Wheelchair Armrests for Comfort and Stability

September 21, 2023

wheelchair armrestsWheelchairs are vital for many individuals who have difficulty walking or standing, allowing them to move around easily and independently. For wheelchair users, comfort and stability are essential, and one important feature that can impact both of these factors is the armrests. 

Wheelchair armrests play a crucial role in providing positioning, support, balance, and comfort to users. In this article, we will discuss different types of wheelchair armrests, their benefits, and how to choose the right armrests for your needs.

Benefits of Wheelchair Armrests 

Wheelchair armrests offer several benefits, including arm positioning, posture support, balance, and pressure relief. Properly fitted armrests can help users maintain a proper posture and prevent slouching, which can cause pain and discomfort over time. Armrests also provide balance and stability, allowing users to shift their weight and change their position without risking a fall or injury. 

Wheelchair armrests also help keep arms properly positioned and help reduce fatigue.  Armrests provide a secure place to rest your arms, allowing you to keep your arms properly positioned without strain for longer periods of time.  

Types of Wheelchair Armrests 

There are several different types of armrests available for wheelchairs, each with its own advantages. As previously stated, your individual needs and preferences will determine which type will work best for your specific situation, and it is important to work with healthcare professionals or experts to help you make a decision. 

AliMed® Extended Width Armrests are universal-fit armrests that offer support for individuals with upper extremity edema or flaccidity, featuring a wider side for average or bariatric patients and a narrower wider side for smaller patients. The large padded surface helps eliminate risk of skin tears and pressure injuries, allowing users to shift their position normally while avoiding risk of slippage and damage to the arm and shoulder joint. The stable plastic base comes with a foam top for comfort and support and a non-removable vinyl cover for easy cleaning.  

AliMed® Premier Wheelchair Arm Trays slide onto any wheelchair arm to support the paralyzed arm without tilting inward. A foam elevation block with nonslip base is available to provide added comfort, especially for edema patients. The elevation block is also available in a waterproof version for easier cleaning and care.  

SkiL-Care™ Wheelchair Armrest Cushions provide comfort, pressure relief, and protection for sensitive arms and elbows, with a washable nylon cover that allows for easier cleaning and care. These cushions are available for full-arm and half-arm wheelchairs and attach easily with hook-and-loop fasteners.  

Do I Need Armrest Covers?

Depending on the material and type you choose, you may want to use covers for your wheelchair armrests. Armrest covers, which are often made of nylon or vinyl, can help ensure that the armrests are protected from stains, spills, and other types of damage. This is especially important for individuals who use their wheelchairs for extended periods each day or who frequently travel in their chairs. 

How to Choose Wheelchair Armrests

Choosing the right armrests for your wheelchair involves several factors, such as your specific needs, budget, and the type of wheelchair you have. You should also consider the shape and size of the armrests, making sure they fit comfortably under your arms without causing any undue pressure.  

The material of the armrests is also an important factor. Some materials, such as hard plastic, are easier to clean and maintain, but may require additional padding. Others, like foam, provide more cushioning and comfort but may be more difficult to clean or need to be replaced more often.  

Healthcare providers can also help you select the best armrests for your individual needs, particularly if you have any specific requirements or medical conditions that need to be considered. Those with paralyzed limbs or fragile skin, for example, may require specific armrest types or materials to provide additional support or prevent skin breakdown. 

Wheelchair armrests are an essential component of proper positioning and comfort, providing users with added support, balance, and pressure relief. Choosing the right armrests requires consideration of your specific needs, budget, and wheelchair type, as well as factors such as armrest shape, size, and material. With the right armrests, wheelchair users can experience greater comfort, mobility, and independence, improving their overall quality of life. 


AliMed, Inc. is a manufacturer and distributor of medical supply products, and is not a medical authority. The contents contained in this article, including text, graphics, imagery, and other materials, are for informational and educational purposes only. AliMed does not provide or intend to provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and the information contained here should not be treated as such. If you have questions about a specific medical condition or specific personal use of a medical device, always consult your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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