Tips for Pushing a Wheelchair

Tips for Pushing a Wheelchair


Knowing how to push a wheelchair safely and effectively is crucial for both the person in the chair and the one pushing. This skill is often overlooked but is essential for comfort, safety, and independence. In this article, we'll delve into three informative videos that offer comprehensive tips on this subject.

Essential Tips for Pushing a Wheelchair

Video 1: "10 THINGS♿️ YOU MUST KNOW BEFORE PUSHING A WHEELCHAIR!" by Wheelsnoheels - Gem Hubbard

Tips for Pushing in a Wheelchair


Importance of Handlebar Adjustment

Adjusting the handlebars to the correct height is the first step in pushing a wheelchair comfortably. Incorrect handlebar height can lead to back problems for the person pushing.

Handlebar Feature Why It's Important
Adjustable Height Prevents back problems
Easy to Use For quick adjustments

The Trust Factor and Awareness

Pushing a wheelchair requires a level of trust between the pusher and the person in the chair. Always be aware of your surroundings to ensure a safe and smooth ride.

Aspect Importance
Trust Foundation of a safe experience
Awareness Prevents accidents

Uneven surfaces can be tricky. The video suggests popping the chair into a wheelie position on uneven ground to prevent tipping over.

Terrain Type How to Navigate
Uneven Ground Use wheelie position
Smooth Surface Regular pushing

Crowd Awareness and Footplate Issues

Be mindful of people in front of you, especially in crowded areas. The footplates of the wheelchair can accidentally ram into people if you're not careful.

Scenario What to Do
Crowded Area Be extra cautious
Open Space Normal pushing

This section provides a foundational understanding of the essential tips for pushing a wheelchair. Stay tuned for more in-depth techniques and safety measures in the following sections.

Video 2: "Push in a wheelchair" by Palliative Care

Communication with the Person in the Chair

Before making any moves, it's crucial to communicate with the person in the wheelchair. This ensures both parties are prepared for what comes next.

Communication Aspect Importance
Verbal Cues Prepares for next action
Asking for Consent Ensures comfort

Handling Curbs and Ramps

When approaching a curb, the video suggests wheeling the person backwards for better control. For ramps, a similar backward technique is advised.

Obstacle Type Handling Technique
Curbs Wheel backwards
Ramps Walk slowly backwards

The Importance of Control on Slopes

Control is key when navigating slopes. Going down a slope requires you to walk slowly backwards to maintain full control of the chair.

Slope Type Control Technique
Upward Slope Regular pushing
Downward Slope Walk slowly backwards

This section has focused on how to navigate slopes and curbs safely while pushing a wheelchair. These tips are vital for ensuring a smooth and safe experience for both the person pushing and the one in the chair. 


Pushing a wheelchair is a skill that demands attention to detail for the safety and comfort of the person in the chair. This article combines expert advice and insights from two videos to offer a comprehensive guide on how to push a manual wheelchair effectively and safely.

Essential Tips for Wheelchair Pushers

Before you even touch the handles, it's crucial to ask for permission from the person in the wheelchair. Communication is key; always discuss where you're going and any special needs they may have.

Use Proper Body Mechanics

Stand behind the wheelchair with a straight back and slightly bent knees. Use the large muscle groups in your legs and arms to push, avoiding any strain on your back or shoulders.

Get a Firm Grip

Place your hands firmly but not tightly on the push handles. A balanced and steady grip is essential for effective pushing.

Start and Stop Slowly

Avoid sudden starts and stops. Always communicate with the wheelchair user when you're about to move or come to a halt.

Techniques to Push the Wheelchair Effectively

Watch Your Speed

Maintain a speed that feels safe for the person in the chair. Adjust your speed for inclines and declines, and avoid pushing too fast to prevent tipping.

Mind Bumps and Obstacles

Be alert for any bumps or obstacles. Slow down in advance and navigate carefully to ensure a smooth ride.

Respect Personal Space

Don't lean into the personal space of the person in the wheelchair. Make sure you provide enough clearance when moving the chair.

Offer Breaks

Regularly check if the wheelchair user needs a break. Be prepared to stop whenever they request one.

Pushing a Wheelchair Safely on Slopes and Curbs

Handling Curbs and Ramps

When approaching a curb, wheel the person backwards for better control. For ramps, a similar backward technique is advised.

Importance of Control on Slopes

Control is key when navigating slopes. Walk slowly backwards down a slope to maintain full control of the chair.

Quotes from Wheelchair Users

From Cripple-punk-dad on tumblr


-"If someone asks you to push them, and you want to, then make it very clear when you are starting to push them, and make it very clear when you are stopping and letting go."

-"If you are pushing someone in a wheelchair, don't be reckless and go fast. If they say slow down, slow down. If they say go, go. You are not the navigator or the steering wheel, you're the engine."

-"Don't push someone even if they're going "too slow". Even if they're in the way. Just don't push someone without permission please god"

From rxbiteme

-"Don't offer to assist someone just to be polite"

-"You don't get to offer to push me and then turn around and complain when I accept, or push me for like a minute and then give up while complaining."

-"Usually I will only ask for help when I am at my limit, or when I'm around a group of friends I trust, so they can switch off if they get tired."

-"It's very uncomfortable to have a stranger touch your chair. You don't need to ask every wheelchair user if they need help."



Pushing a wheelchair is not just about providing mobility; it's about doing so in a way that ensures safety and comfort for the person in the chair. By following these tips, you'll make the experience more comfortable for the wheelchair user and less strenuous for yourself. 

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