Objectives: To quantify the reaction forces exerted under the hands, feet and buttocks when individuals with spinal cord injury performed sitting pivot transfers.
Design: Twelve men with paraplegia completed 3 transfers between seats of the same height (0.5 m high) and 3 transfers to a high target seat (0.6 m high).
Results: Greater mean and peak vertical reaction forces were always recorded under the hands compared with the feet (p<0.001) during the transfers. Mean vertical reaction forces were similar between the leading and trailing hands (p>0.088) for the 2 transfers studied. However, the mean vertical reaction force underneath the leading hand was greater when transferring between a seat of the same height compared with one of a higher height (p=0.021) and vice-versa for the trailing hand (p=0.0001). The peak vertical reaction force always occurred earlier (p<0.0001) and was greater underneath the trailing hand compared with the leading one (p<0.02), and reached its highest value when transferring to the high target seat (p=0.003). Peak and mean horizontal reaction forces were always higher underneath the trailing hand compared with the leading hand (p<0.001).
Conclusion: These results provide evidence-based data to better understand transfers and strengthen clinical practice guidelines targeting the preservation of upper extremity integrity.