Multi-site Comparison of Wheelchair Propulsion in Persons with Paraplegia

RESNA 28th Annual Conference - Atlanta, Georgia

Alicia M. Koontz1, Yusheng Yang1, Robert Price2, Sue A. Sisto3, Rory A. Cooper1, Carmen P. DiGiovine4, Michael L. Boninger1,

Human Engineering Research Laboratories, Highland Drive VA Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA1,, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA2, Kessler Medical Rehabilitation Research and Education Corporation, Orange, NJ3, Assistive Technology Unit, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL4


A multi-site study is being conducted to examine the association between propulsion biomechanics and upper limb injuries. The purpose of this study was to determine if the demographics of the participants, propulsion kinetics and coast-down characteristics were similar across three different sites. A total of twenty-eight persons with paraplegia performed steady-state propulsion and coast-down trials. Significant differences were found in propulsion torque (p <0.035) and force (p <0.041) at the slower steady-state speed as well as coast-down deceleration (p=0.000). Differences between sites may be related to differences in setup, equipment, or subject and wheelchair characteristics. Further investigation is needed to determine the source of the differences and the necessary compensatory mechanisms.

KEYWORDS: Wheelchair propulsion, dynamometer, multi-site, kinetics, manual wheelchair

Alicia Koontz
Human Engineering Research Labs
VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Phone: (412) 365-4850
Fax: (412) 365-4858