Most wheelchair armrests have padded tops which can be replaced as needed. The pads, which attach to the armrest with a couple of screws, are covered with either plastic or vinyl. While the pads themselves are fine, the plastic covering is not. It is uncomfortable to forearms and elbows; vinyl gets hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Nor do they last a long time. Vinyl tends to develop cracks and splits after using for a short while.
Quite by accident I discovered a quick and easy way to make my wheelchair armrests more comfortable and the pads last longer.
One day, after taking a shower, I was disgusted with the idea of resting my clean arms on the cracked and itchy vinyl armrests of my wheelchair. The cracks not only looked terrible but were scratching my skin. Unfortunately, I kept forgetting to order new armrest pads so I was stuck with them.
As I was getting dressed, I noticed my clean ankle socks or "footies" laying on the bed. I also noticed they were near the same size as my armrest pads (desk size or 11” X 2”). I decided to try one on the armrest.
As if made to fit, the footie slipped on easily. I later discovered that due to the elastic at the top of the sock it stayed put really well!
I was thrilled. Not only did the sock cover the cracks in the vinyl but the stretchy plush was much more comfortable to lean on than the cold plastic.
I now keep several pairs of simple black ankle socks just for this purpose. I put a fresh pair on my armrests about once a week and simply toss the dirty ones in the wash.
Ta-Dah! A clean place to rest my arms!
BTW I am thinking of crocheting some "fancy" arm rest socks to jazz up my chair just for the fun of it.
Step 1: Get Some Socks
Get a pair of clean footies or ankle socks. My favorite kind is the sporty ankle socks that have a slight padding on the sole but no grips.
I choose black to match my wheelchair colors.
Step 2: Stretch Over Arm Rest
Turn the sock upside down and place over the front of the armrest, with the heel of the sock facing the back of the chair.
Step 3: Pull Sock to End of Arm Rest, Wrap Over
Pull sock to end of armrest and wrap over, letting the elastic contract.
Step 4: Put on Second Sock
Repeat steps for second armrest.
Step 5: Done!
The whole process take about 30 seconds.
As an added bonus, because the pads are protected by the socks, the vinyl stays crack free for much longer. I used to have to replace the padded armrests every 8 months to a year. Now I can go two years or more between pad replacements. The padding or "stuffing" actually goes flat before the vinyl covering splits or tears.