Proposal to Standardize and Redefine the Phases of Manual Wheelchair Propulsion

Andrew M. Kwarciak, MS1, Sue Ann Sisto, PhD1, Eugene Komaroff, PhD1, Mathew Yarossi, BS1, Michael L. Boninger, MD2
1Human Performance and Movement Analysis Laboratory, Kessler Medical Rehabilitation Research and Education Corporation, West Orange, NJ
2Human Engineering Research Laboratories, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, PA


Data from twenty-six subjects were used to demonstrate the differences between using force and moment to define the push phase. Both kinetic measures have been used in the literature; however, the push angles they define were significantly different (p < 0.0001). The interaction of these two angles was used to define two new phases. Named the contact and release phases, they represent periods of pushrim contact when no propulsive moment is generated. During these phases, subjects typically do negative work. The work lost during the contact phase was significantly related to stroke style (p = 0.0009). By focusing on these phases, researchers and clinicians may be able to help manual wheelchair users improve their propulsion efficiency.


manual wheelchair, propulsion, push phase, stroke, work loss


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