The influence of a contoured seating base on pressure distribution and discomfort

Lieke de Mare, Bas de Groot, Fleur de Koning, Richard Geers, Daniel Tetteroo (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Purpose: This research paper examines how contouring of a wheelchair seating base can help prevent pressure sores by distributing pressure over the buttocks. Contouring wheelchair cushioning is already done to some extent and has proved to be beneficial for pressure distribution. We researched the effect of contouring the seating base, and whether contouring the seating base affects effectiveness in pressure distribution and perceived discomfort. Materials & methods: 13 healthy participants performed a within-subject experiment with three differently contoured seating bases. Perceived comfort and seating pressure were measured for each condition. Results: Results indicate that a more contoured base is positive for both comfort and increased pressure distribution. Conclusions: Contoured seating bases can provide increased comfort and improved pressure distribution over flat seating bases. Future research should examine the effect of contouring on stability, as well as compare the effects of contoured seating bases and contoured cushions.Implications for rehabilitation We evaluated the comfort and pressure characteristics of three differently contoured hard seating bases for a wheelchair. The outcomes of the research shows that providing increased contour to seatings could be beneficial to reduce pressure peaks in the buttocks. Contour in the seating is conventionally created by shaping the cushions, this research shows the possibility of using a hard base underneath a cushion to create the desired contour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • Contour
  • discomfort
  • pressure distribution
  • wheelchair seating


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