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Volume 44 Number 4 2007
Pages 573 — 580


Abstract - Longitudinal assessment of vibrations during manual and power wheelchair driving over select sidewalk surfaces

Erik Wolf, PhD;1-2 Rory A. Cooper, PhD;1-3* Jonathan Pearlman, PhD;2-3 Shirley G . Fitzgerald, PhD;2-3 Annmarie Kelleher, MS, OTR/L, ATP2-3

1Department of Bioengineering, School of Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; 2Human Engineering Research Laboratories, Department of Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, PA; 3Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Technology, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

Abstract — Wheelchair users rely on their wheelchairs for mobility for extended periods of time every day. According to the International Standards Organization 2631-1 standard on human vibration, individuals in a seated position when exposed to whole-body vibrations (WBV) are at risk of injury. This study evaluated vibration exposure during manual and power wheelchair driving over nine sidewalk surfaces and differences in vibration exposure over 3 years. Ten nondisabled subjects were asked to drive a manual wheelchair at 1 m/s and a power wheelchair at 1 m/s and 2 m/s over nine sidewalk surfaces while WBV were measured at the seat and footrest of the wheelchair. At 1 m/s, significant differences existed between surfaces and years at both the seat and the footrest for the manual and power wheelchair users. At 2 m/s, significant differences existed between surfaces and years at the seat and the footrest for power wheelchair users. Our results show that both manual and power wheelchair users may be at risk for secondary injuries from WBV when traveling over certain surfaces.

Key words: accessible surface, concrete, injury, manual wheelchair, power wheelchair, rehabilitation, sidewalks, vibration, wheelchairs, whole-body vibrations.


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