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When it starts to get colder outside, the first part of your body that will start to feel cold to the tough are your legs and feet.
Your feet will feel like it came out of the freezer, some of you know this effect by the name corps feet.
For wheelchair users this effect will be about 65% more worse than someone with reduced blood flow symptoms.
The problem with wheelchairs is that you can’t just throw on a pair of thick winter clothes, this is way too bulky and not comfortable at all.
So what can you do to keep your legs warm when using your wheelchair?
Well there aren’t many options you can do, but I have listed below in detail a couple of methods that work great for me.
The pads have a sticky side that you can stick to any layer of clothes that you wear.
The heating pads give off heat for about 6 hour and then slowly lose their heat but keep working for about 10 hours in total.
It is recommended that you wear 1 thin layer of clothes that act like a barrier between you and the heating pads to prevent burn wounds.
For a maximum result it best to wear 1 extra layer of clothes over the pads so that the heat is traps between you and the outside ear.
You can find the same heating pads that I used in Japan on eBay.
If eBay is not your preferred shopping site, then you can find similar heating pads on Amazon.
Note: Just make sure you have a thin layer of clothes between you and the heating pad so you don’t burn yourself.
The next method that I wanted to share with u is the cozy’s.
This is one of my favorite ways to keep my legs warm when the temperature drops below 2 degrees outside.
You can see it as a large fleece-lined sleeping bag that you connect to the backrest of the wheelchair and drops down to the footrest via your seating area.
The only thing you have to do is to take a seat in your wheelchair and position your legs inside the cover so that you are stable and secure.
Now close the cover all the way so that the cover can keep you warm all the way to your hips.
Note: Before you buy a cover, make sure you have written down all the dimensions of your wheelchair. This way you know for sure that the cover will fit properly.
To be honest, this is a method that I have not tried myself but I learned about it from a colleague. The idea is that you use a sleeping bag like a leg cover that I explained above.
It’s a great life hack idea, but I see some drawbacks with this method, such as:
- Fabric tears easily
- Not always wind and waterproof
- No attachment to the wheelchair
- Slippery surface
- Not efficient in keeping the warmth inside
If you really are set on using a sleeping bag for a leg cozy, then you could think about buying an outdoor waterproof sleeping bag,
But if you are planning on buying a survival sleeping bag, why not buy a cover instead. These are made especially for wheelchairs.
With that said, if you have a sleeping bag stored somewhere and you don’t want to buy a new leg cover, then you could always use a sleeping bag to keep yourself warm.
Hot water bottle
The hot water bottle method is not just for the legs but also for the whole body, you fill-up the water bottle with warm water (not hot) and place it somewhere close to your body without hindering your sitting position.
This will keep your core body temperature up and improve your blood circulation, the improved blood circulation will cause your legs to warm up over time.
For a much better result, you can combine the hot water bottle method with a wheelchair cover, the cover will keep the warmth from the water bottle inside and keep warm much longer.
There are two types of warm water bottles, you have a portable rechargeable water bottle that you can buy on Amazon, and you have a standard one.
Pick the right fabric
Choosing the right type of fabric for your clothes can have a big impact on how warm you will be during the cold days.
Like I mentioned in the beginning, buying special thermal underwear is, in my opinion, a waste of money, but you are the one that decides that.
Your better off looking for clothes that are my from synthetic polyester, this fabric type is durable, lightweight, and can be made in any thickness.
This is a huge plus for anyone that lives 24 hours a day in a wheelchair, not only is the fabric less bulky, it won’t tear as easily, and is in most cases warmer than thermal underwear.
Physiotherapy and physical exercise
Another excellent way to keep warm is by going to a physiotherapist or doing some basic exercises when you are in and out of your wheelchair.
This will help increase your blood flow to your legs and other parts of your body, the increased blood flow will pump more oxygen into your blood vessels that process will produce extra warmth.
Not only will it increase your body heat, but it will also drain itself from toxins and expel them as carbon dioxide.
The carbon dioxide will be expelled from your body via your lungs.
I can’t move much with my lower body, so I do some basic exercises whenever I can. This can be wiggling around, moving my arms, and massage my legs.
Here you have a simple wheelchair exercise chart that I use as a daily guide.
By this I mean leggings that about 80, 90, and even 100 dens (denier), the higher this number the thicker and warmer the fabric will be.
You can also opt for two layers of a lower denier.
I use leggings every day when the temperature asks for, they are warm, comfortable, stretchy, won’t right up with wear, and are not bulky at all.
Gehwol Fusskraft Red
This is a German product that some of you have heard of but most of you have never seen before. For where I live (2 Km) from the German border, it’s a well-known product.
It’s a cream that contains a blend of herbs that helps to improve the blood flow and warms up the feet.
For me that suffers from white-colored feet that feel extremely cold to the touch (corps feet), it’s a great product to use.
I apply it on my feet and put a pair of warm woolen socks and after a while, I notice that the color and temperatures are changed.
The effect is not as dramatic as you expect it to be, but I can notice a difference, my mother also tried Fusskraft on her feet but she did not experience any changes.
This means that the experience can vary between different physical conditions.
For those who don’t plan on going to Germany, you are in luck because you can now buy Fusskraft on eBay.