Kinematic features of wheelchair propulsion

David J. Sanderson, H. J. Sommer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


Three male paraplegics volunteered to push their wheelchairs on a motor driven treadmill, for a total of 80 min each, at a work rate of 60-65% of their VO2 maximum, determined on an earlier test session. At 20 min intervals 16 mm high-speed film of the subjects was taken for three consecutive push cycles. The digitized film was used to compute the angular kinematics of the shoulder and elbow joints, the variations in the position of the trunk (as measured by a marker on the neck) and hand relative to the axle of the rear wheel. There were no intrasubject variations over the 80 min testing period for any of the recorded variables. This was interpreted as implying that at that work rate, fatigue was not exhibited as variations in the kinematics of movement. There were considerable differences between the style of one subject when compared to the other two over all the trials of each subject. This variation in style was most obvious in subject number PT who had a pumping style of push and recovery whereas subjects CA and GW employed a more continuous circular motion. The differences in the amount of forward lean of each subject were related to residual muscle strength. The discussion centered on the influence of the different styles on performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-429
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1985

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Rehabilitation
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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