Shoulder demands in manual wheelchair users across a spectrum of activities

J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2010 Feb;20(1):61-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2009.02.001.


Objective: Investigate shoulder joint kinetics over a range of daily activity and mobility tasks associated with manual wheelchair propulsion to characterize demands placed on the shoulder during the daily activity of manual wheelchair users.

Design: Case series.

Subjects: Twelve individuals who were experienced manual wheelchair users.

Methods: Upper extremity kinematics and handrim wheelchair kinetics were measured over level propulsion, ramp propulsion, start and stop over level terrain, and a weight relief maneuver. Shoulder intersegmental forces and moments were calculated from inverse dynamics for all conditions.

Results: Weight relief resulted in significantly higher forces and ramp propulsion resulted in significantly higher moments than the other conditions. Surprisingly, the start condition resulted in large intersegmental moments about the shoulder equivalent with that of the ramp propulsion, while the demand imparted by the stop condition was shown to be equivalent to level propulsion across all forces and moments.

Conclusions: This study provides characterization of daily living and mobility activities associated with manual wheelchair propulsion not previously reported and identifies activities that result in higher shoulder kinetics when compared to standard level propulsion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Contraction*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Range of Motion, Articular*
  • Shoulder Joint / physiopathology*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Torque
  • Wheelchairs*