This study aims to compare hand-rim and power-assisted hand-rim propulsion on potential risk factors for shoulder overuse injuries: intensity and repetition of shoulder loading and force generation in the extremes of shoulder motion. Eleven experienced hand-rim wheelchair users propelled an instrumented wheelchair on a treadmill while upper-extremity kinematic, kinetic and surface electromyographical data was collected during propulsion with and without power-assist. As a result during power-assisted propulsion the peak resultant force exerted at the hand-rim decreased and was performed with significantly less abduction and internal rotation at the shoulder. At shoulder level the anterior directed force and internal rotation and flexion moments decreased significantly. In addition, posterior and the minimal inferior directed forces and the external rotation moment significantly increased. The stroke angle decreased significantly, as did maximum shoulder flexion, extension, abduction and internal rotation. Stroke-frequency significantly increased. Muscle activation in the anterior deltoid and pectoralis major also decreased significantly. In conclusion, compared to hand-rim propulsion power-assisted propulsion seems effective in reducing potential risk factors of overuse injuries with the highest gain on decreased range of motion of the shoulder joint, lower peak propulsion force on the rim and reduced muscle activity.
- Assistive devices
- Wheelchair propulsion
- Power-assisted wheelchair
- Upper extremity
Kloosterman, M. G. M., Buurke, J. H., de Vries, W., van der Woude, L. H. V., & Rietman, J. S. (2015). Effect of power-assisted hand-rim wheelchair propulsion on shoulder load in experienced wheelchair users: A pilot study with an instrumented wheelchair. Medical engineering & physics, 37(10), 961-968. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.medengphy.2015.07.004