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J Rehabil Res Dev. 2002 Nov-Dec;39(6):635-49.

Shoulder kinematics and kinetics during two speeds of wheelchair propulsion.

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  • 1Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh, PA, USA. akoontz@pitt.edu


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 SMART(Wheel)s 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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