Late complications of the weight-bearing upper extremity in the paraplegic patient

Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1988 Aug;(233):132-5.


Paraplegic patients rely almost exclusively on their upper extremities for weight-bearing activities such as transfers and wheelchair propulsion. Eighty-four paraplegic patients whose injury level was T2 or below and who were at least one year from spinal cord injury were screened for upper extremity complaints. Fifty-seven (67.8%) had complaints of pain in one or more areas of their upper extremities. The most common complaints were shoulder pain and/or pain relating to carpal tunnel syndrome. Twenty-five (30%) complained of shoulder pain during transfer activities. Symptoms were found to increase with time from injury. As the long-term survival of spinal cord injured patients continues to improve, an increased awareness of the complications of the weight-bearing upper extremity is necessary to keep these patients functioning in society.

MeSH terms

  • Arm*
  • Body Weight
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Paraplegia / complications*
  • Paraplegia / etiology
  • Self-Help Devices / adverse effects
  • Shoulder*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications
  • Time Factors