Does anyone experience pain problems using a mobility scooter?

I've finally plucked up the courage to get more mobile, but the movements in travelling are causing more spine and joints problems than I anticipated. I've gone for a fairly sturdy scooter with good suspension and solid tyres but the pavements around here seem very pitted, and it's worse than being in a wheelchair. Has anyone else experienced this? Any advice?

18 Replies

  • Hi Heorte, I have been thinking of doing the same as you have with a mobility scooter but i know as an engineer (I worked as an engineer all my working life) you would need soft (inflatable) tyres for the same reason as cars do the majority of the suspension is done by the tyres not by the rest of the suspension system, the suspension system is just for large bumps but the small bumps in the road/path are taken away by the tyres deflection if they made the main suspension system soft enough to take away the small bumps then when you came to a larger one it would not be able to help at all and you would feel the full bump.

    as you have already purchased your scooter all i could advise you to do is get a good cushion either an inflatable one or a high quality foam one (one that does not collapse under your weight) as the cushion will do the same as inflatable tyres do, try to get one that is made of rubber as then it can stretch without bursting, one like these :-


    if you do try one then to get the best effect try it at a few different pressures to find the one that is best for you.

    If I was getting one then I would most likely get two and inflate each one at a different pressure and then put the two into a cover with the softer one at the top and the harder one below that way they will cover different types of bump.

    I hope this will help you get relief from the bumps.


    Poppy Ann.

  • Thank you, especially for the links. I did something similar when I put together my own wheelchair cushion and might try repeating that again for the scooter. It's good to meet a female 'Techie' (BSc in Tech Sci) :)

  • thanks good to meet you as well, I have been in engineering all my life one way or another, now the closest I get to enginnering is trying to build a radio control quad flyer I manage to think about it a lot but when i try to do any real building i manage 10 minutes and then i need to go and have a rest as with any type of leaning or stretching does me in. but never mind i have lots of hours to fill so i manage most of the time.

    bye for now regards Poppy Ann.

  • I totally sympathise. My hobby was with wood, using full workshop machines, but with time I've reduced down so much that I'm left with pyrography. I can sand one small box or frame a day. Sigh. But we know how to keep trying :)

  • Hello there.

    Have experienced the same as you. It's only you have purchased and then used it for a whiie that you find:

    The problems with your own local pavements, don't even try to get the council to make the pavements better- they won't even listen.

    Wherever you have tried out the scooter they will have had a lovely soft carpet or tarmac area for you to try the buggy on. No way to putting a cushion on it, if you have an accident whilstvusing the set up your vehicle wouldn't be deemed as under guarantee or you'd have problems with an insurance claim.

    Using an electric chair as I do is even worse iwas having the same problem with pain using a buggy, but now I slide down pavements as the wheelchair cannot grip. It's sods law, whatever you buy you'll finddifferent design faults. Best to get a occupational therapist involved to help you make agood one via social services.


  • Agree that its best to get a proper disability assessment of your mobility needs, and also to really try out options under normal use conditions. I've tried a number of different brands of mobility scooters from shopmobility places, but although they are fine for me for short stop start use, no way would I be able to rely on using one regularly - for much the same reasons as you - spine problems, but also hand grip problems (which causes problems with most controls). I've just ended up ordering a motability car, and hopefully that will meet my needs better, as the seating, seating position and door access plus parking sensors will all relieve particular problems I have.

    On a slightly different note, my GP suggested getting a cane some time ago, but I never got on with that at all. They then gave me NHS crutches, and they were just as bad. It wasn't until I talked to an OT at a mobility showroom that I got to try anatomical soft grip crutches, and I've never looked back with them. I wouldn't have even thought that a different type of crutch would work so much better, but the OT could see exactly what I was having difficulty with, and made the perfect recommendations.

  • Hi earthwitch

    Looks like all kind of folk have been and are going through the same problems. Ought to all get together and bonfire all useless equipment given to us. Do people not realise that use of crutches damages your shoulders, walking frames make you stoop when walking and then you can't get a straight spine after that!!!!!!!!!!!

    On the motability car front- make sure you feel comfy with the position of the seating, that you get good half day test run and that you realize some of the adaptions are quite expensive eg £1500 just to have an automatic transmission similar model. Recommend Citroën c4 grande. Brilliant on fuel, comfort and a good looking car in black. ^ I am

    Nevertheless we keep on keeping on.

    Good health and healing to your body.

  • yep, agree. Several years ago we were trying to give away bath hoists, commode chairs, seats, cushions, etc. But with the exception of a ramp nothing could be taken by health services or charities because of the 'infection risks' - despite mostly un used. I have bought leg casts and mobility scooter from ebay (Our local health only offers plaster casts for the five operations I had)

  • Hi Kathyg16,

    I use to use the old style crutches (the ones that go under your shoulder) and with them i could get along quite well but on one trip to the hospital(nothing to do with the crutches) one of the physiotherapist's stopped me and said i cannot use the old type as they cause damage to the shoulder joint and then she took my old ones(which were mine) and replaced them with the new forearm type which for me are useless as my elbow joints hurt when under load with the old type i could take some of the load off my back when walking (swinging) but the new type cause that much pain i have gone back to my walking stick but now i can not go to half the places i use to as i can only walk around 20% of the distance of what i could manage with the old type, also when i used the old type i could manage to stand still and have a rest but not any more. i think that before the removed the old ones from use they should have tried to find a way of reducing the damage they can cause and not just stopped using them completely maybe some extra padding to ease the strain or something similar.

    regards Poppy Ann.

  • See if you can find a shop that sells Kowski or similar crutches - they are like chalk and cheese to the NHS crutches. NHS ones fair wrecked me as they put so much pressure on my hands, and that horrible stiff cuff really hurt my upper arms and elbows so I could barely move with them. The Kowski ones are just so comfortable on my hands with the silicon soft grip that is moulded to fit your hand, and the half cuff doesn't put pressure around my elbows or upper arm. I do have to "swing through" with one leg, but that works with the method of using the crutches I was taught (by a mobility assessor).

    It is really important to have them exactly the right height though - even to the point where I need to adjust them one notch depending on which shoes I am wearing that day. Too low and I stoop; too high and I am having to "push down" on the handgrip too hard to lift my leg.

  • Where I live there was only one motability dealer, and with my requirements I was very limited in choice and only one car met all my needs. However, the Vauxhall Agila meets all my requirements to a T. I do have to have an automatic, but its come in with no prepayment,so thats OK. The seating and seating adjustments are way better than my present car, and the seating position also works better for me. I didn't get a proper test drive, but I have driven friends manual versions of the same car, and I'm more than happy with it. Now just waiting for delivery!

  • Hi,

    Just shows that we are in such a 'disposable' society. I suppose social services, nhs try to do their best but they just don't get it that people in pain need to rely on these aids all the time. Maybe the local councillors should spend a day in a wheelchair trying to do even menial tasks never mind a bit of shopping or getting ready to go out for half an hour but taking two hours to get ready.


    Got to go, worn out already today, nothing doing, joints won't move, loads of pain.

    Have a good day yourself.

  • it does when my tail bone gets v sore it hurts to talk// Hubby's car is very buncy. Car....badddd..over them dam speed bumps that do nowt any was...feel your bunch props;-) :-)

  • My husband has a mobility scooter but it has pneumatic tyres (with air in) which gives a softer ride if you let a little air out on these bumpy pavements. It might be a good idea for you to swop to one of these if it is possible.

    Best wishes,


  • Yes.... I have L4/L5 compression and just recently bought a mobility scooter to visit my wife in a nursing home.... 8kms per day and the bumpy pavements are giving my back hell... after 1 week I can barely walk without pain and was also wondering if anybody else had this problem. I am going to sell my scooter and go back to walking and public transport.

  • I understand exactly what you are saying and I tend to keep mine for very short local trips as I don't manage to walk more than a few steps. But you might want to keep your scooter and try again in the summer for local trips, but add to the seat cushions or tyre types (see Lippi comments above). Luckily I only bought a cheap secondhand one, but I do feel guilty that it gets used only on a good day about once a month and for less than a mile !

    However, using one in a level area such as a shopping centre does help a lot and (if you didn't already know) it's easy to hire one at most centres.

  • Thank you, I will have to do some more test runs and try different things that have been suggested.

  • Just an update and thanks to all who offered advice. Listened and tried out lots (Poppy = pneumatics) anfd back cushion from Lidl was the best one. Now have taken plunge and bought new scooter which matches checklist and Much happier although I still think outings might be once or twice a week thing. But hey! every little helps. (still tend to avoid pavements and kerbs, but this one is road legal which helps stay on the flat)

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