Logo for the Journal of Rehab R&D
Vol. 40 No. 1, January/February 2003
Pages 27— 38

Upper-limb fatigue-related joint power shifts in experienced wheelchair users and nonwheelchair users
Mary M. Rodgers, PhD, PT; Kevin J. McQuade, PhD, PT; Elizabeth K. Rasch, MS, PT; Randall E. Keyser, PhD; Margaret A. Finley, MA, PT
University of Maryland School of Medicine, Department of Physical Therapy, Baltimore, MD; Veterans Administration Medical Center, Baltimore, MD

Abstract — This paper evaluates power transfer or shifting across upper-limb segments, resulting from fatigue-inducing wheelchair propulsion. Nineteen manual wheelchair users (WCUs) and ten nonwheelchair users (NUs) participated in this study. Subjects propelled an instrumented wheelchair ergometer at a workload corresponding to 75% of the peak oxygen uptake attained during a maximal-graded exercise tolerance test. Subjects were required to propel the wheelchair for as long as they could at a constant velocity of 3 km/h (32 rpm). The test was terminated when subjects could no longer maintain the target velocity. Peak Performance video-capture system was used to determine upper-limb kinematics. Handrim forces and joint kinematics were used to calculate joint moments and power with the use of an inverse dynamics approach. Results showed that with fatigue, joint power shifts from the shoulder joint to the elbow and wrist joints. Implications for joint injury and propulsion efficiency are discussed.

Key words: biomechanics, fatigue, wheelchair.

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