Logo for the Journal of Rehab R&D
Vol. 39 No. 6, November/December 2002
Pages 635-649

Shoulder kinematics and kinetics during two speeds of wheelchair propulsion

Alicia M. Koontz, PhD, ATP; Rory A. Cooper, PhD; Michael L. Boninger, MD; Aaron L. Souza, MS;
Brian T. Fay, PhD
Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology and Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, PA; Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Health System, Pittsburgh, PA; Human Engineering Research Laboratories, Department of Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, PA
Abstract— The primary objective of this study was to examine the kinematics and kinetics of the shoulder during wheelchair propulsion at a slow and moderate speed. Twenty-seven individuals with paraplegia propelled their wheelchairs at speeds of 0.9 m/s and 1.8 m/s while a motion analysis system captured movements of their upper limbs and SMARTWheels simultaneously recorded their pushrim kinetics. Intraclass R correlation and Cronbach’s coefficient alpha statistics revealed that all shoulder parameters were stable and consistent between strokes and speeds. The shoulder exhibited a greater range of motion, and forces and moments at the shoulder were 1.2 to 2.0 times greater (p < 0.05) during the 1.8 m/s speed trial. Peak posterior forces occurred near the end of the propulsion phase, and at the same time, the shoulder was maximally flexed and minimally abducted (p > 0.1). Shoulder positioning and the associated peak shoulder loads during propulsion may be important indicators for identifying manual wheelchair users at risk for developing shoulder pain and injury.
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