29th Annual RESNA Conference Proceedings

Effect of an Ergonomic Wheelchair Handrim on Symptoms and Functional Status Related to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Kathy Dieruf Ph.D., Lynette Ewer, SPT, David S. Boninger, Ph.D., Mathew Dixon, MS


Because of the repetitive stress of propelling a wheelchair, manual wheelchair users commonly experience symptoms associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), including pain, numbness, and tingling in the hands and wrists. The objective of this research was to further examine the effectiveness of an ergonomic handrim as an intervention designed to reduce CTS-related symptoms and improve function. Eighty-two manual wheelchair users who replaced their standard handrim with an ergonomic handrim (EH) completed symptom severity and functional status scales after using the EH for an average of 9 months. Results confirmed that using the EH led to reductions in symptoms and improvements in functional status, demonstrating its effectiveness as an intervention in treating CTS-related symptoms.


manual wheelchairs, ergonomic intervention, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, handrims, pushrims

Primary Author:

Kathy Dieruf, Ph.D., PT, NCS,
Assistant Professor, Physical Therapy Program,
MSC09 5230, University of New Mexico,
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131-0001.
Phone: (505)-272-5968. Fax: (505)-272-8079.
E-mail: KDieruf@salud.unm.edu

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