Buying a Podiatry chair or couch is one of the larger practice expenses and your choice should be carefully considered. Patients often comment about new couch or chair so the impact shouldn’t be underestimated.
A Podiatry chair is also an essential, highly used item and (hopefully), will be used by many patients of varying size weight and shape, for many years.
A good quality podiatry chair and couches can range from several hundred pounds to several thousand.
Time should be taken to weigh up the differences between the different models, get familiar with names and features.
Wherever possible go to have a look at a chair to get a feel of it. When you return to your clinic or space you’ll be putting it, you will have a mental image of how it will look.
PRO TIP: Taking photos of your clinic when viewing a new patient chair can help.
With a good maintenance plan and routine cleaning, a quality podiatry couch or chair should last many years.
How much room do you have?
Generally speaking it can be easier to think of it like having three different category options for seating your patients.
- Patient chairs – Upright in design, aesthetically pleasing, modern designs. Usually static with a square or rectangle footprint.
- Patient couches– Functional, sturdy robust, cost effective. Very similar in design between manufacturers. With or without castors, usually rectangular.
- Hybrid couch chairs – A mix or combination of both varieties.
Couches tend to have a bigger footprint than patient chairs and hybrids tend to be somewhere in the middle.
The length of the base and size of seat and backrest are generally the things which dictate how much floor space either will take up.
Consideration should be given if you need to lay patients flat in an emergency situation. Chairs kept in an upright position take up less space than couches.
The average couch length is 2 meters by 70cm, when laid flat.
What features do you need?
Deciding what features you require from a patient chair or couch is important. Some couches used for physiotherapy for example may be perfectly adequate for podiatry whereas the extra features of a dedicated podiatry model may be useful for the types of treatments you carry out.
CONSIDERATION: Do you require the common split leg rest or a single leg rest?
How will you operate the chair? A hand control can be easier to handle or foot control for easier infection control? A foot control is the preferred option from an infection control point of view.
Do you have elderly patients who may find it difficult getting into a couch or chair? How low a starting position a couch has can make a difference in the maximum height it also achieves.
Do you have bariatric patients? All patient chairs or couches are designed to go flat in emergency situations, although not all will be suitable for different practitioners or types of treatment when flat. Some are manually operated some are electric.
Are you the only one using the chair or couch?
If you have several practitioners working from or renting clinic space then a couch with flexible options can be very helpful. Patient couches can be one of the most adaptable choices for a multi-disciplinary clinic or practice.
If you share or sublet your room and have say a podiatrist working in the morning and a physiotherapist working in the afternoon, then both have their own requirements.
With the option of breathing holes on many patient couches both can be accommodated.
What are the costs for maintaining podiatry chairs?
Obviously, depending on how many chairs you have, as with any piece of medical furniture there a wide variety of choices at different costs. The level of maintenance can depend on the type and complexity of the couch you’ve chosen.
- One off service visits – Costs dependant on requirements and location.
- Service Contracts – Cost depends on frequency and level of service.
Bear in mind how often you plan to upgrade the couch, what features, accessories and any service or maintenance that may be required.
Cheaper couches and chairs often have cheaper component parts, such as spray painted bases that chip easily or bearings that squeak after a short amount of use.
Replacement parts like upholstery, arm & leg mouldings and foot/hand controls can often be a cheap and easy way to upgrade old looking chair that’s in otherwise good working order.
Backup and service for podiatry chairs?
Good quality chairs and couches are generally very reliable depending on how often they are used, most require little ongoing maintenance.
Moving parts can be subject to wear and tear and an annual service can be a good idea to avoid problems.
Manufacturers use different quality of component parts, oilite bearings used in frame joints last longer than traditional nut, bolt and washer design, for example.
It is advised that you purchase from a reputable supplier with a well established brand, this will ensure availability of spare parts in the future.
PRO TIP: When speaking to a supplier ask how long the model has been in production and if there are any known changes coming up.
Podiatry chair manufacturers
Many of the world best chairs and couches are manufactured in country’s like the UK, Germany, Holland, Spain and Italy. Some of the more well known companies include:
- Plinth 2000 (uk) – A long established couch companies based in Suffolk. They are one of the industries most well known podiatry chair brands.
- Seers Medical (uk) – Made up from some of the original Huntley Akron group, Seers offer a high quality medical couch range including podiatry.
- Dancohr (Holland) – Supplying one of the most well know models the Amsterdam, this dutch supplier has been in the podiatry market for over 20 years.
- SMD (Italy) – A high quality range of dental equipment adapted for the podiatry market. Specialists in in-built cabinets.
- Euroclinic (Italy) – Another Italian manufacturer with a range of stylish clinic furniture.
- Namrol (Spain) – A budget conscious European brand that’s taken a foot hold in the UK market due to it’s attractive price point to features.
- Berchtold (Germany) – A well known podiatry drill supplier that also sell the successful Europa and Mayfair patient chairs.
These are just a small selection of some of the more well known manufacturers. The ability to purchase may require a distributor or supplier in your country.
Export is possible in most countries but consideration must be made to availability of spare parts. It’s often easier and less hassle to work with an established UK supplier.
It’s unfortunate that a lot of UK suppliers struggle to respond to spare part requests due to the large range of products supplied over the last few years.
Where can you find Podiatry Chairs for Sale?
There’s a lot of choices if your looking for a podiatry chair for sale, as you’ll see from the list of manufacturers above. Most of the main podiatry chair manufacturers are located abroad and work with the main UK suppliers to distribute their products.
A good quality couch or chair is a necessary investment for any professional podiatry practice. The type and cost can vary depending on budget and requirements. Spending a little time researching the various makes and models with the possibility of a test drive first can ensure you make the right choice.
Do you use a podiatry couch or chair, what did you buy and why?
Have you found a make or model particularly good?
Let us know in the comments below.