Document Detail

Three-dimensional pushrim forces during two speeds of wheelchair propulsion.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  9354497     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Upper limb pain frequently occurs in manual wheelchair users. Analyzing the pushrim forces and hub moments occurring during wheelchair propulsion is a first step in gaining insight into the cause of this pain. The objectives of this study were as follows: to describe the forces and moments occurring during wheelchair propulsion; to obtain variables that characterize pushrim forces and are statistically stable; and to determine how these variables change with speed. Convenience samples (n = 6) of paralympic athletes who use manual wheelchairs for mobility and have unimpaired arm function were tested. Each subject propelled a standard wheelchair on a dynamometer at 1.3 and 2.2 m/s. Biomechanical data were obtained using a force- and moment-sensing pushrim and a motion analysis system. A number of variables that describe the force and moment curves were evaluated for stability using Cronbach's alpha. Those measures found to be stable (alpha > 0.8) at each speed were then examined for differences associated with speed. The tangential, radial, and medial-lateral forces were found to comprise approximately 55, 35, and 10% of the resultant force, respectively. In addition to duration of stroke and propulsion, the following variables were found to be stable and to differ with speed (1.3 m/s +/- SD; 2.2 m/s +/- SD): peak force tangential to the pushrim (45.9 +/- 17.9 N; 62.1 +/- 30 N), peak moment radial to the hub (9.8 +/- 4.5 N x m 13.3 +/- 6 N x m), maximum rate of rise of the tangential force (911.7 +/- 631.7 N/sec; 1262.3 +/- 570.7 N/sec), and maximum rate of rise of the moment about the hub (161.9 +/- 78.3 N x m/s; 255.2 +/- 115.4 N x m/s). This study found stable parameters that characterize pushrim forces during wheelchair propulsion and varied with speed. Almost 50% of the forces exerted at the pushrim are not directed toward forward motion and, therefore, either apply friction to the pushrim or are wasted. Ultimately, this type of investigation may provide insight into the cause and prevention of upper limb injuries in manual wheelchair users.
M L Boninger; R A Cooper; R N Robertson; S D Shimada
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  American journal of physical medicine & rehabilitation / Association of Academic Physiatrists     Volume:  76     ISSN:  0894-9115     ISO Abbreviation:  Am J Phys Med Rehabil     Publication Date:    1997 Sep-Oct
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1997-11-19     Completed Date:  1997-11-19     Revised Date:  2008-11-21    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8803677     Medline TA:  Am J Phys Med Rehabil     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  420-6     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Highland Drive VA Medical Center, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Physical Phenomena
Spinal Cord Injuries / rehabilitation
Spinal Dysraphism / rehabilitation
Grant Support
1 K08 HD01122-01/HD/NICHD NIH HHS; 1 P01 HD33989-01/HD/NICHD NIH HHS; H129E00005//PHS HHS

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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