Choosing The Right Mobility Scooter For A Rheumatoid Arthritis Sufferer
If age, illness or a combination of the two have reduced your mobility and ability to stay on your feet for long periods of time, buying a mobility scooter can be a great way to reassert your independence and allow you to travel from place to place without risking pain or injury. However, if you are looking at purchasing a mobility scooter because you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, you may find that not every scooter on the market is suitable for your needs.
The joint pain and stiffness that comes with rheumatoid arthritis, particularly in the joints of the arms and legs, can make operating a conventional mobility scooter difficult under some circumstances. If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, keep the following guidelines in mind when shopping around for a new mobility scooter:
Look for easily operated controls
The pain and stiffness in joints that many rheumatoid arthritis sufferers experience can make operating the delicate controls of a standard mobility scooter tricky. Try to find a mobility scooter with oversized, padded control levers, buttons and pedals, as these will be easier for you to operate when your arthritis is particularly debilitating. Avoid scooters with hand-operated accelerator paddles, as holding these down with your thumb for long periods can become quite painful; look for a model with a conventional accelerator and brake pedal instead.
Opt for a four-wheeled scooter
Three-wheeled mobility scooters are generally cheaper and slightly more maneuverable than their four-wheeled counterparts, and if your rheumatoid arthritis is relatively mild or only gives you trouble on cold, wet days, you may get along just fine with one. However, if your arthritis is more advanced, keeping your balance on a three-wheeler may be difficult and painful, especially if you have to move suddenly to counteract an unexpected dip or pothole. Four-wheeled scooters are more expensive but can be well worth the extra expense in these cases.
Consider rain covers
Many rheumatoid arthritis sufferers find that their condition becomes more painful during spells of cold, wet weather. Choosing a mobility scooter with an integrated rain cover can be particularly useful for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, allowing them to stay warm and dry during the worst spells of inclement weather and keeping pain and stiffness to a minimum. If you can't find a model that suits your needs with an integrated cover, separate covers can be fitted and can be just as robust if installed professionally.
Ensure a smooth ride
If rheumatoid arthritis causes you pain and stiffness in the joints of your hips and back, you should also take the smoothness of your scooter's ride into account. Cushioned seats, pneumatic tyres and air- or fluid-filled suspension can all make your ride more more comfortable and less likely to aggravate hip and/or back problems.