29th Annual RESNA Conference Proceedings

Shoulder Muscle Demand During Pushrim-Activated Power-Assisted Wheelchair Propulsion

Philip S. Requejo, PhD, Craig J. Newsam, DPT, Lisa Lighthall Haubert, MPT, Sara J. Mulroy, PhD


Pushrim-activated power-assisted wheelchairs (PAPAWs) offer marginal users an alternative mode of manual propulsion. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the electromygraphic(EMG) activity and propulsion characteristics in users with cervical level spinal cord injury (SCI) propelling a standard wheelchair (WC) and a commercially available PAPAW design ( Xtender) on a stationary ergometer . We hypothesized that a reduction in shoulder muscle demand during PAPAW propulsion would be seen. Decreased EMG intensity and duration of push-phase muscle activities, as well as decreased push phase durations were seen during PAPAW propulsion, particularly at greater speeds and increased resistance. Reducing the muscular demands during WC propulsion would benefit manual wheelchair users.


wheelchair propulsion, push-rim activated power-assisted wheelchair, spinal cord injury, electromyography.

This should be in the right column.