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Permobil Blog / September 10, 2020

Wheelchair Drive Wheel Placement and Indoor Maneuverability

Drive Wheel Placement and Indoor Maneuverability

This is the 3rd blog in our series about power wheelchairs. Check out the 1st blog & 2nd blog. Check out our Power Wheelchair Guide for more information about power mobility.


In our last blog about power wheelchairs and mobility, we discussed the benefits and considerations of drive wheel placement. This week we're continuing our look at drive wheel placement in regards to indoor maneuverability.

When instructing for indoor maneuvering, keep in mind:

  • wheelchairs pivot at the drive wheel
  • initiate the turn when the center of the drive wheel reaches the corner
  • for FWD, hug the wall the wheelchair will be turning towards
  • for RWD, stay further away from the wall the wheelchair will be turning towards
  • with a longer wheelbase and the further back the drive wheel is on the base of the WC, there may be additional pivoting needed to line up effectively

Wheelchair Maneuvering with front wheel drivefront-wheel-drive-wheelchair-turn-radius

Wheelchair Maneuvering with mid wheel drive

Wheelchair Maneuvering with rear wheel driverear-wheel-drive-wheelchair-turn-radius 

Ability to get close to a surface to perform MRADLs

Now, take a look at how each PWC base might need to line up and maneuver to get to a fixture close to the wall without multiple adjustments to the positioning of the wheelchair.



By understanding the differences in maneuvering different drive wheel configurations, you can determine with your client which may be best for them considering where they live and where they like to go.

Now that we’ve reviewed the groups of power wheelchairs and the different drive wheel configurations join us next time as we begin a discussion on power seat functions. 

power wheelchair guide


Stacey MullisStacey Mullis, OTR/ATP
Director of Clinical Marketing

Stacey serves as Director of Clinical Marketing for Permobil. A practicing OTR for over 20 years, she has experience in school-based pediatrics, inpatient rehabilitation, long term care, and home health. With her interest in wheelchair seating and positioning, Stacey engaged the challenges of providing appropriate seating in various clinical settings. She now uses this experience to develop programs and resources to educate clinicians on the principles of seating and wheeled mobility. She is passionate about equipping clinicians and through her previous role as Director of Clinical Education with Comfort Company and now with Permobil she has taught nationally and internationally to increase therapist capacity in this specialty area. Mullis graduated from Western University in London, Ontario, Canada with a BA Linguistics and BSc Occupational Therapy. She is a member of the NCOTA, CTF Executive Board, NRRTs, RESNA, and AOTA.

Angela-Regier_ClinicalAngela Regier, OTD, OTR/L, ATP/SMS
Clinical Education Manager

Angela Regier, OTD, OTR/L, ATP received her doctorate of occupational therapy from Creighton University in 2007 and is a RESNA-certified assistive technology professional. Regier joined Permobil in 2017 as a Clinical Education Manager for the western region. Prior to joining Permobil, Regier was at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado where her career focused on inpatient and outpatient spinal cord injury rehabilitation. Prior to leaving Craig Hospital, she was supervisor of the Wheelchair Seating and Mobility Clinic where she provided comprehensive seating and mobility interventions for individuals with acquired brain and spinal cord injury. Regier has published and speaks on the topic of seating and mobility for acquired brain injury and spinal cord injury. She has also served as an adjunct faculty for the Creighton University Entry-Level Distance OTD Program (Regis) in Denver, Colorado.


Categories: Complex Rehab, Power

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