie in bed or sit in a wheelchair for a long time. The constant pressure blocks the blood supply to your skin, and this will kiss skin cells and creates a sore.
Idiopathic scoliosis is the most common form, with no definite cause, mainly affecting adolescent girls. Neuromuscular scoliosis is associated with a neuromuscular condition such as cerebral palsy, myopathy or spina bifida. Functional Scoliosis occurs when poor posture or a leg length difference makes the spine appear curved.
The triceps brachii, the pectoralis major, and the deltoid anterior are believed to be the prime movers in wheelchair propulsion. Often muscular tightness is the result of repetitive movement patterns from daily life or sports and exercise. If the fibers within the muscle contract and tighten, thereby stopping the blood flow.
Tendinitis is most often an overuse injury. Often people begin a new activity or exercise that causes the tendon to become irritated. If the tendon does not have a smooth path to glide along, it will be more likely to become irritated and inflamed.
Thoracic kyphosis is a condition in which the upper portion of the back becomes rounded. A condition of this type is beyond the amount of rounding that some people experience due to poor posture. Stiffness or tenderness in the spinal column is very common.
Pressure ulcers are much more common among patients who are unable to move because of paralysis, illness or old age. Sustained pressure can cut off circulation to vulnerable parts of the body, especially the skin of the buttocks, hips and heels. The affected tissue dies if it does not receive an adequate flow of blood.